The Droins have been producing wines in Chablis for nearly 400 years (their history as vignerons goes back at least to 1620). Benoît represents the14th generation of Droins and is one of the most dynamic winemakers in the region. His father Jean-Paul put the domaine on the map but perhaps went too far down the road of new oak barrels. The domaine owns 13 hectares of vineyards and produces 14 different wines, including Petit Chablis, Chablis, 7 Premiers Crus and 5 Grands Crus. Benoît runs a more sophisticated operation from a large modern winery almost in the shadow of the grands crus. He has revised his pruning system and significantly reduced yields. In the cellar the principal change has been away from new oak. Each wine now gets the treatment which Benoît thinks is suited to its terroir. Thus Petit Chablis, Chablis, premiers crus Vaucoupin and Côte de Lechet, and grand cru Blanchots are all fermented and matured in tank. Vaillons, Mont de Milieu and Montée de Tonnerre receive 25 per cent of barrel fermentation and maturation, 35 per cent for Vosgros and Vaudésir, 40 per cent for Montmains and Valmur, peaking at 50 per cent for Fourchaume, Grenouilles and Les Clos. However the age of the oak and the choice of tonnelier may vary according to the cuvée. The maximum new oak is ten per cent in the grands crus.
'Valmur is a wonderful Grand Cru that sits adjacent to Les Clos, wrapping around the hill and folding into a clefted valley. Thus while most of the site is south-east facing, it enjoys a variety of expositions. The 2019 is lusty and rich with layers of nectarine and white peach spilling over a salty underbelly that further reveals flint, oyster shell and stone. Droin has several parcels, some on the lower zone where soils are darker, heavier and delivering more power, and others at the top where the soils are bony and whiter, which tease out the mineral riches of the site. Drink over the next five to fifteen years.' Justin Knock MW