Old wines should be treated with respect and given the appropriate time to resolve in the glas. This is true for most wines, but especially old white Burgundies can be misunderstood and wasted if they are not given sufficient time in the glas. This bottle of 1986 Meursault Charmes from Bouchard Pere et Fils seemed tired and slightly oxidative when it was poured … and it took at least 10 – 15 minutes in the glass before it started to show it’s qualities. After quite some time in the glass it showed the most lovely mature complexity combined with a delightful vibrant freshness. In the nose yellow fruit, acacia, almonds and hazelnuts with notes of orange zest and coffee. On the palate pure and quite crisp, with a lovely balance and weight. It’s not a big wine, but a perfectly mature old white Burgundy … with all the qualities an old white Burgundy should possess … but rarely have.
Bouchard Pere et Fils and for that matter other of the large houses in Beaune have over the recent years really improved quality. They have moved from mass production towards quality that can rival some of the better producers in the different appelations.
The Beaune Greves Vigne de l’Enfant Jesus 1988 is now in decline. The nose is very mature with complex notes of plum, sous-bois and sadly also some quite strong maderized notes. On the palate quite intense – with some fruit left – slightly maderized and starting to dry out in the finish. The maderized notes are reduced significantly after some time in the glass – and at this point it’ a drinkable wine. Bottom line – too old but still tasteable.
The Beaune Greves Vigne de l’Enfant Jesus 1999 is still slightly closed and backward. The nose is showing dark and red berry fruit – dense sweet and ripe – with a nice earthy minerality and beginning complexity .. sous-bois and a slight hint of truffle peel. On the palate rich and quite dark with a somewhat dense expression. Lacking a bit of nerve and is in my view slighly high on the alcohol … or at least showing to much alcohol presenly. The development in the glass doesn’t really indicate 10 years more in the cellar – but think it will improve over the next years. Yes it’s big and dense … but prefer the higher quality and style of the recent vintages – not a bad wine though!
The Beaune Greves Vigne de l’Enfant Jesus 2007 is very open and already showing some lovely complex matured notes. In the bouquet sweet matured red fruit, with notes of cherries, strawberries and plum – spiced with sous-bois and a slight hint of truffle and coffee. On the palate lovely rich and matured fruit – with a delicate freshness and a nice earthy minerality. The quite virbrant acidity adds focus to the wine – lovely long and tense finish. It’s a lovely wine now – really don’t think it would benefit from more than 5 years extra in the cellar.
The Beaune Greves Vigne de l’Enfant Jesus 2009 is a rich but quite balanced 2009. In the bouquet sweet red fruits – black cherries, raspberries, red currant spiced with a hint of ruhbarb and wet stones. On the palate quite dense and intense, with layers of sweet fruit. It’s quite vibrant and delicate for the vintage – with a long complex and quite refined finish, A fine 09 in the making – not a wine that requires 20 years in the cellar.
The Beaune Greves Vigne de l’Enfant Jesus 2010 is a very intense wine but closing down now. In the bouquet intense and tight red and dark berry fruit – with notes of cherries, raspberries liquorice and plum – rather closedat the moment. On the palate layers of ripe pure fruit with a backbone of earthy minerality, abundant tannins and the fine 2010 acidity. It offers a very rich midpalate and a very long tightly focused finish – need time to soften the grip from the finely grained and ripe tannins. A big wine for this level – need 10 years in the cellar to show you the full potential of this fine terroir.
The Beaune Greves Vigne de l’Enfant Jesus 2011 is a serious and lovely pinot. In the bouquet delicate red and dark berry fruit – with notes of cherries, raspberries and plum – spiced with some quite refined floral hints. On the palate very harmonious with a quite intense but airy fruit – a nice mineralic tension – and a good backbone of finely grained tannins and acidity. It’s quite muscular for the vintage, and will require some cellaring before the full potential is unleashed. A beautiful wine in the making – love the midpalate intensity and the terroir expression.
The Clos de Vougeot 2011 from Bouchard is really showing well. In the bouquet layers of red berry fruit with a lovely spicyness – hints of violets, horseradish and chocolate. On the palate very harmonious with layers of quite intense fruit – a lovely mineralic tension – and a very nice acidity. It’s long and intense with very good midpalate weight. The oak is offering good support in the long and docused finish. A big wine but still quite lightfooted and refined for a Clos de Vougeot. A really fine effort from Bouchard.
The Savigny Les Lavieres 2011 from Bouchard is a nice terroir driven “entry” level Burgundy. The nose is quite complex with nice red berry fruit, hints of minerality and a touch of oak. On the palate good cool fruit, finely balanced by the quite crisp acidity and the nice minerality from the lovely Lavieres terroir. I like this Savigny with it’s terroir driven expression – it offers a good complexity and it’s long and quite powerful for this level.
