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.
Bouchard Pere et Fils is one of the big houses that have improved the most – and they are now producing both whites and reds of very high quality. They do make a lot of different wines from a generic pinot to a extraordinary Montrachet – and it’s therefore somewhat difficult to evaluate the overall quality of the house.
Thankfully Bouchard and the Danish importer of Bouchard, Erik Sørensen, held a great presentation of the 2011 vintage, where a broad range of Bouchard wines were tasted – and this was the perfect opportunity to take a closer look at Bouchards wines.
The wines were presented by Victor Pepin, who is Export Manager at Maisons et Domaines Henriot – at a large and very well organized tasting in Copenhagen.
The overall quality of Bouchard Pere et Fils
The overall quality of Bouchard is in my view impressive, and it was easy to find interesting and enjoyable terroir driven wines both among the whites and the reds served at the tasting.
The whites – from Chardonnay La Reserve to Montrachet
The white range is in my view a full level better than the reds. In general the whites are very pure, crisp, transparent and focused – and one can identify a house style in the whites going from the Bourgogne Chadonnay to the Montrachet. The limited use of new oak really lets the terroir shine, and the wines are focused and elegant – rather than big and oaky. Personally I like this style – and the 2011s from Bouchard are really my kind of white Burgundies.
The top whites – Corton Charlemagne, Chevalier Montrachet and Montrachet can rival some of the very best producers of white Burgundy – these are truly impressive wines – with a lovely refined style fully expressing the fine terroirs in the Bouchard portfolio.
The reds from Pinot Noir La Reserve to Clos de Vougeot
The reds show more variation in style and quality. The overall picture is however still very positive, as the wines are very enjoyable and can stand their ground among the better producers on the different red terroirs.
When talking about quality of the big houses it’s important to understand that a house like Bouchard makes 300.000 bottlees of the generic pinot each year. This is a huge production .. thus also very different from a Bourogne Rouge made by a local cult producer just outside the village appelation. Bouchard will be able to deliver large quantities of these wine for the professional market, while it’s often difficult to get a 12 bottles of Bourgogne Rouge from the cult producers. The wines made in very large quantities – from many different terroirs – are well made and enjoyable, but are – almost by definition – lacking some focus and clear terroir definition.
When we move up to the single terroir wines of Bouchard the quality increase, and the style does get more consistent. Wines like the Savigny Les Lavieres and Monthelie les Duresses are lovely terroir driven wines – and moving further up to Volnay Caillerets, Beaune Greves Vigne de l’Enfant Jesus, Le Corton and Clos de Vougeot the quality is very high and indeed comparable with some of the better producers in these appelations.
Summing up on the overall quality
Bouchard have indeed improved and the collection of whites is truly impressive, the reds are also showing big improvements from 2007 and onwards – and all the single terroir wines show a fine expression of the climate and the house style seem to be more and more consistant.
For the professional market the Bouchard wines are very interesting due to the quite large quantities available, as they can actually provide both whites and reds of very drinkable quality in quantities that should be sufficient for all occations and purposes.
For the wine nerd like me – the Bouchard portfolio have a lot of lovely wines, that I would happily enjoy on a Friday evening – and the top whites are in my view among the best wines from these climates – get them while you can!
27 wines from Boujolais to Montrachet
It was a very extensive tasting with more than 25 wines ranging from the Beujolais village to the great grand cru whites of Puligny.
The wines tasted at the Erik Sørensen tasting
- Villa Ponciago, Beaujolais Villages 2011
- Villa Ponciago, Fleurie La Reserve 2011
- Villa Ponciago, Fleurie Les Hauts de Py 2011
- Villa Ponciago, Fleurie La Roche Murieres 2011
- Bouchard Pere et Fils, Pinot Noir La Reserve 2011
- Bouchard Pere et Fils, Savigny Les Beaune Les Lavieres 1. Cru 2011
- Bouchard Pere et Fils, Monthelie Les Duresses 1. Cru 2011
- Bouchard Pere et Fils, Beaune du Chateau 2011
- Bouchard Pere et Fils, Beaune Teurons 2011
- Bouchard Pere et Fils, Volnay Caillerets Ancienne Cuvee Carnot 2011
- Bouchard Pere et Fils, Nuits Saint Georges Les Cailles 2011
- Bouchard Pere et Fils, Le Corton 2011
- Bouchard Pere et Fils, Clos de Vougeot 2011
- Bouchard Pere et Fils, Beaune Greves Vignes de l’Enfant Jesus 2011
- Bouchard Pere et Fils, Beaune Greves Vignes de l’Enfant Jesus 2010
- Bouchard Pere et Fils, Beaune Greves Vignes de l’Enfant Jesus 2009
- Bouchard Pere et Fils, Beaune Greves Vignes de l’Enfant Jesus 2007
- Bouchard Pere et Fils, Beaune Greves Vignes de l’Enfant Jesus 1999
- Bouchard Pere et Fils, Beaune Greves Vignes de l’Enfant Jesus 1988
- Bouchard Pere et Fils, Chardonnay La Reserve 2011
- Bouchard Pere et Fils, Pouilly Fuisse 2011
- Bouchard Pere et Fils, Meursault Les Clous 2011
- Bouchard Pere et Fils, Beaune du Chateau 1. cru 2011
- Bouchard Pere et Fils, Meursault Genevrieres 2011
- Bouchard Pere et Fils, Corton Charlemagne 2011
- Bouchard Pere et Fils, Chevalier Montrachet 2011
- Bouchard Pere et Fils, Montrachet 2011
Special thanks to Bjarne Sundby at Erik Sørensen and Victor Pepin from Bouchard Pere et Fils for a great tasting.
Tasting notes will follow!