Bouchard Pere et Fils is one of the larger owners of Montrachet, and also one of the oldest owners, as they have maintained the ownership on Montrachet since 1838.
The Montrachet from Bouchard is in my view one of the best and most refined efforts from this legendary vineyard – so lets take a closer look at the Bouchard holdings on Montrachet.
The Bouchard holdings on Montrachet
The Bouchard plot is located in the Puligny section of Montrachet, on the border to the Chassagne appellation – see map below.
The plot is in the very center of the Montrachet vineyard … just south of the Ramonet plot, and just north of one of the plots owned by DRC. The plot is just below the La Cabotte section of Chevalier-Montrachet, also owned by Bouchard Pere et Fils – see map below.
The current Bouchard holdings include one plot (cadastre no 67) and the total area is 0.8894 ha.
The early history of the Bouchard plot on Montrachet
The history of the Bourchard Ownership dates back to 1838 where they acquired a large part of the Puligny section of Montrachet.
Bernard Bouchard and Adolphe Bouchard bought 45 Ouvrees (1,92 ha) of Montrachet from the Mandelot family in 18387, and although the holdings since have been reduced, the strong Bouchard presence on Montrachet have been maintained.
Looking at the plots and the area, Bouchard must have acquired the plots 67, 66 and 121, 120, 119, 118, currently owned by Bouchard Pere et Fils themselves, by Domaine Ramonet and Boillereault de Chauvigny. These plots are in total 1.94 ha.
The Clermont-Montoison ownership
As mentioned above Bouchard acquired the section from the Mandelot family, a branch of the Clermont-Montoison family, that owned 4 ha of Montrachet even before the revolution.
According to Bazin5 the Clermont-Montoison name entered the Montrachet history in 1706 … and the family continued to be the dominant owner on Montrachet until just before the revolutio, and even today the Laguiche branch of the family is one of the largest owners of Monctrachet.
Before the revolution the Clermont-Montoison family and branches of it owned around 50% of Montrachet – but this was confiscated, and sold as bien national. In total 100 ouvrees of Montrachet was according to Lavalle (p 156)1 sold in two lots to a Mr. Pourtalés.
It seems however that two branches of the Clermont-Montoison family regained ownership over a large part of these holdings after the revolution.
Clermot-Montoison, Mandelot and Laguiche
The Marquis de Montoison – Louis Claude de Clermont-Montoison (1722 – 1784) passed away just before the revolution, and presumably left the estate to his two remaining daughtes – Marie Louise Philiberte de Clermont-Montoison and Jeanne-Marie de Clermont-Montoison9.
Marie Louise Philiberte de Clermont-Montoison (1757 – ?) was married to Henri Bataille de Mandelot (1753 – ?) and they had two sons – Alphonse and André Bataille de Mandelot9.
The twin sister Jeanne-Marie de Clermont-Montoison (1757 – 1822) was married to Charles-Amable de Laguiche (1747 – 1794). Via this marriage the Laguiche family was introduced in the history of the Montrachet vineyard. The couple had one son, Louis-Henri Casimir de Laguiche (1770 – 1843) before Charles-Amable de Laguiche lost his life at the guillotine in 17946 & 9.
Given the fact that Louis Claude de Clermont-Montoison passed away well before the revolution it seems likely that the holdings on Montrachet was split between the two sisters even before the revolution … thus introducing both Laguiche and Mandelot to the history of Montrachet.
So most likely Laguiche have never been the owner of the full Puligny section of Montrachet as suggested by some research.
Furthermore the most likely scenario is therefore that the two Montoison sisters re-acquired most of the Montrachet after the revolution, and reinstated Clermont-Montoison ownership on the Puligny side of Montrachet under the names Laguiche and Mandelot.
The Laguiche branch of the family re-acquired 2.06 ha and have kept this within the family until today.
The 100 ouvrees and the Mandelot section
Both Lavalle1 and Bazin5 mention that 100 ouvrees of Montrachet from the Clermont-Montoison holdings was sold as bien national devided into two plots of presumably almost the same size. One plot was sold for 35.000 Francs and the other at 37.100 Francs to M. Pourtales.
The problem is however, that the 100 ouvrees exceeds the size of the Puligny section of Montrachet … so either a part of the Chassagne section of Montrachet was also included in the bien national sale … or another plot outside the current Montrachet was sold in connection with this deal.
Given the size of the Puligny section approximately 5 ouvreees is missing according to my calculations. Laguice own almost 50 ouvrees (49.5 ouvrees) but the Mandelot section acquired by Bouchard was supposedly only 45 ouvrees.
Either the 100 ouvrees was not accurate – or there is plot missing from the Cleamont-Montoison holdings sold as bien national.
My hypothesis is that at least a part of the Chevalier-Montrachet La Cabotte was a part of the 100 ouvreees … with La Cabottes size of 0.2104 ha … around 5 ouvrees – it all adds up:
Firstly the total area is then very close to 100 ouvrees. Secondly the Mandelot and the Laguiche sections was then of almost equal size, and lastly this explains the later division of the Mandelot section … under the Bouchard ownership.
