The 2010 Bouchard Pere et Fils Tasting
This week I was fortunate to be invited to a 2010 vintage tasting of the wines of Bouchard Pere et Fils. Domaine Bouchard Pere et Fils states 2010 is “a very promising vintage.” The harvest started September 20th and finished October 1st. The grapes were small with very concentrated juice with yields ending up 15-20% lower than average for both red and white. The bottling dates were a little earlier than normal.
This is an annual event organized by Panos Kakaviatos with the help of Henriot who provided ten different wines. The tasting dinner was held at Lavandou who provided us with two long tables at the front of the restaurant where we could spread out. Present were Karl and Adelaide Keller, Howard and Nancy Cooper, Amy Ray, Darryl Priest, Ben Giliberti, Paul Marquardt, Tim O’Rourke, David Choi, Ken Brown, Kevin Shin, Maria Denton, Annette and Christian Schiller, and Panos Kakaviatos. There were ten different wines served all of which were finished bottles save for the barrel sample of Montrachet. There were two bottles of each wine so there was plenty of wine for each person to taste. Many of us brought our own glasses to taste from. In addition to the 2010 Bouchard wines provided by Henriot everyone contributed an extra bottle or two.
We started off with a bit of Champagne as people gathered, said hello, and took their seats. I particularly liked the 2006 J. L Vergnon, Resonance.
NV Veuve Fourney & Fils, Brut Nature, Blanc de Blancs, Premier Cru, Champagne
Imported by Simon N Cellars. This wine is 100% Chardonnay. Alcohol 12%. The light nose was dry with yeasty aromas and a touch of sweet biscuit. In the mouth there were green apple flavors to start with firm bubbles which coarsely dissipated. Then there was slightly sweeter fruit and a tart finish. ** Now.
2006 J. L. Vergnon, Resonance Grand Cru Brut, Champagne
Imported by Wegandt-Metzler. This wine is 100% Chardonnay vinified in stainless steel. Disgorged October 2011. Alcohol 12%. The light to medium strength nose was more interesting. There were finer bubbles in the mouth which had good strength before turning into a mousse. The very fine mousse mixed with acidity on the tip of the tongue. Nice aftertaste. A second bottle also showed well. *** Now.
The 2010 White Wines
The white wines were enjoyable with quality increasing from Village to Premier Cru to Grand Cru. With the Meursault Les Clous showing darker fruit the Beaune Clos Saint-Landry had a distinctive tropical note which set it apart. The Corton-Charlemagne was a strong step up with its lemon notes and balance for aging. This acted as a springboard for the Montrachet whose nose was immediately distinctive and attractive. At first the nose was more impressionable than in the mouth. But I was fortunate to find some remaining later in the tasting, there was only one bottle after all, and it had developed tremendously with air. It is amazing to think this is a barrel sample and not finished.
2010 Bouchard Pere & Fils, Meursault Les Clous, Village
Imported by Henriot. This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from soils of calcareous marls on a hard platform. It was aged for 8-10 months in up to 15% new oak. Alcohol 13.5%. There was a light nose of tighter, darker fruit. In the mouth there was similarly tight fruit with a creamy touch that was focused. There were some spices and a barrel note in the aftertaste. ** 2015-2019.
2010 Bouchard Pere & Fils, Beaune Clos Saint-Landry, Premier Cru
Imported by Henriot This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from soils of limestone and clay with marls. It was aged for 8-12 months in up to 15% new oak. Alcohol 13.5%. The light nose was a touch fruitier with more tropical aromas and some floral notes. In the mouth it was a bit structured with a hint of tropical fruit and young grip. There were apples and stones in the aftertaste. **(*) Now-2019.
2010 Bouchard Pere & Fils, Corton-Charlemagne, Grand Cru
Imported by Henriot. This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from predominantly limestone soils and clay. It was aged for 12-14 months in up to 20% new oak. Alcohol 14%. The light to medium strength nose tilted towards lemons. In the mouth the white fruit slowly expanded in the mouth with good acidity. This balanced wine has structure for aging. There were lemon notes and minerality as the wine warmed and breathed. ***(*) Now-2028.
2010 Bouchard Pere & Fils, Montrachet, Grand Cru
Imported by Henriot. Barrel Sample. This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from soils of gravelly limestone. It was aged for 12-14 months in up to 20% new oak. Alcohol 14%. The light to medium nose was aromatic and complex with flinty aromas and deep fruit. It opened up over the course of the glass. There was good depth in the mouth with spices and a broader, weighty nature. There finish was nice as well as the spiced aftertaste. Upon revisiting there was ripe lemons and spice in the beginning. An oily mouthfeel developed along with a fine, almost grainy texture. Clearly the best thus far, precise, focused, and determined. ****(*) Now-2033.
