Tasted twice in Beaune with Frédéric Weber, November 15 & December 9 2019.
Bouchard Père et Fils
15 Rue du Château
Tel: +33 3 80 24 80 24
Frédéric on 2018:
“2018 didn’t have a very cold winter, rather one with a lot of rain. By March we’d already had double the amount of rain vs a normal vintage – because of that the vines hardly suffered in 2018 – unlike in 2019. The vines started to grow relatively late, but then the sun arrived and it was directly warm – the growth was very quick. Flowering came rather quickly too, 26-28 May was mid-flowering and we had very good flowering conditions. The Summer was practically a canicule and dry too – but not too much stress for the vines so we were already ready to start the harvest on the 30th August for reds – the 4th red vintage at Bouchard since (and including) 2003 that started in August.
“The yield of reds was moderate, certainly below 2017 – 35-38 hl/ha though with 13.5 to 14.5° – with not much malic acidity. A fortunate rainfall came about 23rd August that re-energised the vines in good time for our harvest. What was surprising was that the grapes had so many pips – often 3 or 4 in each grape. The whites from the start had a lot of flowers, a lot of potential bunches – you can be sure that it was tempting to keep all the bunches for all those with low harvests in recent years – but we chose to do some green harvesting and we did no de-leafing to protect the grapes. Some of the reds were ready very quickly, others took their time – for this we don’t actually have an explanation.
“30 August until 19 September for the harvest here. The first picked grapes were Côte de Beaune reds, the first whites about 4 days later – we waited a little for the chardonnay, not starting our harvest until the 3rd of September – we really wanted the maturity in the vines. This was the longest I remember harvesting at Bouchard. Cool macerations to start, fermentations starting spontaneously at around 11°C, but really not looking to extract as the structure was already visible – even with ‘early’ harvesting most of the wines are between 13.5 and 14.5°. So not that complicated in the vines, but much more so in the cuverie, as lots of wines were taking their time to finish their sugars. On the Maison side, we bought much less in 2018, we didn’t like a lot of the samples. If a little late-picked the skins were very spicy and brought very deep colours. Anyway, even those picked at the perfect time really needed no ‘extraction.’ I think wines in the style of 2005 and 2009 – more the latter. They have great potential for saving, we will keep plenty in reserve.
“But for me 2019 looks grand, the best feeling I’ve had in vinifications since the 2010s! A mix of 2007 and 2010.”
A great result for BP&F in 2018. Both colours. Really only one (contract) wine sticks out like a sore thumb – I’m sure that they would have done things differently if they could have!
Some are bottled, but many of these reds are racked in preparation for bottling:
2018 Bourgogne Pinot Noir Réserve
This now in bottle for a few days. ‘Mainly from purchases, about 15% wood, much less new – but not so long an elevage – for us it’s a wine of pleasure.’
Hmm – both density and glossy freshness. Concentration, saline intensity, very fine texture. Very good Bourgogne.
Domaine – Was bottled at the end end of Nov.
A much more attractive nose, faintly oaked, more depth but top notes of florals too. Depth of flavour, concentration and great texture again – really layered – delicious, fine style to this fruit. A graphite minerality to finish, but less so than the Bourgogne. Excellent length too.
A 1:1 blend of domaine and purchased neighbouring fruit. Time to rack for bottling, not yet done though. Not a long maceration, a little wc used.
Not a big nose, but some freshness above, tight below. Hmm, this has nice shape and drive in the mouth – cooler fruit, a little darker, plenty of complexity and depth to the flavour too. Lots of saline complexity to finish. Today not yet delicious but with potential and much material.
Racked and assembled, for bottling in Gevrey. Not proprietors but have contracts for over 10 hectares, making the harvesting etcetera.
A little more open, decent width of freshness here too – quite attractive. Ooh, super, fresh, tension and width in the mouth – yes! Mouth-watering intensity – ooh great villages. Bravo!
3.9 ha in one parcel, south-facing with a very faint slope – lots of clay here and small stones – usually benefits from a little later harvesting.
Not so wide – a vertical nose of fine florals and very pretty fruit – excellent! Driving, gorgeous texture, layered, muscular but the wine relaxes over the palate. Great Savigny – Bravo!
2018 Monthelie Les Duresses
‘Top of the slope, hard to work the soil here, south-east facing and drains well. Seems to show better and better in the warm years.’ 1-2% of different grapes too – gris and blanc which used to remove but now keep. In this sector, the last vines harvested
Good freshness and a hint of floral – I don’t note anything obviously wc but there’s approaching 30% in here. Like the last two, fresh, driving, layered flavour. The depth of tannin a little more overt but fully ripe and tiny-grained. Super wine, with a deliciously wide finish.
