January 18, 2007

1990 Joseph Drouhin Beaune Clos des Mouches, Burgundy (Part One)

This weekend we will be drinking this very, very special wine. It is a really big deal to me as not only is this an absolutely incredible bottle from a fantastic wine maker (Joseph Drouhin) it is also from one of the best Burgundy vintages in the last 150 years. 1990 is held by Burgundy lovers with a special reverence as it was one of those vintages when all of the challenging variables of making awesome pinot noir came together just right. This is also a special bottle as it is actually two bottles. It is a magnum (1.5 L as opposed to 750 ml). Double the fun. All of that, and this bottle has been in my "cellar" since around 1993 or so. That's nearly 15 years. This wine has seen me through many experiences and I have had it with me longer than I have had my dog. This bottle was in the basement when I got married. It was there when I had my daughter. It has seemingly always been down there, resting comfortably. Now it's time to share it.

As much as I love wine, it is the stories behind the wines that get me all excited. Every wine has a story... or at least it SHOULD have a story, as that makes the whole thing so much more interesting. As much as I seek out great wines, I seek out great stories. I may forget what a wine tasted like, but I always remember the interesting facts and legends around it. This bottle has many stories with it and, in anticipation of actually drinking it, I am going to savor the next couple days by telling them.

So, 1990 is a super-vintage (rated "Exceptional"). Joseph Drouhin is a top Burgundian wine house. That alone is a killer combination. But this bottle is from the vineyard Beaune Clos de Mouches, which is considered to be one of the best, if not THE best Premier Cru vineyard in all of Burgundy. The vineyard is located on a hill with direct southern exposure and is made up of stony soil with a very high chalk content. The vines love it, and when the weather works just right they produce incredibly intense fruit. The weather rarely works just right. The name Clos des Mouches is interesting. Mouches in French actually means flies - like the nuisance insect. But in this area of Burgundy mouches means honey bees. Dating back to the 1500's this vineyard was once the location of many bee-hives as its orientation made it ideal property to help keep bees. Hence, Clos des Mouches means "Enclosure of the Honey Bees." That explains the little bees on the wine's label (you'll see that in Part Two).

That's enough for the moment. Look for Part Two in the next day or so. I do have a call into an old associate who is this wine's original importer (this actual bottle, I bought it from him back in 1993). I need to speak with him before I open it. I have to know that I am doing the right thing as great Burgundies are notorious for going in and out of "dumb" periods. That, and I want an estimate on this bottle's value. It's got to be way up there.


John Golden said...

I have been enjoying your reviews and wanted to thank you for linking to Dining for Sport. Will be interested to see what you think about this Burgundy.

sanspotash said...

Thanks for checking out winecommando! I've been following Dining For Sport for a few months now and love it. I have shared it with our friends as your reviews are spot on and we clearly have identical tastes in restaurants.