When considering the above .. it’s important to remember that Montrachet or Mont Rachet was not so well defined at this early stage … and therefore La Cabotte or at least a part of it … could well have been considered as a part of Montrachet around the bien national.
Looking at the cadastre map from 1839 it seems like at least a part (the bottom half) of La Cabotte was included in the large Clermont-Montoison plot on Montrachet – see map below where the current La Cabotte is outlined with a red line.
So it’s possible that Bouchard also acquired at least a part of the current Chevalier-Montrachet La Cabotte when they acquired the holdings in Montrachet from Andre Bataille de Mandelot in 1838.
The early Bouchard ownership of Montrachet
Bernard Bouchard and Adolphe Bouchard bought 45 Ouvrees (1,92 ha) of Montrachet in 1838. The seller was Andre Bataille de Mandelot, son of Marie Louise Philiberte de Clermont-Montoison7.
As mentioned above the area acquired could however be larger than the 45 ouvrees if parts of La Cabotte was acquired at the same time.
Lavalle1 1855 is the first reference point for ownership after 1938. Lavalle mentioned the following owners on the Puligny side of Montrachet.
- Marquis de la Guiche
- de Courtivron
Surprisingly there is no mention of Bouchard. This could be an error, but since Bernard Bouchard (1784 – 1866) was married to Theodorine Morelot10 – the daughter of the famous Dr. Morelot – it seems likely that Lavalle could have registered the Bouchard plot under the Morelot name in 1855.
The reduction of the Bouchard holdings
In 1875 the Bouchard holdings was reduced when Lucie Cellard – the daughter of Anne-Marie Bouchard – married Ferdinand (Nicolas) Boillereault6. The couple apparently received a part of the Montrachet holdings – thus reducing the Bouchard ownership significantly.
Anne-Marie Bouchard (1820 – 1892) was the only child of Adolphe Bouchard (1795 – 1877), and she was married to Felix Cellard and they had four children, and the youngest Lucie Cellard was the one who apparently got the Montrachet plot.
The Boillereault de Chauvigny family still owns a 0,80 ha section (plots 121, 120, 119 and 118) – presumably this was originally one plot (65) but split between different parts of the Boillereault family.
It is uncelar if Lucie Cellard received more than 0.80 ha, as the current Ramonet plot also originates from the original Bouchard holdings. Either this plot comes from the Boillereault holdings or from the Bouchard holdings.
If the hypothesis about La Cabotte being the last 5 ouvrees of the 100 ouvrees is correct, then the Ramonet plot most likely comes from the Boillereault share.
The Bouchard holdings could then have been divided in almost two equal sized section … the Bouchard share included the current Bouchard Montrachet holdings and La Cabotte and the Boillereault share included the current Boillerault plots and the current Ramonet plot.
Ownership according to Rodier (1920)
Moving on to Rodier we have a more clear picture of the ownership structure, the following owners are mentioned on the Puligny side.
- Bouchard Pere et Fils
The mentioning of Lafon as an owner in 1920 could well be an error, and the three other owners are all current owners on Montrachet.
The plot 66 currently owned by Domaine Ramonet was acquired in 1978 from the Milan and Mathey families. Looking at Rodier neither Milan or Mathey-Blanchet is mentioned as owners in 1920, so most likely Boillereault owned this plot when Rodier made his book.
It is therefore likely that the Bouchard holdings only included the current 0.8894 ha when Rodier wrote his book in 1920.
Bouchard Pere et Fils Montrachet – The wine
The Montrachet from Bouchard Pere et Fils is currently one of the best and most refined Montrachets on the market. It’s pure, airy and refined with a effortless intensity. The minerality is filigree and finely grained, it’s floral and lightfooted without the rather dense expression found in some lesser Montrachets.
While the style is somewhat different, the expression of terroir resembles that of the magnificent Ramonet Montrachet from the neighburing plot – hardly surprising but nevertheless worth noticing.
It has the effortless refinement that a Montrachet should have in my view … it’s not a power wine … it’s regal and refined with it’s delicate racy minerality.
The Bouchard Montrachet is one of the wines from this fabled vineyard that one can actually find on the market, and sometimes even afford … a best buy for Montrachet – if one can talk about a best buy in this price range.
Work in progress
There a still some unclear areas in the historic ownership of the Puligny side of Montrachet. I will continue to explore this in future articles and updates .. so stay tuned.
References & Sources:
- Jules Lavalle, Histoire et Statistique de la Vignes et Des Grands Vins de la Côte d’Or (1855)
- Batault-Morot, E. Plan statistique des vignobles produisant les grands vins de Bourgogne. (1861)
- M.R. Danguy et M. Ch. Aubertin, Les Grands Vins de Bourgogne (1892)
- Camille Rodier, Le Vin de Bourgogne (1920)
- Jean-Francois Bazin, Le Montrachet (1990)
- Jasper Morris, Inside Burgundy: Cote de Beaune
- Bouchard history – Wiki
- Genealogy – Laguiche
- Genealogy – Clermont-Montoison
- Genealogy – Bouchard
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