Now all assembled – this the definitive cuvée
A good freshness with a faint spice – tighter below. Fine freshness. This holds a nice shape in the middle – slightly structural, open, lots of complexity – it is not yet ‘delicious’ but it’s heading in the right direction. Concentrated but balanced and very long. For the price, this could be great Beaune!
This is a 3.36 hectare monopole next to Les Avaux. Before hitting the mother-rock there’s a deep and dense 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. Just racked so not bright.
Hmm – delicate, lovely fruit and flower aromas, otherwise a little compact this nose. The tannin is a little blockier, but the depth of fresh fruit is super here – it has all the deliciousness that the Beaune du Chaâteau has not yet found. Complex, slightly mineral finishing – one of the best of this cuvée I’ve tasted from here – bravo.
Four different plots, vinified separately, 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 recently replanted. 3.91 ha.
Still in barrel; a faintly creamy nose, a very elegant depth, slowly adding fine floral complexity. A little extra depth of flavour here, with a super blend of fresh concentration and silky texture. Slow-moving waves of fine finishing flavour. A great wine.
2018 Volnay 1er Caillerets Ancienne Cuvée Carnot
A 3.75 hectares, again in 4 plots. 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. A normal harvest 40 hl/ha!
A different style of nose, open, very fresh, slightly vibrant – maybe CO2. Hmm, direct, fresh, cool-fruited. Then modest intensity but not a modest finishing width of flavour – elegant but really persistent. Almost a haunting finish. Excellent.
Half a hectare. Always late harvesting here. Also racked and assembled only a few days
More impact to this nose, floral perfumed, nicely complex. Wide, layered, energetic, a little extra maturity in the middle it seems, but the wine supports this growing bigger and bigger in a very large and impressive finish. Almost chewy. Certainly excellent wine – potential great wine!
2018 Le Corton
High-toned, floral even elegant! Another wine of direction and fresh, cool fruit. Plenty of intensity here. Wide, slightly saline. Extra-long, only the finest of tannic grain. Super Corton.
2018 Nuits St.Georges 1er Les Cailles
One hectare from this 3ha, flat, appellation. 40-year-old vines. Still in barrel. Lost half to hail in July – did a green harvest removing all the touched bunches the week after.
Ooh – that’s a big, floral nose – such an invitation. Fills the mouth, love the energy here – there’s a little barrel showing today – creamy style. Good energy. Not full focus or clarity yet(?) But energetic and a great mouthful of wine – another great finish too!
0.30 on a good slope just under the trees
Here there’s a little more aromatic oak – but a nice freshness and width of fruit too. Deliciously mouth-filling. Open, melting with delicious flavour, some structure. Clearly to wait for but there is a great bottle in waiting here.
Half a hectare is owned in 2 equal size parcels; one next to Grands-Echézeaux and a lower parcel – this lower parcel has been replanted, but there’s no harvest for now. This the second vintage ‘alone.’ ‘ This higher part has much more elegance than the bottom part used to show.’
Not the biggest nose, but so far it’s easily the best perfume, more than a little floral – very fine violets here. Driving, quite narrow but with energy and somewhere to go. You end up in the finish all too quickly. Ultra-complex, growing, finishing flavour. Baby wine, great wine – bravo!
Domaine from the Combe d’Orveaux. White, south-facing soil, cool in the nights here but still early harvested.
More colour. A fuller nose, more oak too. Fresh, driving shape – like most of the higher wines here. Most of the flavour complexity is coming from the oak today. But the shape, the über-fine texture and persistence are top-line. Such a fine mouth-watering length – not yet delicious though. Excellent for sure, bravo, probably!
0.25 ha towards Chambolle on red soil – 7 rows but each 100 metres long – ‘it’s a nice parcel’ says Frederic! A masalle selection of old vines too. Usually only a couple of barrels, so often only sold from Bouchard’s ‘factory shop’ in Beaune.
This has fine aromatic clarity – high tones, no oak – a fine invitation that keeps getting better with air, maybe a little wc – yes 50%. Wide, wc-inflected flavour. Concentrated – indeed layered – flavour, some wc in that flavour, complex and profound. Wide finishing. The best yet – bravo!
Last harvested vines.
Vibrant but the first wine that seems to show a little stewed aspect to the fruit – completely different to all the others. But this has a super shape in the mouth, dark-fruited, wide, a little spiced. I love the shape and texture, less so the expression of the flavour today. It tastes like it comes from a quite a bit further south than Gevrey – and I don’t mean Nuits!
2018 Clos de Bèze
A little less colour but harvested a day after the Chapelle – almost 1 ha under the wood – so higher vines.
Complex, mineral, herbal, high-toned, a little oak. Fresh, driving flavour – much wider, lots of energy. The oak is an important component today – but a big complexity here – I see great potential – but wouldn’t return for some time to check. Wide, brilliantly complex finishing.
