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Graceful, lacy Burgundy which at first appears crushingly delicate yet its great length of flavour demonstrates its persistence and resilience.
Product Code: BU49381
View all products by Bouchard Père et Fils
With some 130 hectares, Bouchard Père is the largest owner of vineyards in the Côte d'Or. Its old cellars in Beaune date from the 15th century, where the impressive subterranean labyrinth - some of the walls are as thick as seven metres - extend for four kilometres. It was established in 1731 when Michel Bouchard bought some vineyards in Volnay. The house of Bouchard was acquired by the Champagne house Joseph Henriot in 1995, and substantial investment in new state of the art cellars have helped propel Bouchard Père into the top rank of wine producers in Burgundy. Winemaking is in the capable hands of Philippe Prost.
The Côte de Beaune runs from Ladoix-Serrigny in the north to Cheilly lè Maranges in the south, on the southern escarpment of the Côte d’Or. Beaune is the town at its heart. The most famous wines of the area are white, but many excellent reds are produced. The soils of the area are predominantly mixtures of clay and limestone of various types, which is excellent for drainage but also retention of water. The hillsides here, split and riven by streams and side-valleys, provide a number of meso- and microclimates as well as various aspects ranging from east-facing to south and south-west facing. The best sites are neither at the top or the bottom of these slopes where the soils are too impoverished or too fertile respectively. More generic wines are produced at the top and bottom of these slopes, with the Premiers Crus and Grand Crus in a band running along the upper middle. Soils with more limestone suit chardonnay more than pinot, hence the number of famous white burgundies produced here.The climate here is semi-continental, though northerly winds can temper a hot summer while warmer winds from the south can bring warmth. Westerly winds that ultimately originate in the Atlantic can bring rain but at its worst may deliver devastating hail in incredibly localised storms. There is a degree of unpredictability about vintages in Burgundy.Pinot noir and chardonnay are the two permitted grapes of any significance, though Aligoté is grown occasionally for crisp, mouth-watering whites that are often used to make kir, and some generic Bourgogne or Crémant can be made with pinot blanc, pinot gris and beurrot can be made. The appellations to be found in the Côte de Beaune are as follows: Ladoix, Pernand-Vergelesses, Aloxe-Corton , Corton, Corton-Charlemagne, Chorey-lès-Beaune, Savigny-lès Beaune, Beaune, Pommard, Volnay, Monthélie, Auxey-Duresses, Saint-Romain, Meursault, Saint-Aubin, Puligny-Montrachet, Chassagne-Montrachet, Santenay and Maranges Côte de Beaune-Villages and Bourgogne-Hautes Côtes de Beaune are also made. The former is solely for red wines and the latter includes some whites as well. Both are mostly from vineyards on the top of the escarpment and some represent good value for early drinking Burgundy.Côte de Beaune wines are generally lighter than those from the Côte de Nuits. Beaunes are soft and round, Volnays fine and silky. Pommards are the exception: due to more clay in the soil, they can be notably tannic and in need of considerable bottle age. The greatest of all white Burgundies, Le Montrachet, is made here between Chassagne and Puligny.
There are superb wines in both colours in this truly excellent vintage. Circumstances led to low yields of healthy, ripe grapes and the wines are seductive as a result. It is rare to find so many reds with such ripe, gentle, sweet and frictionless tannins. Furthermore, the pinot grapes were harvested at modest alcohols of 12-12.5% and usually chaptalized to 12.5-13%. They retain an exquisite pinot perfume and taste of their origins. Almost everything is superb.Regarding red wines, even in crus and communes that can sometimes produce wines with firm tannins, such as Volnay Clos de Chênes, Pommard, Aloxe and Nuits-Saint-Georges, are ripe and sweet tasting in 2010. It is certainly unusual to have tasted so many delicious Nuits-Saint-Georges. However, modest Bourgognes and crus like Saint-Aubin are also excellent and should give much pleasure over a potentially long lifetime due to the quality of their tannins.The white wines show a rare concentration and structure that is unusual in chardonnay. This structure underlies intense, beautiful aromas from austere and mineral to ripe and peachy depending on terroir. They possess a dense, rich mid palate and a long, fresh finish wrapped in a delicious ripeness. The grapes were harvested with thick skins, little juice and an excellent balance of sugar and acidity – all the elements required to make lovely wine. As with the reds there is much potential for cellaring.The factors that led to the low yields, which in turn led to the wonderful quality of the vintage, are threefold. Firstly there was the ‘Great Freeze’ of 21st December, 2009, which killed some vines but also destroyed the embryonic buds in the survivors and led to the vine reverting to secondary buds that have lower fertility. The second factor was poor weather at flowering, which decides the quantity of fruit set. Coulure (when fruit sets but then falls off) and millerandage (when berries grow to a third or less of their normal size and develop fewer pips) were common, particularly millerandage which affected pinot noir in particular. Finally, changeable weather throughout the season, while not usually ideal, meant that the grapes retained a lovely aromatic quality that has survived into the bottle.At harvest time the grapes were phenolically mature and full of flavour, with those aromas intact and normal levels of alcohol. The low yields contributed to this as a normal crop would not have ripened as well.
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