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The wines of Bouchard Père et Fils

by Tom Cannavan

The ancient firm of Bouchard is both négociant and vineyard owner. Some of Burgundy's top terroir is theirs, including 12 hectares of Grand Cru vineyards and over 70 hectares of Premier Cru. This tasting of their wines, both new and older vintages, was arranged by their Scottish agent, Wine Importers of Edinburgh (0131 556 3601).
  
 

Prices for these wines start at around £10 for the Bourgogne Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and rise to around £30 for the Premier Crus, and £50 for the Grand Cru Corton-Charlemagne

White

Bourgogne Chardonnay "La Vignée" 2000
Crisply aromatic: light, floral, orchard fruits and a slightly mealy quality. Plenty of robust, juicy, apple and pear fruit in the mouth. Quite broad, with juicy citrus acidity and good balance. A simple, but lovely little wine. Very good indeed.

Pouilly-Fuissé 2001
Tight, focused nose of taut pear fruit, with just a little creamy, leesy overlay. Plenty of crisp pear fruit on the palate, with a hint of minerality and very tight acidity. Perhaps a touch raw in the finish, but very good.

Rully Blanc 2000
A little herbal edge to this, otherwise crisply defined by orchard fruits. Lacks a little breadth on the palate perhaps, in a very steely style with tight lemony fruit and keen green apple acidity. Very nice in a Chablis style. Very good.

Auxey-Duresses Blanc 2000
Pleasant nose, with a gentle herbal character, some creamy malolactic influences and a hint of more tropical, peachy ripeness. The palate has good weight, with an orangy quality to the fruit and acidity, with a grapefruit sharpness. Quite long, and very good/very good indeed.

St-Romain Blanc 1999
Clean, crisp nose with mineral overtones and modest aromas of citrus and apple. Very clean and correct on the palate, with a bright focused style, though perhaps could do with a little more flesh on the mid-palate. Very good.

Meursault Domaine Bouchard 1999
Overriding notes of wet nappies. Most unpleasant, with rather rough acidity on the palate. Poor.

Meursault "Les Clous" 1999
Much cleaner, with a nicely nutty edge to racy mineral and pear fruit. Just a hint of honey. On the palate it has a broad, juicy appeal with good weight and texture and a long, powerful finish. Everything the previous wine is not. Very good indeed.

Puligny-Montrachet 1999
Clean, crisp, light pear and apple, a little confectionery note and just a hint of honeysuckle. Background oak. Fine acidity on the palate, with a streak of lime fruit and a nice balance of fruit and acid into a long finish. Very good indeed.

Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Folatières 2000
Much richer nose, with plenty of new oak adding creamy, toasty notes to richer, peachy fruit. The palate has orange and lemon fruit, plenty of mineral acidity, and a sense of elegance. There's power too, and good length. Very good indeed.

Chassagne-Montrachet 1998
Much deeper, more vegetal aromas with a punchy weight of fruit and nutty background. Lots of juicy, ripe apricot fruit, peach skins and staying broad and generous into the finish. Balanced and quite long. Very good/very good indeed.

Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 1997
There's a nutty, hazelnut and almond overlay here, with light toastiness and quite modest, peachy fruit. The palate has a nicely integrated and resolved honeyed sweetness, with a rich mid-palate and good mineral acidity brightening and lengthening the finish. Not quite enough fruit for the long haul, so drink soon. Very good indeed.

Red

Beaujolais-Villages "Château de Souzy" 2000
Crisp, tight, tart cherry fruit and a very pleasant nose. Hints of strawberry and raspberry sweetness. Dry, savoury palate, with light tannins and a classic, fruity Beaujolais-Villages character. Very good.

Fleurie (Beaujolais) 2001 Deeper on the nose, with red cherry, minerals and a tight, bitumen quality. Plenty of dry, savoury, quite meaty fruit with cherry overtones and serious tannins. Tight and racy into the finish, this is very good indeed.

Brouilly (Beaujolais) 2000 Slighter softer and rounder, but more depth here with a vegetal, earthy quality. Powerful palate, packed with fruit that is sweet on the attack before savoury, lip-smacking cherry and raspberry fruit pushes through to a juicy, pure finish. Very good indeed/excellent.

