TN: 1985 Joseph Drouhin Pommard "Les Epenots" 1er cru

In a word, sensational! Possibly the best burg I’ve had in the last 2-3 years. This was a single bottle I was lucky enough to find at a decent price from a reliable source, with an excellent fill. However, I had a bit of trepidation when I pulled the cork and it was fully saturated. Thank goodness Drouhin uses long corks! I stood the wine up for about two weeks, then did a simple Audouze, pouring off a bit and letting the wine sit in that state for about an hour, after which I did a simple decant. There was not a tremendous amount of sediment.

The wine appeared pitch black in the decanter, but in the glass it was merely a dark ruby, with a rust-like appearance. The nose was initially muted, but over the course of the meal and then into the evening it blossomed into a deep-pitched aroma of red plums mixed with iron shavings and forest-floor. The tannins were very smooth, but manifested themselves in the incredible length and power of the wine. There was no heat from the alcohol, but the wine was very powerful in the mouth, with an extremely long finish. A textbook example of Pommard, this wine had the prized characteristics so sought after in Burgundy: power without weight, and representative of its vineyard. This really bordered on grand cru class. It was even better on day two. I think I caught it at a plateau of greatness it had reached perhaps 5 years earlier. It will not improve, but could easily live and be relished for another 3-5 years before slowly sliding into its dotage.

I looked at the Drouhin website (one of my favorites for its design) and noticed that this is a negoce wine, with the sourcing described as follows: Grape Supply: grapes and wines are purchased from regular supply partners (long-term contracts). Does anyone have inside information on where Drouhin gets the grapes or wine?

This wine confirms yet again (for me) the greatness of Drouhin among the big four houses in Burgundy (Drouhin, Jadot, Faiveley, and Bouchard Pere & Fils). I loved their wines when I started to explore Burgundy in the 70s, and now I’m kicking myself for not buying more Drouhin wines when I resumed stocking my collection in earnest (around the the year 2000). They were always great values until recently, and I love their house style. For me, Drouhin and Faiveley are the top dogs among the big Burgundy houses.

Great post and completely agree with your sentiments about Drouhin. One of my first discoveries in the 90 vintage but didn’t pursue them enough.

I was lucky enough to taste a number of 1985 Drouhin wines on release and bought a bunch of them, including the Pommard Epenots (one left). All of them have been wonderful although I think 10 years will see them decline. The Drouhin style is so engaging: great bouquet, red cherry fruit, long finish and elegance over extract…


You were/are a wise man, Paul. I will be curious to hear your impressions of your last remaining Epenots when you pull the cork…as well as any others! “Elegance over extract” is a very apt description for the Drouhin style.

Sounds great, Harry…though that “better on day 2” phenomenon can be frustrating, albeit interesting.

I am not at all familiar with the negoce houses’ wines…but this sounds like a winner.

1985 was so heralded when it first came out; maybe the hardest vintage to buy when new in Burgundy (everyone was sold out in 1988; I tried). For some reason, I and most people I know drank them up from 1995 on, as they were plenty tasty. I bet many have, as you proved, rewarded long patience. I’ll look forward to trying the few that I still have from 1985 at the end of this year…and next. Hard to believe they’ll be 30 years old by then.