Tasted With Frederic Weber in Beaune, 31 March 2016.
We made a tour of Bouchard’s vines in Volnay – they have 6 hectares – before returning to the Château de Beaune for the tasting. The following is a list of notes taken during our tour:
Caillerets ‘traverse’ section has old vines. Bouchard has 3.75 total hectares in Caillerets, A mix of more traditional West-East and North-South – which shares some of the hail risk – “there has always been hail here” Says Frederic. It’s not deep soil, really only 50-70 cm of soil then a hard limestone. Bouchard has 6 hectares in Volnay with 0.80 in Clos des Chênes, 0.38 in Taillepieds and of-course the Fremiets Clos des Rougeottes.
It’s a mid brown soil in Caillerets, the ‘traverse’ section (as Bouchard call one of their three sections) is the earliest ripening. 90% of the time this is the first parcel Bouchard harvest in reds. “We need to be fast as the grapes over-ripen very quickly here.” The average age here is 38 years for both parcels – Bouchard aim is to keep at least a 35 years average. The top part is redder, the soil becoming browner lower down. Parcel 2 ‘Caillerets Porte’ has less soil, a little younger vines but also delivers a more concentrated wine – long rows here. The Cuvée Carnot is both parcels blended since 1775! The vines were split due to 5 heirs, but returned again in 1889 by marriage hence, the name Carnot recognising the name of daughter’s husband. Actually there’s also a Bouzeron cuvée Carnot – 6 hectares worth (I’ll try to investigate further).
There’s another part of Caillerets – the last part that borders En Chevret. Bouchard has vines in Chevret that go into their 1er cru, together with some Chanlins, though both are vinified separately.
There are domaine vines also in Clos des Chênes, since 1996, that came from Ropiteau-Mignon, bought by Henriot; 0.32 hectares of young vines and an older section planted in the 1950s. There’s more clay here, some very dense. The soil before has limestone below, here the soil holds onto the rain much longer, its also 4-5 days later ripening vs Caillerets, these vines sitting in the southern part of the vineyard towards Monthelie. The young vines are on their second year, normally not used in a main cuvée before they are at least 7 years old.
In 2012 they lost some yield due to frost in April…
Bouchard once had 1.20 of Taillepieds, but did some exchanges with the de Montilles. One parcel of Taillepieds remains, just 5 rows, and then a wider area just above the road, but still just 0.38 ha. “Here are angular tannins with fresh fruit, just a little rounder near the road.”
Looking at Bouchard’s Fremiets Clos de la Rougeotte; Vincent Bouchard today lives where the original cellar of the Bouchard family was located, here in Volnay, the he sells Porto now! There are 0.44 hectares of Fremiets Clos de la Rougeotte; the soil is much browner here in the direction of Pommard – “The fruit is there but the tannins are more masculine. There are two walls, next to the village, but it’s really not really a full Clos today. Christophe Bouchard suggests the name comes from the rouge of the colour of the leaves – they are more red in this section than the rest of Fremiets….
All the 2015s are of-course barrel samples. All taken from 1-year-old barrels. Frederic uses the following shorthand for his Volnays; “Taillepieds has directly the tannin, the Chênes directly the colour, the Fremiets is more closed so take care not to extract too much. Caillerets just gets better and better during elevage…”
2015 Fremiets Clos de la Rougeotte
Malo done about 1 month ago – ‘For us it’s a nice vintage’ says Frederic.
Very deep colour – large-scaled nose. Big, round, very fine texture and concentration. Nice fruit and a really good length – impressively so…
Less wide but actually a very impressive core of fruit – no Beaujolais aromas here. Supple, intense a little more direct, not much, really more tannin but almost without texture. A more direct finish – just a few (10-15%) whole clusters here. But super length again.
2015 Caillerets Carnot
A wide nose of more depth less high tones. Fills the mouth – less overt texture to start – but it grows. More energy here, super silky. Wow finishing. Great wine in the making!
2015 Clos des Chênes
Floral with a profound depth. Sweeter, a hint more gas – large-scaled wine in the mouth. A certain base of tannin but no grain the flavour comes forth in mouth-watering style.
2014s were bottled in mid-to-end of February in all cases. Did lots of clusters in 14, 20-25%.
2014 Fremiets Clos de la Rougeotte
Still good colour. very pretty red fruit notes. Fresh, lovely dimension in the mouth – here is a fine energy with a faint coating of astringent tannin. Very fine fresh flavour particularly good finishing flavour. – this is excellent.
