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Ric re-visits Bouchard Père et Fils: 2016 wines

November 20, 2017

Having barely recovered from the evening at the La Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin gala dinner, we arrived on time at Bouchard Père et Fils on the morning of 19 November 2017 to re-visit its wonderful cellars. Bouchard has the most extensive series of underground cellars in all of Burgundy, located 10 metres below ground and spanning 4 kilometres in total length, with walls that are 5-7 metres thick. In the old days, they were used by the military as its ammunition store before the Bouchard family took over the property in the early 19th century. The temperature here is always consistently between 13-15 °C with a humidity of 80%, ensuring that the corks do not shrink from dessication. It was good, once again, to see the special section holding the estate’s oldest bottles (1846 Meursault) that had been walled behind four false walls during the Second World War to prevent the Nazis from looting.



After the tour, we were joined by M. Luc Bouchard, who appeared amazingly fresh in spite of the previous night’s exertion, for an extensive tasting of the 2016 line-up, helmed by its Technical Director M. Philippe Prost, who exuded great knowledge and expertise about each individual wine: its terroir, individual characteristics and limitations. I have never attended such a precise and masterful discourse of such an extensive line-up within the space of an hour, M. Prost making it clear right from the outset that we’d have to keep pace. And indeed we did so. These days, there are still people who tend to view the wines of Bouchard with some condescension as a negociant producer when the fact is it is now largely a domaine with its own holdings in many regions. 2016 was a difficult growing season dominated by the problems of frost in the early part but the grapes were eventually picked under cool conditions.



Technical Director of Bouchard Pere et Fils, M. Philippe Prost.

At this tasting, I found the quality of the reds to be highly consistent, showing good color, ripeness, power and balance, perhaps even a couple of notches higher than the reds of 2012 which I tasted during my last visit here two years ago. The whites, expectedly from Bouchard, are truly outstanding, combining fruit, acidity and balance with utter precision, harmony and detail. Absolutely stunning. One understand why Bouchard always opens its tastings with reds before the whites. I’ll have to load up on these when the offer comes around next year.


Bouchard Père et Fils used to make La Romanée Grand Cru before it became a monopole of Comte Liger-Belair from 2002

2016 Bouchard Père et Fils Monthelie. Darker tint. Shy but there’s plenty of cool raspberries and dark cherries on the palate with some attractive earthiness, showing good levels of ripeness, acidity and concentration.

2016 Bouchard Père et Fils Beaune du Chateau 1er. Blend of 17 premier cru. Good colour. Cool fruit with notes of dark cherries, forest floor and light ember, showing gentle acidity and good integration, finishing with mild sweet tannins and fine acidity.

2016 Bouchard Père et Fils Beaune Clos de La Mousse 1er. Dark tint. Medium-bodied. Raspberries and dark wild berries dominate with a mild vegetal tinge, showing good acidity but unremarkable.


2016 Bouchard Père et Fils Beaune Greves Vigne de L’enfant Jesus 1er. Good colour. Lovely floral fragrance of red fruits and dark roses. Fleshy, open with good detail, showing gentle sweet subdued tannins, fine acidity and understated minerals with good balance. Gentle dryish finish. Very fine.

2016 Bouchard Père et Fils Volnay Les Caillerets 1er. Significantly darker hue and tone. Generous in dark cherries and licorice. Dry with good levels of ripeness and acidity supported by an understated ferrous base. Good overall delicacy.

2016 Bouchard Père et Fils Le Corton Grand Cru. Appropriately dark with abundant red fruits and currants. Fleshy with excellent acidity and silky tannins, showing good sophistication and great balance. From soils with less clay and more of limestone, explaining for its good overall delicacy and feminine poise in spite of its proportions. Very fine.

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2016 Bouchard Père et Fils Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Cailles 1er. Raspberries, dark cherries, dry ash and mushrooms replicate the classic Nuits-Saint-Georges character, deft with good acidity and freshness.

2016 Bouchard Père et Fils Échezeaux Grand Cru. Good fragrance recalling dark roses, ripe raspberries and wild berries. Rather full, showing great acidity, definition and linearity though not opulent, finishing with a vegetal trace.

