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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Joseph Drouhin 2011 LaForêt Pinot Noir, Burgundy

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Joseph Drouhin is a name that has spanned the centuries in French winemaking. Joseph founded the independent company that still bears his name in 1880 in Burgundy. Today his grandchildren run the company from their ancestral home.

The LaForêt wines from have their origins in the 1970s when Robert Drouhin attempted to create wines that would reveal the essence of Burgundy. To do so he chose grapes high up on the slopes near the forest (LaForêt in French).

Today the wines are being relaunched – a Pinot Noir and Chardonnay crafted by winemaker Véronique Drouhin. The appeal is contemporary and casual.

The 2011 Pinot comes in a bottle with a screw closure that features a simplified label. This makes the wine more accessible to U.S. drinkers who may be put off by what they see as an indecipherable French label. Unlike most French labels, the grape variety is plainly stated.

The wine inside is also very accessible. The aroma of grapes from Chalonnaise and Cȏte de Nuits is perfume like with red berry goodness. On the palate the wine has a warming, sour cherry flavor.

It has a smooth texture and light to medium body. The wine is finished in stainless steel for seven to eight months and then in oak for one to two years. That’s a nice balance because the delicate tastes are not masked by over-oaking.

This is a reasonably priced ($21) Pinot that should appeal to American wine lovers who often can’t see the “forest” for the trees. It displays an elegant French style in a clean, contemporary fashion.

Full disclosure: This wine was received as a marketing sample.

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