Tasted in Beaune with Frédéric Weber, December 4th 2014.
Bouchard Père et Fils
15 Rue du Château
Tel: +33 3 80 24 80 24
It seems that Christophe Bouchard has slowly slipped in to retirement (the end of November) without much comment that I’ve seen. I have to say that I really enjoyed tasting with him, or even better, walking the vines with him – he was just so knowledgable about the various plots in Beaune – and I’m sure many of those early walks would have surprise a few people as we chatted together in German! – Christophe’s English at that time was really on the same level as my French – so we both took an easier option!
Christophe will be replaced by Christian Albouy who will be responsible to Joseph Henriot, not just for Bouchard Père, but also William Fevre and Villa Pinciago.
It’s all change for the winemaking too – okay not that much change – Philippe Prost has slowly made way for Frédéric Weber who has been with Bouchard since 2002 and the assistant of Philippe since 2003. Philippe seems to be involved in matters more ‘logistic’ for Bouchard these days. This was my first tasting with Frédéric.
Frédéric on 2013:
“It was a hard vintage – mainly in the vines: It was a cold winter but wet, cloudy and a little dark. Spring was late – almost 20 days late – so flowering was at the end of June 20-26th. The soil was very wet so it was a hard start for the vines and due to the cold and rain during flowering we lost 30-40% in the Côte de Nuits. The Côte de Beaune was better – until it hailed! Overall, taking both Côtes into consideration we lost about 35%. For us, it was August that really saved the vintage – the nights were still cold but the days were quite hot.
“The harvest was quite clean due to the coulure (not many grapes per bunch) so good healthy grapes with thick skin – the stems were very healthy too so we used a few more during fermentations. The chardonnay was more fragile than the pinot so we took the option to harvest a little earlier. We have 26 hectares that are treated organically and I have to say it was quite hard having to manage 18 treatments – but no problems with the grapes, just a little grey rot to sort.
“We finished our harvest with the Côte de Nuits and Corton on the 11th October! I didn’t know at the start, but after vinification I thought to myself – hmm – we really have something here. Still, I would say that they are perhaps for drinking before the 2010s and 2012s. The malos were quite fast, some started already in November – all were finished in April-May. I expect that many of the wines will be bottled in February. Today we tend to use a maximum of 60-65% new oak – except of-course where we have only 1 barrel of wine!”
I found my laptop had decided to reboot without saving my red notes – curses! So for the reds, these impressions were scribbled about 90 minutes after the tasting. I remembered the wines quite well, but of-course in less detail. The whites were my normal written notes from my notebook after the battery failed!
2013 Bourgogne la Reserve
Négoce fruit bottled at the end of August – mainly Santenay, Maranges and Chorey fruit – but a bit of Vosne and Maconnais too. 15% barrel elevage.
Aromas are a hint savoury – quite good pinot fruit but a rather angular wine. The finish is the best part.
From 6 hectares: a soft extraction and elevage with 25% new oak but racked into tank with its lees in July.
This has a very welcoming and interesting nose – quite lovely. In the mouth too there’s depth of flavour and really good vibrancy – this is excellent!
1.7 hectares of domaine vines set in the mid-slope – quite hard to plough here. It’s a cold soil so usually harvested later. It was racked last week and now waits in tank on its lees.
Bigger, more focused dark fruit nose. In the mouth this is much bigger but fine quality fruit, just a little padded. Lots of flavour dimension here too – this is excellent.
2013 Beaune 1er Beaune du Chateau
Barrel aged, 30% new – but when it was racked in July it went back into older barrels.
This is bigger and rounder. Similar in the mouth too with quite a lot of tannin as you head for the finish. Everything is fine, but wait 1-2 years before attacking.
2013 Beaune 1er Clos de la Mousse
This monopole next to Les Avaux. It’s a deep clay soil here so needs 5 or 6 days more time to mature compared to Grèves.
Here is a bigger, more smoothly textured wine – dark fruit of fine depth. There’s some tannin here too – but it’s much better handled. Wait 12 months here too but this is lovely!
2013 Beaune 1er Grèves L’Enfant Jesus
Four different plot with different vine ages – 45 and 65 years old at the bottom and 25 plus 35 years old at the top – that’s one day difference in terms of ripeness – we used whole clusters for the older parcels.
A higher-toned, more airy nose. In the mouth there’s less padding and certainly quite a lot of complexity.
A 3.75 hectare plot. Maturity comes very quickly here, so together with Enfant Jesus (Grèves) usually the first to be harvested.
Another fine and airy nose but here with more flowers. In the mouth this has a super-direct, fruit flavour that has high-tones and flowers too. Really lovely wine that’s excellent in the finish.