2016 Bouchard Père et Fils Chambertin-Clos de Bèze Grand Cru. Excellent colour. Excellent depth of red fruits and dark berries. Robust with very good levels of ripeness. Highly supple and fleshy, showing a deeper vein of rich dark cherries. Open with fine detail, structured with subtle tannins amidst fine understated acidity. Great potential here. Highly successful.

2016 Bouchard Père et Fils Bourgogne chardonnay. Highly aromatic with srong grassy elements, lemongrass and malt. Delicates tones of creme with a dash of raw nutmeg on the gentle palate, finishing with great acidity and a touch of sweetness. Good complexity. I’m happy to drink this anytime.

2016 Bouchard Père et Fils Meursault Les Clous. Perfumed with lifted aromas of white flowers and clear citrus. Has a minerally feel, slightly crisp in its fresh delicate minerals.

2016 Bouchard Père et Fils Beaune Clos Saint-Landry 1er. Good aromas. Chalky tone with green fruits, understated acidity and minerals. Great tone, rounded and smooth. Finishing well.

2016 Bouchard Père et Fils Meursault Genevières 1er. Lifted with delicate notes of nutmeg, clear citrus and earthy minerals. Rounded, showing excellent presence, detail and linearity with superb mouthfeel.

20171119_115435.jpg2016 Bouchard Père et Fils Meursault Perrières 1er. Deep complex bouquet of white flowers. Rather full. Gentle on the palate with great acidity, depth and minerality with superb definition and integration. Finishing with great length amidst traces of sweet. Excellent.

2016 Bouchard Père et Fils Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru. Cool ripe fruit. Open with great delicacy of lovely clear citrus, showing excellent presence, acidity and integration. Very fresh, finishing with exotic spices amidst mild lovely intensity on the back palate. Superb.

2016 Bouchard Père et Fils Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru. Great delicacy with complex crème de la crème, some nutmeg and chalkiness with complex early minerals. Great acidity. Very well integrated but tight. Not showing too much now but it’s richness, sophistication and potential is unmistakable. Excellent.

2017-11-19 14.04.222016 Bouchard Père et Fils Montrachet Grand Cru. Lovely tones of crème de la crème and chalk with gentle deep aromas of white flowers and morning dew. Deeply aromatic with lovely delicacy, almost ethereal, already showing some very early complexity. Full, sophisticated and elegant. So much promise here.

That wasn’t the end. With the tasting efficiently concluded within an hour, we were ushered to the domaine’s pavilion for an utterly decadent lunch:

Champagne Henriot Blanc de Blancs NV, over lunch at Bouchard Père et Fils, 19 Nov 2017. Poured from magnum. Open and expansive with a deep crystalline tone, lifted in characters of crème and complex minerals, vibrant and refreshing. Very fine.

2012 Bouchard Père et Fils Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru, over lunch at Bouchard Père et Fils, 19 Nov 2017. Lovely hue, rich in crème de la crème with fabulous intensity matched by powerful spicy tones at the sides, displaying good linearity with some early complexity but still primal, tapering to a lengthy lasting finish. Excellent now, potentially outstanding in time to come.

2009 Bouchard Père et Fils Beaune Les Teurons 1er, over lunch at Bouchard Père et Fils, 19 Nov 2017. Delicious aromas of ripe dark berries and camphor, rich with fine acidity and fullness, very well-balanced and integrated. Excellent. I have a newfound respect for the Cote de Beaune reds.

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2000 Bouchard Père et Fils Le Corton Grand Cru, over lunch at Bouchard Père et Fils, 19 Nov 2017. An abundance of dark fruits here, showing good levels of ripeness with tangy cedary tones, rounded with good acidity without the usual burliness that Corton may sometimes impart in lesser hands.

What a way to start a Sunday!! I can’t thank M. Luc Bouchard enough for his generosity in taking such great care of us…last night at the La Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin dinner, this entire morning at the domaine, and later this afternoon when we adjourn to the town hall for the annual Hospice de Beaune auction, where again Luc will be bidding on our behalf for a barrel. Merci beaucoup!!


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