Gorgeous red-fruited nose – super clarity. In the mouth too this is fresh and energetic, again a little tannic astringency but with super mouth-watering flavours. Different but also excellent. I love the precision here.
Super clarity of red fruit that goes deep without being macerated. Super silky, virtually no tannic astringence, a width of multi-dimensional floral-inflected flavour – bravo – super wine, a hint of salinity.
2014 Clos des Chênes
Floral with pretty, warm red fruit below. Mouth-filling, not massive concentration because the energy doesn’t allow a heavy feeling. Plenty of tannin below, very wide finishing wine the power seems to grow in the mouth. Long and currently with a little finishing structure.
2013 Fremiets Clos de la Rougeotte
A fresh nose, fine, pure fruit notes. Bright, direct but with fine complexity – no hard edges – really a good intensity of fine flavour here. Mouth-filling, total enjoyment. Yum!
Less attack on the nose but the beautiful flowers and fruit don’t need it – there’s a certain transparency here. In the mouth this is wide, a hint mineral, complex, cool and has a fine mouth-watering finish. Only in the finish do you notice a little dryness of tannin – the flavours slowly leaching from the gums. Excellent!
Wide, fresh, a certain aromatic clarity – crystalline middle range aromas of fruit. Rounder in the mouth, silkier, with a purity and clarity that is captivating. A burst of finishing flavour. Bravo!
2013 Clos des Chênes
More weight of aroma – but still fresh red fruit. Cool, wide really impressive depth of flavour too. I always love the flavour of this yet prefer the actual delivery of the previous wines. Great finish – really super. The last impression is a faint astringency. Super wine.
“2012 was the smallest vintage in terms of quantity, ever, for Bouchard Père. So much work – it’s a vintage that stays in the memory of everyone!”
Delicate top notes, a deeper but relatively discreet fruit but of clarity. Ooh – this is mouth-filling, comely complex super-delicious wine. A certain base of grain from the tannin but very ripe. A little floral in the flavour mix too. Many 12s are a hint closed – but not here. Super-yum!
Great colour. Fresh top notes with floral suggestions. Fresh, gorgeous energy, mixed with fine texture – growing intensity – I don’t know what to say, I’d rather drink than type. Wide finishing, a certain extra clarity and faint freshness vs the Taillepieds. Top wine. Bravo! Here is class…
“2005 was the first vintage in the new cuverie, 140 separate red cuvées. Also, more than that for the whites! It was nice to have such an easy vintage to make the first wines there.”
All these 2005s have a certain spice, probably from the oak elevage, but this aspect has faded massively vs 7-8 years ago…
Deep colour. A wide nose with good freshness and the real width coming from a good, still young red fruit plus a suggestion of toasty oak. In the mouth there’s some development of the fruit flavours, some secondary impression adding to the complexity – here there’s real concentration, a weight of flavour. Still some tannin in the finish, but really it is very round. The finish is haunting…!
A good up and down nose of freshness and faintly macerating fruit. A more beautiful width and clarity of flavour and fresh energy in the mouth. – this has bags of style. The tannin is ever-present but supporting, and with very fine texture. Concentrated as any 2005 should be but with gorgeous deportment! Contemplative wine……..
Very fine floral top notes, a base of fruit that has purity but just a hint of tightness and still some oak toast. Round, but fabulously textured – good energy – the class of this location shows through with every wine. Supple, a suggestion of salinity, and a gorgeous length of finishing flavour. Also finely contemplative… Great wine.
2005 Clos des Chênes
A freshness of aroma, supported by a super width of young, red-fruited gorgeousness. Mouth-filling, lots of energy here, less obvious freshness vs the last two, but it’s replaced by a generosity of flavour, and some precise dark berries are to be found here. Actually this is an easier, perhaps simple – or maybe just young – after the Caillerets, but it’s very tasty and satisfying larger-scaled wine.
Not the most overt nose, but there is super complexity to see (smell) here. Fills the mouth, not the finest of tannin like the previous wines but with outrageous complexity and energy – I won’t bore you with a list of adjectives, but this is super wine, of real density and concentration that finishes very well. Still a relative baby – and it tastes great! The concentration reminds of the 05… I also love the floral width in the finishing flavours.
2012 Caillerets Cuvée Carnot is my favourite today…!