The Bourgogne Réserve from Bouchard deserves a mention – as it’s a nice generic white Burgundy. I like the style of Bouchards whites, and even the entry level white shares some of the style found in the more expensive wines. The nose offer notes of pear, lemongrass and citrus with a (very slight) hint of minerality. On the palate very pure fruit – good balance, freshness and energy – the 2011 vintage aure is lovely for the whites. Not a big and complex wine – but nevertheless a pleasure.
The Meursault Genevrieres 2011 from Bouchard is a very rich and quite exotic wine. In the bouquet exotic orchard fruits with notes of apricot, white peach, acacia and a fine citrus infused stony minerality. On the palate very rich and intense with a quite abundant fruit and a strong mineralic backbone from the fine terroir. It’s very long with a good balance between the rich fruit and the acidity in the mineral driven finish. The fruit is very ripe but matched quite well by the fresh and vibrant acidity. A rich and quite exotic Meursault Genevrieres.
The Chevalier-Montrachet 2011 from Bouchard is very refined and showing beautifully. The bouquet offer pure and cool orchard fruits – with notes of white peach, melon and pear – hints of acacia flower, petrolium, citrus and a filligree stony minerality. On the palate very intense with a very long mineralic finish – the fruit is crystal clear and supported very well by the multible layers of complex minerality. The acidity is vibrant and the tension and nerve is indeed impressive. A very elegant Chevalier-Montrachet in the making.
The Montrachet 2011 from Bouchard is a refined and very balanced masterpiece. The bouquet is offering pure crystaline cool orchard fruits – intense but airy … with discrete citrus notes and a powerful but very filligree stony minerality. On the palate very intense with a very long mineralic finish – but still it’s a incredibly balanced and lightfooted wine. The fruit is crystal clear and supported perfectly by the multible layers of complex minerality. The acidity is very vibrant and the tension and nerve in this refined wine is extraordinary. Bottom line – one of the most refined and delicate Montrachets I have tasted.
The Corton-Charlemagne 2011 from Bouchard is a gorgeous and classic Charlie. The bouquet is crystaline in it’s purity … with pure ripe and fresh orchard fruits, citrus notes and a powerful but filligree minerality. On the palate very fresh and crisp fruit, a very vibrant acidity and a powerful mineralic backbone. There is real power and poise here – very intense with great length and mineralic weight. A very balanced and harmonious Chalie – refined with a lovely mineralic tension. Truly impressive effort from Bouchard – really enjoyed this wine.
I used to be slightly ambivalent about the big houses in Burgundy …. in some sense it’s tremendously impressive they can produce an almost infinite number of bottles each year and still maintain a high quality, on the other hand one sometimes feels that something is missing …. a human touch or a deeper understanding of the specific terroirs.
The big houses have however improved a lot during the last decade, and quite a few of them are now producing wines that rivals the smaller producers on their home turf. So please don’t overlook the wines from the big houses like Bouchard Pere et Fils – they can offer very high quality.
The 1990 Le Corton from Bouchard is a quite impressive wine. In the bouquet red fruits, some floral notes, forest floor and a hint of truffle … good complexity. On the palate fine red and dark fruit and good concentration. It has a good balance and length. Still some dry tannins from the oak, and lacks a little nerve in the fruit. A Very Good Corton … will keep – but drinking well now.
I use my own rating system here at Winehog.org.
I don’t use the 100 point scale anymore – but changed to a quite simple scale inspired by some of the British wine journalists.
Tasting and rating wine is not exact science … and therefore I prefer to use a scale that reflects that wine is a living organism and that a wine can taste like 94 points one day … and 93 the next day … depending on the moon, the glass, temperature and or my mood!
The end of points
I have been using the 100 point scale for two decades, and the problems using this scale became more and more aparent during the work with winehog.org. It’s very hard .. or perhaps even impossible to truly consistent ratings with a scale like the 100 points scale.
I therefore changed to my own scale … but still translates my ratings to points … as a service to the readers who prefer the 100 point scale … enjoy the wines … and forget the points and ratings!
The potential is defined by the terroir
The quality or the potential of a wine is in my view defined by the terroir as the complexity and depth comes from the terroir. It’s important to note that only the very best terroirs can merrit a top rating. If we look at the best 1er crus – they can indeed rival a lot of the grand cru wines produced, but it’s very rare to find a 1er cru that merrits an outstanding rating. And while the best village wines can be fine, they are still village wines – and can almost never merrit a “very fine” rating.
Here is our the winehog.org scale:
- Legendary – (99 – 100p)
- Extraordinary – (97 – 98p)
- Outstanding – (95 – 96p)
- Very Fine – (93 – 94p)
- Fine – (91 – 92p)
- Very Good – (88 – 90p)
- Good – (85 – 87p)
- Above Average – (80 – 84p)
- Average – (75 – 79p)
- Below Average – (70 – 74p)
- Poor – (50 – 69p)