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Perfectly Matured French Reds from an Under-the-Radar Estate - 12/26/2017 - Loire Valley

These under-the-radar gems from Pierre-Jacques Druet are so expressive and beautifully composed, it is hard to believe they don’t cost three times the price. For those who love impeccably made, mature wines that offer true terroir expression, these are must-try wines that will have you coming back again and again. If you’ve enjoyed mature Bordeaux in past, you’ll find that these are akin in many ways and make for an excellent launching point into the best the Loire has to offer.

Pierre-Jacques Druet was one of the pioneers of winemaking in the Loire Valley. After studying winemaking in Bordeaux in the 1970s, he moved to the Loire where he had the freedom to experiment with new winemaking styles. Ahead of his time, he was lowering his yields in the vineyards and working with “tronconic” wooden vats to get more extraction out of his Cabernet Franc. We take it for granted now, but Mr. Druet came up in an era when most producers were paid by the ton regardless of quality. The more fruit you had, the more money you made. Pierre-Jacques advanced his cause creating wine of great intensity, balance and longevity. Now retired, the current holders of his domaine have released a small parcel from the library at near pennies on the dollar.

There are two sites from his home vineyards of Bourgueil – Grand Mont and Vaumoreau – as well as one from a small parcel he held across the Loire River in Chinon. These sites in Bourgueil are renowned lieux-dits famous for their exposition and soils. Grand Mont is primarily clay and limestone and Vaumoreau (which had his oldest vines) is primarily sand and gravel. The Chinon is also hillside fruit from a gravelly site sitting on top of the tuffeaux (hard limestone).

Vintage Item Name Score Qty Retail Link
1998 Pierres Jacques Druet "Grand Mont" Bourgueil >60 $16.99 View
2002 Pierres Jacques Druet "Grand Mont" Bourgueil >60 $16.99 View
2007 Pierres Jacques Druet "Vaumoreau" Bourgueil >60 $16.99 View
2009 Pierres Jacques Druet "Clos de Danzay" Chinon >60 $19.99 View
2000 Pierres Jacques Druet "Vaumoreau" Bourgueil >60 $19.99 View

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1998 Pierres Jacques Druet "Grand Mont" Bourgueil ($16.99)

Staff ImageLilia McIntosh | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 08, 2017

At first this wine surprised me with its unusual freshness and youthfulness of its aromas and flavors of cranberries and pomegranate, but after sitting for about two hours it started to show its mature character with leather and herbs on the nose and earthy, savory and mushroomy flavors on the palate accompanied by black currant and plum. Definitely a traditional expression of Cabernet Franc.

Staff ImageDavid Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 04, 2017

The 1998 was the funkiest of the Druet wines. For lovers of that earthy old cab franc this will be a MUST buy. For all those people who guzzled the Joel Taluau St Nicolas' at $28 a bottle, this is easily as good as any of his wines for nearly 30% a bottle. Not as approachable as some of the other vintages, but for the initiated this is the one to grab. You will not be sorry.

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2002 Pierres Jacques Druet "Grand Mont" Bourgueil ($16.99)

Staff ImageDavid Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 04, 2017

These Druet wines offer so much value and character for the price. The 2002 was in a perfect place in terms of age, although by no means near the end of the road. Nose of tart purple fruit, earthy pepper, soft herbaceous mint, and freshly tilled soil. The palate is surprisingly fruity despite the nose and filled with juice acid and a long silky tannin. Fabulously priced and wonderfully versatile. Just what I need.

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2007 Pierres Jacques Druet "Vaumoreau" Bourgueil ($16.99)

Staff ImageMorgan Laurie | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 05, 2017

This Bourgueil still shows so much life and freshness, it's hard to believe you're tasting a 10 year old Cab Franc! There is incredible complexity and I sat and assessed the nose for quite a while on this one. It has a forest floor, mushroom-y, green olive savory thing going on, along with a dried lavender type of floral note. The fruit has a blackberry and cranberry quality. The palate has a woody edge, like a cedar plank. There's structure here, but it has a softer edge to it. A really interesting wine to grab under $20 that gives you a sense of the place, the grape and how it all ages.

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2009 Pierres Jacques Druet "Clos de Danzay" Chinon ($19.99)

Staff ImageAnthony Russo | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 30, 2017

Deep color, fresh cut flowers on the nose alongside a bit of green tea, raspberries, blueberries, a touch of plum, and a good tannic structure to support all of this. The wine's depth shows even more on the palate; give it 30-45 min of air and watch the magic happen. Truly a unique and beautiful wine.

Staff ImageMorgan Laurie | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 05, 2017

The wines of Pierre Jacques Druet are difficult to find but worth the hunt. The 2009 Chinon is earthy with notes of cedar and freshly cut fern. It has the most structure out of the line up I tasted and has enough backbone to keep it cellared for a few more years. There's a generous amount of red fruit and a lively quality to the wine as a whole. An interesting, complex wine to snag at an unbelievable price.

Staff ImageDavid Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 02, 2017

This is absolute INSANITY! These Druet wines are all ultra heady and complex, but the 2009 is truly a special wine. It's still a tiny little baby, but there's already so much life and depth. It's cleanest of the multi-vintage line-up showing the most fruit on the nose. The palate is still lively, taught and full of deep earth notes, but it's not as austere as the others. Tons of structure and tannin mean that this one is designed for the long haul. Easily one of the best values in the store and the perfect way to move from some of the bolder richer wines to the Southwest into the Loire valley.

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2000 Pierres Jacques Druet "Vaumoreau" Bourgueil ($19.99)

Staff ImageDiana Turk | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 02, 2017

Our intrepid Loire buyer Keith scored with his discovery of Druet wines I love all the vintages Ive tried from this classic Bourgueil producer, and the 2000 is especially great. Herbaceous and as aromatic as youd expect of a Cabernet Franc, this is not quite as green as the 1998 and less fruity than the plusher 2002 it fits perfectly into the lineup as a balanced, complex option. Round raspberry fruit shines, with black pepper and earthiness through the palate, plus a long finish. And it already has age! A must try for fans of more adventurous reds.

Staff ImageKeith Mabry | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 29, 2017

The Vaumoreau offers up lively notes of raspberry and fresh tilled earth with plenty of potpourri on the nose. It is supple and medium bodied showing all of its Cab Francy goodness while still holding onto that oh so supple and sweet fruit. A pure pleasure to drink now, but still plenty of stuffing to drink for years to come.