Tasted in Beaune with Frédéric Weber, November 30 2016.
Bouchard Père et Fils
15 Rue du Château
Tel: +33 3 80 24 80 24
Frédéric on 2016:
“2016 would have been a great year without the frost, which was a catastrophe. We estimated 70-80% losses at the time. Lots of work with the training was needed to recover the vigour so that we would have something in 2017. Oïdium and mildew pressure was very high, with lots of rain in the early summer making it very hard to work the soil and so we also had a lot of weeds.
Actually the summer was lovely, not exceptionally hot, that and the September sun and rain really made the vintage, despite 3-4 hl/ha in some places like Savigny and Aloxe. It was ‘hyper-heterogene’ because the vineyards ranged from full yields to zero. In the end it was better than expected, it was actually in-line with 2003 with half a harvest. Acidity, concentration and cleanliness are the early hallmarks of a vintage in which the reds are more variable from really concentrated and tannic to more pleasant and elegant.”
Frédéric on 2015:
“2015. A beau millesime.
“A super spring with a rapid, homogenous, flowering – in 10 days and it was done. Then extraordinary luck in Côte de Nuits where there was a big downpour of rain just after flowering, this brought a measure of hydric reserve – the Mâconnais and Beaujolais didn’t have any of that luck. June, July, August – each had just a little rain at the end of the month, just when the vines were starting to suffer from dryness. We started our harvest the 2nd September. The chardonnay had a high potential acidity and potential for low acidity. We had roughly minus 20-25% yields due to concentrated, tiny grapes with thicker skin, the pips were all brown. The Côte de Nuits was a little more generous yielding.
“For the wines of the Côte de Beaune, we kept about 15-20% whole-clusters – it was a little More in the Côte de Nuits – we were much more interested in the tannins in the skins in this vintage. We chose 3-5 days of cool maceration and very little pigeage – more a diffusion due to the high potential alcohols.”
Brilliant, flamboyant reds – as good as any I’ve ever tasted at this address. So I’m more than a little sad to say that on the particular day that I tasted, the whites, relative to other producers, could largely do with more ‘pep’ – a little more energy – the grand crus are fabulous, as they should be, but Bouchard who are usually the kings of well-priced Meursault, didn’t quite make the grade this year. Fred notes that they will get plenty more elevage, which will indeed further polish and focus the wines, but it won’t have a large effect on the absolute energy that they display…
18-22 hl/ha, 50% whole cluster and only about 10 days of maceration
It’s really not possible to see through this. Depth, a clean and inviting nose. Supple, really concentrated, no hard edges, and just a modest underlay of fine and ripe tannin. Simply brilliant!
This is to be bottled this week. ‘Mainly from Côte d’Or fruit, many of the villages so representative of Côte d’Or – some part of bought raisins and wine.’
Wide, open pinot nose – some weight of pretty aroma here. Big, fresh, but round and supple – this is really excellent – what a super Bourgogne. And with the hallmark of the vintage – the long finish!
From 6 (owned) hectares: from Meix de Mypont (south), and 1 ha below Les Duresses where there’s more clay.
Finely perfumed red fruit, just nicely accented with florals. More tannin but more dimension of flavour too – yet an elegant side to this wine, despite its generosity. Really super length. Finishing with a little tannic texture… super! A wine of finesse!
A mix of domaine (80%) and some purchased grapes.
This has a beautiful nose of width and fresh red, faintly herbed, fruit. Less direct tannin than the Monthelie – a little extra texture slowly coming through, mouth-watering flavour. Intense, fresh density – great Savigny villages!
Not owners, contracted but do harvesting. Some southern but mainly northern Nuits. Soft extraction to avoid too much masculinity
An extra bright floral freshness to this nose. Fresh, cooler fruit than the Savigny, but much more overall floral complexity. The tannin slowly comes to the surface, but this is just so wonderfully mouth-watering in the finish. Bravo!
Contracts for about 10 hectares, and multiple lieu-dits.
A pretty top note of florals, tigher but quite elegant nose. Wider, plenty of bass-line, ripe, tannin. Fresh slowly growing flavour – this slowly gets bigger and bigger in the mouth – I start by thinking it’s less interesting (more modest!) than the Nuits but it just gets better and better – super!