2018 Bourgogne Chardonnay Reserve
2 ha of domaine wines and then purchases, mainly but not entirely Côte d’Or – elevage in stainless-steel with lees, a little oak too but only for 6-7 months.
Bright, in your face, open nose – some vibrancy and little impression of stony ripe fruit. A little gas – this is bottled. Wide, relaxed over the palate – I’d like a little more clarity and incisiveness, but this tastes lovely…
2018 Beaune 1er du Château
10 ha from 5 1ers – each with separate elevage – assembled now – could be bottled before the end of the year, or maybe early in January. About 15% wood, mainly 1-2 years old.
Hmm, this has a nice, more precise nose also less rigour. More mineral, more driving. This is super. Energetic, a little stony minerality before relaxing over the palate. Young but this is excellent.
2018 Beaune Clos St.Landry
‘A 2 hectare Clos – yellow marne here, practically the only place in Beaune. Even in the 13th century, it is written that here in Beaune was planted chardonnay – it has always been planted to white as far as anyone knows.’ The maturity comes very quickly – the first white parcel harvested in Beaune – always highly coloured juice that reminds Fred of Goutte d’Or.
Hmm – a round, quite full nose – fresh, tightly wound, almost Meursault-spiced this year. Great presence in the mouth, apricot, dried fruits, in a Meursault style this year – excellent, delicious, fresh wine!
8.6 ha, white, stony soil on the hill, later harvesting which obviously is interesting in warmer years.
Ooh – classy, faintly spiced, Mineral, wide, the clarity I was looking for before. A little mineral rigour – you should wait for 12 months (it’s just been bottled) – lovely finishing sizzle of flavour. Long – yes!
Will be bottled next week – all is ready. 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.
What a nose – redolent of the last but with extra comforting elegance. Hmm – extra mineral, extra complex, great focus. A little rigour to the finishing. Mouthwatering minerality, but this is super wine – delicious in only a few months more.
From 3 different plots totalling 1.2 hectares. Again with separate elevage but blended together at the end.
A smaller nose than THE Genevrières showing more clarity of citrus fruit – width too. Similar minerality to the last but more mouth-filling, here with a more overt melting of the flavour over the palate. Beautiful finishing – all these Meursault with a little rigour to otherwise brilliant fruit clarity. Potentially great wine here.
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. This is the last white parcel harvested – ‘It’s important to wait for the maturity here.’
Vibrant mineral clarity – yes! Super, super, mineral, structural, visceral! There is no padding here, no extraneous comfort – it is Charlemagne – though you get a bouquet of flowers for finishing the course. Will be assuredly great!
2.5 hectares are owned in Chevalier-Montrachet but spread across the 4 terraces, heading up the hill above Montrachet. Would you like to see the ‘blending components?’
Chevalier Terrace number 1
A deep and contemplative nose – clearly with more weight of concentration than all before. Fuller but clean and mineral, melting with a fine complexity. Ooh – that’s really so long – more Montrachet than Chevalier style. The finish really with a little tannin on the end of the tongue.
Chevalier Terrace number 2
A nose of more freshness. More attack, more freshness in the mouth – I love the energy here, a little pineapple in the middle. Lovely intensity, much more vibrancy here.
Chevalier Terrace number 3
Deeper – there’s a little oak showing here – but a width of freshness too. Actually this is rather muscular, more an impression of something intermediate to the first two. Really a great finish. (The team admit that picking date had everything to do with this extra richness.)
Chevalier Terrace number 4
A little more open and fresh. Ooh, this is really driving, fresh and energetic. The wine that is the most youthful and will require the most time – vibrant wine and incredibly long too.
Assembled the 4 terraces last week, maybe will be in bottle before Christmas.
Ooh – there seems nothing here that recalls the previous wines. The nose is round but beautifully citrus accented, maybe a little hazelnut. There seems also more width and sweetness but still retaining that zip of freshness – you don’t really see the muscle of either terrace 1 or 3. Just a touch of mineral rigour but less than in the Meursaults – rather floral perfumed in the middle too. A fresh density of finishing flavour. Bravo!
Elevage continues here, now racked into foudres.
An even more delicious impression to this minerality. Fuller, more saline – more density – but never in a negative sense. Agrumes and minerals in the finish – the main difference is that I don’t see much floral complexity here – great wine nonetheless.
0.89ha bought in 1838, with only 4 (known) owners in centuries. This still in barrel.
There probably is a little creamy barrel in the nose – but it’s so light as to be largely transparent – ultrafine agrume and a little floral. Full, rich but very mineral, growing in intensity. The balance of richness with mineral intensity is the core of this wine. Clean and ultra-long. Bravo! Not the showiest, but it leaves its mark…