Pascal Bouchard – 2014


DSC09151Tasted in Chablis with Matthieu Mangenot and Florent Denieuil, 07 January 2016.

Maison Pascal Bouchard
Parc des Lys
89800 Chablis
Tel: +33 3 86 42 18 64

Previously, I visited here to taste both the Domaine Pascal Bouchard and the négoce Maison Pascal Bouchard wines. Of-course much of what was ‘Pascal Bouchard’ was sold to Albert Bichot last year. The domaine vines stay with the family, but the ‘maison’ and its modern buildings and winery on the outskirts of Chablis went to Bichot – the main building is from 1995, and it houses an impressive cuverie of stainless-steel tanks; this was a good fit for Bichot as they had a project on the drawing board for 2016-7 to construct more capacity at Long-Depaquit. Albert Bichot were longtime négoce Chablis producers, some was vinified in Chablis, some in Beaune – since the purchase, all will be vinified in Chablis.

100% of Domaine Pascal Bouchard’s produce is currently sold to Bichot – as the Bouchard family have no wine-making facility – but the sales will slowly reduce as the family build up a new production operation. Actually the Bouchard family’s domaine buildings with their tractors et-cetera (because they still work all their vines) are almost connected to the winery now owned by Bichot – only a fence separates them.

The market ‘identity’ of Pascal Bouchard will remain in many markets – the main market for these wines is France; ‘grand distribution’ (supermarkets) plus higher appellation labels for restaurants and cavistes. Currently the operation is in a transition phase; there’s not just Chablis here, there’s Bourgogne blanc and aligoté, plus some Saint Bris and Irancy too. A small team here remain from the pre Bichot days. Florent Denieuil was a winemaker from this old team.

Florent Denieuil on 2014:
“It was a rainy winter – hardly a winter at all. There were worries about rot early on, and really up to the August holidays it could have gone in a bad direction, but the weather was super in September. The wines have a vivacity that’s very Chablis – some notes of iodine and salinity. A good interesting vintage.”

The wines…

A little selection of the important cuvees for 2014; some wines have been resold as not fitting the style that Bichot were looking for. All apart from the Mont de Milieu were bottled in July – it is still in tank.

2014 Chablis Vieilles Vignes
About 30% older barrel elevage the rest in tank.
Starts with green notes and some herbs, adds an attractive fruit dinension as it warms in the glass. Wide, some sweetness, some structural aspects. Plenty of material here and really a resounding success in the finishing flavours – just a little more austere at the start.

2014 Chablis 1er Beauroy
From 2.40 hectares on the Bienes hillside above the lake. About 20-25% barrel elevage.
A few faintly musty notes, they fade to leave some herby notes. Very much nicer in the mouth with a very lovely texture and concentrated mouth-watering fruit. There is a modestly austere impression that slowly melts to more delicious effect. Tasty!

2014 Chablis 1er Mont de Milieu
At the limit of the forest. Practically south facing but high on the hill.
Bright, forward some wood spice, despite that, quite attractive. Nice texture, wide flavour perspective – really good intensity and complexity, slowly salty – really great material here but it definitely needs the oak to fade. A more mineral line of finishing flavour.

2014 Chablis 1er Montmains
Deeper nose, suggesting reduction, a little herb too. Ooh! Direct, meltting over the palate, a much narrower shape but like many tastes really better than the nose suggests.

2014 Chablis 1er Fourchaume
50% old barrel elevage.
This smells rather nice. A certain lime complexity to fresh aromas. Wide, intense, a hint of texture at the core, nice salitity too – very good texture. Here is a very fine alround wine.

2013 Chablis
A little menthol, maybe more than a little, almost pertrol! A certain sweetness and width a little exotic fruit, lovely complexity and finish more a 1er cru weight and whist today delicious it’s not really classic.

2012 Chablis Vaudesir (Magnum)
Modest in size but expressive and indeed vibrant aroma. Direct, not so much fat, impressively mouth-watering an occasional coffee suggestion(?) Simply excellent wine! Bravo!

2010 Chablis Blanchots (Magnum)
A big expressive nose, a discreet petrol here too – maybe! Lithe, flowing excellently over the palate, hyper-complex, just a little less friendly than 09s but a beauty – really so… In the finish there’s a little more oak – certainly this must have been more marked young, but it’s heading in a very good direction.

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