2013 Pommard 1er Rugiens
0.45 hectares of Rugiens ‘de haut’, bought at the same time as the Volnay cuvée Carnot – so 1775! – the hail wasn’t so bad on this top part of the vineyard so they were still able to harvest a little more than 20 hl/ha. Pezerolles at the bottom of the hill had no harvest – just like in 2012. Fortunately there will be a little wine from there in 2014…
Rounder aromatic of good depth. In the mouth it’s also quite large scaled, but without any fat – slow-burning complexity and lovely balance. This is very good.
2013 Le Corton
3.65 hectares. This and the Savigny-Lavières are almost always the last two vineyards to be harvested.
A very fine if rather tight nose. In the mouthe the form is sleek and direct – lots of dimension here – the flavour panorama widening in the finish – I find a little blackcurrant and blackcurrant leaf(?) Very tasty wine, as always.
BP&F are not the owners, but for a long time, they have managed this 10 hectares, doing all the vineyard work and the picking.
A big wine – both in aromas and flavours. Not the smoothest but with lots of energy. Tasty, chewy wine.
0.45 hectares of domaine vines – one plot sited high the other low in the Clos. They are blended and vinified together.
Almost a silky nose with a floral top note – tight, limited depth but very promising. In the mouth there is really super energy and complexity – the finish is profound. Really super CV!
From a 0.5 hectare plot.
Here is a wine that is both aromatically and from a flavour perspective, big and round – indeed massive. There is good balance for the dark fruit but it is very primary at this stage. Very much a baby.
Ouf! Gorgeous nose that is discrete yet silky and floral – just a beauty! In the mouth it seems almost a blend of the previous two wines – complex, floral and with beautiful balance yet bigger and rounder than the more direct Clos de Vougeot. Bravo!
2013 Bourgogne Chardonnay La Reserve
Fruit principally from Ladoix, Chorey, Puligny, Chassagne and Meursault – but a bit of Montagny too! 90% elevage in tank and bottled in July.
The nose is quite good – a fresh and fine chardonnay. In the mouth it has a little savoury flavour and a hint of salt – it’s quite big and round – but also for my palate could do with a lift more of acidity.
2013 Beaune 1er du Château
10 hectares of vines form 5 different plots. 10-12% new oak but with long, light toast.
Here’s a more modest nose that seems a little mineral and faintly salty. Fills the mouth with plenty of flavour that slowly grows to a peak – relatively modest acidity but it seems well-enough balanced. The nose slowly freshens and offers a pretty pear note.
2013 Beaune 1er Clos St.Landry
A 2 hectare monopole, named after the religious order who once owned it – and it has always been planted to white due its specific marly soil – they say. All around is pinot.
A pretty and quite intense nose. Fresh, with good intensity and a mid-palate of slightly exotic fruit – but still fine freshness. I find this very good!
2013 Meursault Les Clous
8.6 hectares from the top of the appellation – ‘White marl here so normally more acidity and minerality.’ Elevage with about 10% new oak.
A fresh, if slightly savoury nose and salty nose. Fine in the mouth with a lovely texture and balance – it’s an insinuating intensity – though still with the savoury note of the nose. A very nice finish that’s almost flowery.
2.65 hectares from two plots; one from above the road to Chassagne which is a steep slope of old vines. The second, a more stony plot that brings freshness and minerality. They are separately vinified, before eventual blending.
Here is a top-quality Meursault nose – fresh detailed and inviting. In the mouth is intensity and energy – with just a little plushness to the texture followed by a late burst of mid-palate flavour. Excellent!
From 3 different plots totalling 1.2 hectares. Again with separate elevage but blended together at the end. They were racked, in August, into tank with all the lees. This will be bottled next week.
Okay, I’m sold! Faint ginger-cake on a simply super Meursault nose. The wine fills your mouth – though with hardly any texture, except for a little silky. Full of dimension and complexity with very long-lasting flavour. This wine is often on my ‘to-buy’ list – but this year it is much higher on the list! Bravo!
3.85 hectares at the top of the hill, east oriented with rows planted north-south, the intention being to preserve freshness.
Another super-complex, fresh nose – less weight and more airy versus the Perrières. Faint gas on the tongue but it doesn’t hide a mouthful of complexity and flavour dimension. Simply perfect freshness for my palate. The finish is super-persistent and more fruit-led than stones/minerals. Encore, bravo!
2.7 hecatres from all four terraces of the vineyard – all vinified together.
Fresh, high-toned though a little tighter than the Charlemagne. Some gas again, but intense wine with very fine energy. The flavours grow and grow even after you swallow. Brilliant!
2013 Chevalier-Montrachet La Cabotte
From the 0.21 hectare continuation of Montrachet.
A somehow flatter yet super nose. Less round in the mouth – more direct but with very similar energy and complexity. Surprisingly different yet with a brilliant mid-palate to finishing flavour. The nose slowly adds weight, making this a super-yum package.
The nose is a little tight and doesn’t show so much depth – but it’s still very fine. Here is the same difference as between the Chevalier and the Cabotte – but it’s yet another step. This wine is really differentiated by its width and depth of finishing flavour. Even 2 minutes later it’s very easy to taste…