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Profile: Maison Joseph de Bucy (Beaune)

UPDATE:
Maison Joseph de Bucy closed its business after the 2002 vintage.

The house of Joseph de Bucy was born in 1996 in Beaune and specialises in white wines from Meursault.

Joseph de Bucy’s life has been closely linked to wine. He started with an enology course in Dijon followed by a year in Paris for management training. In 1978 he came back to the ‘Côte’ to work for a year at domaine Georges Roumier (now run by Christophe Roumier) in Chambolle-Musigny. There followed 3 to 4 years at Maison Laroche in Chablis. He was then responsible for a bottling line for Rodier for a short while, but finding the work not so interesting, moved to Meursault, it was in here that the ‘fire’ of Joseph’s passion for Meursault was lit. Together with Jean Germain and Tim Marshall they set up a business in Nuits Saint Georges which lasted until the early 1990’s.

Winemaking

Maison Joseph de Bucy as négociant-eleveur-vinificateur needs only two employees for it’s annual production of 30,000+ bottles. The wines are made from must sourced at growers with whom Joseph has long-term contracts. If there is more than 6 barrels of one cuvée, the wines are allowed to ferment in tanks before being moved to casks. If less, all the fermentation is done in the barrels – of which 25-30% are new – turnover for the barrels is around four years. There is a little batonage and the malo’s usually come late – though not in 2001. Joseph takes his time before bottling, usually between February and June – depends on the vintage but this means that usually there is no fining required. It is still a little early for the 2002’s, so Joseph feels that the best vintage of recent years is 1999.

Summary

Although 95% of the wines are white, there is also some red, in particular ‘de Bucy is supplier of the Bourgogne Rouge and Blanc to one of the oldest UK merchants for their own ‘house label’ – a good quality indicator. Even the bourgogne blanc speaks of the Meursault region where the grapes are sourced (mainly Narveaux). It’s hard to make a firm judgement on a producer without tasting a few vintages, also it’s a very limited group, but with those caveats in mind, the wines tasted here showed tons of Meursault character and if this is your favoured style, then this address is warmly recommended.

As an aside, Joseph is one of the first people in the region I’ve come across who uses an ‘alternative’ seal. The Bourgogne Blanc and Rouge are (since 1999) sealed with Nomacorc. The results to-date have been good and Joseph’s UK ‘own label’ purchaser seems to be very happy. Joseph was not very committal when it came to the question of sealing his village and 1er Cru’s the same way, but I understand this, as from my own perspective there still needs to be a little more data about seal performance beyond 10 and 15 years – and that’s despite personally having a bad run of ‘tainted’ bottles this year.

Maison Joseph de Bucy
34 Rue Eugène Spuller
21200, Beaune
tel +33 3 80 24 91 60
fax +33 3 80 24 91 54
mail-to Joseph de Bucy

Three from bottle

1999 Bourgogne Blanc
Pale yellow colour. The nose has good depth, is quite fresh and high toned with some green apple notes. Good fat and despite being a little sweet the acidity brings it nicely into balance. This wine actually has very good depth and length. Most of the grapes are sourced from Meursault – and you can tell. Excellent Bourgogne Blanc.
1999 Meursault, Narveaux
Slightly deeper lemon yellow. Much deeper nose – slightly smokey and ripe – there’s a little melon and pineapple, becomes more honeyed and gradually a waxy note comes through. The nose develops really well. The palate is a little buttery and nicely deep. This is a big, rather than an elegant, wine. The acidity is just right. Finishes just a little dry. Boisterous – but I like it.
1999 Meursault 1er, Bouchières
Of the Meursault 1ers, only Les Gouttes d’Or sits more northerly. Similar colour to the ‘Narveaux’. The nose is higher toned and a little more restrained – in fact nicely delicate with some mild citrus notes. Really silky texture in the mouth. More complex with good acidity. Much longer finish than the ‘Narveaux’. A completely different expression. Beautiful wine.

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