Bourgogne Pinot Noir "La Vignée" 2000
Modest nose, with mineral and tart cherry nuances. Palate of raspberry and modest red fruit, which is quite racy and savoury, with good balance. Good/very good.

Hautes-Côtes-de-Beaune "Château de Mandelot" 2000
Tightly-focused raspberry and mineral nose. A little hint of charcoal; possibly sulphury. The palate has good fruit, with lots of juicy cherry and red fruits and a nice edge of tannins. Good weight. Very good.

Côtes-de-Beaune-Villages 2000
Again a tight raspberry, cherry and mineral nose. There's a hint of earthiness too. The palate has good fruit, that is quite soft and sweet, with damp, woodlandy undertones and nice balance into a moderately long finish. Very good.

Marsannay 1996
This exhibits a much more open, inviting sweetness on the nose, with perfumed hints of gaminess and soft strawberry fruit. Nice on the palate too, with broad, soft fruit and integrated tannins adding an edge to juicy berries. Nice, maturing wine. Very good indeed.

St-Romain Rouge 2000
This has a pleasant suggestion of animal depth to herb-tinged cherry fruit. There is a background of creamy oak that fills it out. On the palate it is silky-textured and quite rich, with hints of chocolaty depth to crisp red fruits. Good tannins and acids balance, and it is quite concentrated and long. Very good indeed/excellent.

Chorey-lès-Beaune 2000
Back to that tightness again, with cherry and mineral dominating, and just a hint of an acetone character. A suggestion of leafiness too, then plenty of bright, crisp black cherry fruit onto the palate. Really quite vivid and ripe once it hits its stride, with good balance and length. Very good indeed.

Volnay 1999
Slightly darker, more vegetal nose with more classic truffle hints and sweet cherry and softer strawberry fruit. Quite solid and foursquare, with well-packed fruit on the mid-palate and substantial, meaty presence in the mouth. Long, with juicy acidity adding lip-smacking appeal. Very good indeed.

Monthélie 1997
Lightly vegetal nose, a little bit stinky and dank, but mushroomy and not unpleasant. The palate has solid red fruits, but again that mushroomy note. Integrated and quite solid, but maybe a bit underpowered and lacking a spark. Good/very good.

Beaune 1997
Quite a nice, full, rich nose with spicy, sweet red fruit and a coffee-bean, oaky note. Quite plummy and deep. Rich, ripe, sweet and full fruit on the palate with good texture. Long, rounded with low acidity, but very tasty. Very good indeed.

Beaune 1er Cru Teurons 1997
Nice meaty, deep, animal nose with powerful perfume and sweet, spicy fruit and a toasty, espresso bean background. Rich and powerful on the palate too, and satisfyingly deep with mocha-coffee and black fruits intermingled and an underlying bloody note. Full and richly-textured, this is long and firm into the finish thanks to a keen tannic edge. Very good indeed/excellent.

Beaune 1er Grèves Vigne de l'Enfant Jésus 1997
There's a mintiness on the nose here of very ripe fruit, again with lots of rich, toasty, coffee-bean oak and a deep seam of fruit. Little nuances of game and a leathery depth on the palate; really nice meaty stuff. Very good quality undoubtedly, and I'd say needs a little time. Very good indeed.

Nuits-St-Georges 1999
Quite a raw, charcoally note on the nose - very schisty and mineral. Palate is richer, with blackcurrant and black cherry fruit. Very intense and concentrated, though perhaps lacks a bit of complexity. Very good.

Gevrey-Chambertin 1999
Tight, lean nose of cherry and raspberry. Very focused and crisp. Good sweetness of fruit on the palate, with ripe, very glossy and pure fruit. Plenty of concentration here, and fine balance, with potential to be Excellent. Very good indeed.

Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru Les Cailles 1997
Softly appealing nose; quite meaty with vegetal qualities of truffle and red fruits. Palate is smooth and nicely-weighted, with a rounded sweetness of fruit backed up by ripe tannins and balanced acidity. A very nice wine to drink now, and very good indeed.

See also: Bill Nanson's visit to Bouchard Père et Fils