The 2010 Red Wines
The red wines were fun with the Beaune Teurons a good start. It was more forward and young, compared to the red-fruited Savigny-Les-Beaune which though tight, was more complete. The Volnay Cailleret was a great step forward and a wine I kept revisiting throughout the night. It was my favorite red along with the Beaune Greves Vigne de l’Enfant Jesus. The Volnay Cailleret shows more purple and black notes as if born of stone and able to weather age. The Beaune Graves Vigne de l’Enfant Jesus is more old-school in flavor with depth, lightness and perfume. Both were completely different and very attractive.
2010 Bouchard Pere & Fils, Beaune Teurons, Premier Cru
Imported by Henriot. This wine is 100% Pinot Noir made from estate and purchased fruit. It was aged 8-14 months in 20-40% new oak. Alcohol 13.5%. There was a light, good nose of finely delineated red and black fruit. In the mouth there was good, racy black cherry fruit. The flavors were simpler but worked with the juicy acidity and the blacker red racy vein. There were fine tannins which coated the tongue and lips. It has a young, attractive personality which was somewhat forward. **(*) 2016-2023.
2010 Bouchard Pere & Fils, Savigny-Les-Beaune, Village
Imported by Henriot. This wine is 100% Pinot Noir made from estate and purchased fruit. It was aged 8-14 months in 20-40% new oak. Alcohol 13%. There was a light, tight nose with slightly deeper, dark red cherry fruit. In the mouth there was brighter red fruit, leaning towards cran-raspberry. The acidity and fruit were integrated with a little Pinot note in the aftertaste. *** Now-2023?
2010 Bouchard Pere & Fils, Volnay Cailleret, Ancienne Cuvee Carnot, Premier Cru
Imported by Henriot. This wine is 100% Pinot Noir sourced from soils of thin limestone and clay on cracked rock. It was aged 10-18 months in 60-85% new oak. Alcohol 13.5%. The light nose bore the fine scent of red and purple fruit. In the mouth there was a bit of a creamy start as the wine rounded out with a black and red mineral vein. There was controlled ripeness to the flavors which became blacker with air. There was a powdery sweetness in the finish. Nice. Youthful. **** Now-2033.
2010 Bouchard Pere & Fils, Gevrey-Chambertin, Village
Imported by Henriot. This wine is 100% Pinot Noir made from estate and purchased fruit. It was aged 8-14 months in 20-40% new oak. Alcohol 13%. There was a very light and tight nose which was not that appealing, sort of blend of fruits and vegetables. In the mouth there was firm red fruit, athletic, and a core of ripe red fruit. There were fine, strong tannins which powered through the aftertaste. Upon revisiting a second bottle it showed a bit better but was still my least favorite of the reds. *(*) 2015-2019.
2010 Bouchard Pere & Fils, Vosne-Romanee, Village
Imported by Henriot. This wine is 100% Pinot Noir made from estate and purchased fruit. It was aged 8-14 months in 20-40% new oak. Alcohol 13%. The nose was very light with exotic berries. In the mouth there was tart red fruit, more cranberry flavors, then very fine tannins. This is very young and the tannins are quite strong. ** 2018-2028.
2010 Bouchard Pere & Fils, Beaune Greves Vigne de l’Enfant Jesus, Premier Cru
Imported by Henriot. This wine is 100% Pinot Noir sourced from soils of limestone and clay. It was aged 10-18 months in 60-85% new oak. Alcohol 13.5%. The very light nose bore fine, black and mulberry aromas. In the mouth there was old-school flavors of light, red fruit. It was finely articulated. The acidity, tannins, and fruit were all in balance as the flavors slowly expanded. There was a perfumed, lipstick finish with black, focused fruit. You can drink it now with extended air but best to cellar. **** Now-2033.
The appetizers started to arrive so we cleansed our palates somewhat before moving on to the other wines. Of these I thought the NV Jean Piere Bouchard, In Florescence well-done with a mixture of flavors and bubbles which persisted through the finish. The 2002 Domaine de Courcel, Pommard Grand Clos Des Epenots sported a refined, attractive nose but in the mouth it revealed it still needs to be cellared. I took a break during my entree to drink a little wine. I then resumed tasting the other wines and revisited some of the 2010 Bouchard wines. A pair of wines from Weingut Himmel appeared with the 1999 Weingut Himmel, Hochheimer Hoelle Riesling Spatlese drinking well. It was an appropriate finish before the two bottles of Chateau Climens.
NV Andre Clouet, Un Jour de 1911, Champagne
Imported by Village Wine Imports. Alcohol 12%. There was a light autumnal color. There was a light to medium strength nose of oxidative, baked apples. In the mouth there were aggressive bubbles, plenty of acidity then bubbles and flavor just disappear. The flavors were older in the mouth, in an oxidative style with a long aftertaste. A bit disjointed in nature but still had some appealing aspects. Flawed.
2002 Bouchard Pere & Fils, Meursault Genevrieres, Premier Cru
Imported by Cliquot. Alcohol 12%? There was a nutty very mature nose with a touch of ripeness. In the mouth the flavors were short. The acidity was still present. There was a gently ripe aftertaste. Drank best with food. ** Past.
NV Jean Pierre Bouchard, In Florescence Blanc de Noirs Brut, