Jean-Paul et Benoit Droin
The Droin family is one of the oldest wine producing families in Chablis with over 5 centuries of wine production and have been influential in success of the appellation by helping to establish and being active members of its various associations and regulatory bodies over recent times. Today the family domaine is managed by Jean-Paul and Benoît Droin, the 13th and 14th generations respectively.
As you would imagine 500 years gives you plenty of time to acquire vineyards. The Droin’s have 25 hectares of vines and arguably the best family owned portfolio of vineyard holdings in the region with superbly sited parcels in 7 of the top Premier Crus and 5 Grand Crus.
Benoît now runs the vineyards and cellar to carefully watch every stage of production. He is not ‘bio’ but says he is very close using only a minimum of treatments for mildew.
Production follows the traditional practices of the region although the domaine was one of the first to return to aging in oak in the 1980s. Benoît has reduced the percentage of oak aging for the wines and now matches each elevage regime to suit the Cru and the vintage. The Chablis and Petit Chablis are vinified entirely in vats while the Premier and Grand Cru are partially aged in barrel.
We were very impressed with the wines of this immaculate domaine as they offer a finely honed blend of both traditional and modern styles and the difference between the various Crus is crystal clear when tasting through the range.
Interestingly Benoît does not battonage his wines, something that is standard practice to flesh out un-oaked cuvees that may otherwise underwhelm. This means that even in warmer years like 2009, his wines still retain a strong mineral accent.