Now all barrel samples:
2015 Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Lavières
3.9 ha of south-facing domaine vines. Always late harvested. ‘This and the Teurons are really the wines to hide away for the kids!’
Modest starting notes – slowly augmenting with a little sweet toffee from the barrel. Much more weight, density of mid-palate flavour, a little tannin starting to develop too. Really lovely from the mid-palate into the finish. Versus the elegant concentration of the previous wines this seems a bit monolithic – but given a little time this will be more fine – it’s certainly impressively long…
26 ha 17 crus. 25-28 ha average yields.
Faintly spiced. Broad, silky, melting flavour. Lots of flavour, a modest base of tannin. A bright mid-palate flavour into the finish. This will need maybe 12 months to settle, but great BdC!
2015 Beaune 1er Clos de la Mousse
This is a 3.36 hectare monopole next to Les Avaux. It’s a deep clay soil that’s rich in lime so needs 5 or 6 days more time to mature compared to Grèves – but it never suffers from drought as there are some springs.
Deep, wide, coffee oak too – very inviting nose. Very floral fruit in the mouth. Lots of dimensions of flavour – really complex flavour today, dark fruit, almost blueberry – juicy!. Some tannin still too. Excellent
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 – 0.5 ha of old vines taken out last year.
Higher toned nose, almost mineral. Supple, round, cushioned, fine fruit complexity and almost a coating of tannin on everything – but fine tannin. Really tons of mid-palate flavour, that goes really, really long. As good a baby Jesus as I’ve ever tasted! Bravo!
A 3.75 hectares in 4 plots, the hail impact different in each plot. A sunny place so maturity comes very quickly here, so together with Enfant Jesus (Grèves) usually the first to be harvested – just 50 cm of soil before the limestone..
Deeply coloured. Quite the most beautiful nose – so far. Elegantly floral and inviting. Supple, a little depth of texture, some micro-grained tannin, lots of flavour leaching from the gums. Elegantly massive yet refined. Just a great finish too. Bravo again!
2015 Pommard 1er Rugiens
From dessus – bought in the 1700s at the same time as the Volnay Caillerets.
A deeper nose, a little tight and dark fruited. More dimension, fresher, much more energy – really a wine of dynamism and good complexity. The tannin more present in the finish. Oof – if this continues I may need a rest! Excellent but of course less refined than the Caillerets.
3.65 hectares. Always the last harvest a – it merits a high maturity
The nose not fully formed. Big in the mouth but with quite a refined tannin. Lots of energy and mouth-watering flavour. Really long and strong in the finish – exceptionally so. A great Le Corton!
One hectare from this 3ha, flat, appellation. Small chalky pebbles. One of first to be harvested in Côte de Nuits; 40 year-old vines, 30% whole-cluster.
Perfumed and floral – aromatically you might not guess Côte de Nuits. Fresh and enveloping. Complex and really gorgeously flavoured – again super long. A last anecdote of tannin. Brilliant wine!
Combe d’Orveau, a poor soil, always a small harvest and one of the first to be harvested as it’s a warm corner. 50% whole-clusters
Bigger, wider, more complex nose of flowers and spiced fruit. Mouth-filling, beautiful soft texture but no lack of energy and complexity. Really fine and complex in the mid-palate. An ingraining wine, that’s not the freshest or most energetic but simply gorgeously flavoured – yum!
2015 Clos de Vougeot
0.45 hectares of domaine vines – one plot sited high the other low in the Clos. The last time for a while with high and low parts combined, the low part was too old and with too little to harvest. To be replanted.
Fresh, large, silky aromatic. Hmm, freshness of flavour, melting flavour, a stricter structure than the Echézeaux – and I love that. Bright and mouth-wateringly complex in the finish – super wine.
Bought grapes – 0.5 ha worth.
A lovely deep nose, very faint coffee, it’s very attractive. Ooh – that’s nice – a fresh line of mineral flavour – really a linear wine with slowly melting flavour from the that line then a burst of finishing flavour. There’s a modest austerity here – but what a wine!
2015 Clos de Bèze
Less impact(ful!) – a more floral and elegant nose. More subtle, decent freshness, a wine that slowly fills the mouth, really with a slight complexity, never with the impact of the Chapelle, and then it finishes with a very broad line of flavour. Long, long, long. Today I’d like just a hint more clarity in those flavours – but this is indisputably super wine!
Fred: “Every year I watch this, it grows every month, only at the end (February or March), at bottling has it clearly overtaken the Chapelle… whereas the Chapelle is consistent throughout elevage.
All the whites will probably be bottled by Christmas.
2015 Château Poncié, Beaujoais Blanc
Beaujolais Villages – the first vintage, planted in 2011, 2012, – 2 ha , north-east exposed about 20% clay. Bottled in July.
A fresh nose, faintly salted. Round, rich, slowly growing complexity. This is okay but a little too fat for my liking in this first hot vintage. A little tannin to finish.
2015 Bourgogne Chardonnay La Reserve
Chardonnay; mainly from the Côte d’Or, indeed mainly the Côte de Beaune.
Fresher, faintly saline again – quite attractive aromatics. Supple, some melting flavour, this has some attractive parts, the most important of which is the tasty finish. Quite yum…
Mainly bought grapes and must, vinified here in Savigny.
Lovely depth of fresh, citrus infused minerality. A hint of gas, but vibrant, fresh mineral flavour. Really lovely mouth-watering flavour in the finish – this is excellent.
2015 Beaune 1er du Château
Assembly of 10ha and 5 parcels is already done – will start bottling in about a week. 14.5° natural!
Pretty and bright nose. A little gas. Good intensity of bright flavour, a little structure and I like the freshness. Long finishing. Very good!
2015 Beaune 1er Clos St.Landry
2 ha monopole
A lovely fresh nose, faintly herbed and even more faintly citrusé. Fresh, richly textured, layers of lovely flavour. Certainly a rich wine, but with a very nice delivery and concentrated flavour. Lovely modest but long finishing flavour.
2015 Meursault Les Clous
8.60 ha of domaine vines, high on the hillside. White clay and limestone not far below the surface.
Very fine, faintly spiced nose – very inviting. Supple, some richness of texture, reasonably fresh and balanced. A slow-burner of a wine. Really a super finish, but given its hillside location I’d like a little more freshness and energy…
2015 Meursault 1er Genevrières
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.
Super nose, silky wide almost a smoky spice. Lovely in the mouth- more mineral, more mouth-watering flavour. Fabulous depth of tasty flavour. Just a little contemplative – personally like my whites more energetic, but this is very fine…
2015 Meursault 1er Les Perrières
From 3 different plots totalling 1.2 hectares. Again with separate elevage but blended together at the end.
More aromatic intensity – very fine spiced Meursault – ‘drink me’ it says. Just a little more structure and mid-palate minerality after the Genevrières. Really a great flavour in the finish – but like the previous I’d like a little more energy. Time will tell…
2015 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Les Combettes
An exchange of must with this proprietor.
Very pretty, ripe lemon notes and a width of base aroma – very attractive. Lithe, complex wine – just a little more energy than the last few, particularly in the mid-palate and the finish. This I like a lot!
300m height, 3.85 hectares at the top of the hill, just above their Les Corton, east oriented with rows planted north-south, the intention being to preserve freshness.
A vEry faint toast and mineral depth – relatively tight though. Bright, complex and really mouth-filling. There is some richness of flavour below, but it’s really not my first thought. The mouth is just full of complexity. A vibrant finish, some tannin too as a reminder! Super!
2.30 from the 4 terraces, now assembled, completing elevage in tank.
Tight higher up but a fine and interesting mineral impression below. Fresh, super-silky, richly flavoured and massively complex. This tastes really, really great – I’d still like some extra energy, but this is mouth-wateringly super. Simply a great finish.
0.20 ha, really a continuation of the top part of Montrachet it is not where the cabotte is – it really should have been classified as Montrachet in 1937 but was not planted at the time, so the INAO put it in Chevalier. A separate cuvee since 1997
Relatively modest nose, but with quite some depth all the same. Here is fine freshness, lithe, complexity on the palate and really fine energy in the middle. Waves of finishing flavour. Yes – bravo!
Fresh, not the biggest nose, but with exquisite depth. A little wider, a little more loose knit than the cabotte, but with great complexity and mobile, ever-changing flavour. A little texture of tannin in the finish and long, long, long. Fabulous, yet maybe only in the finish does this better the cabotte. Hair-splitting!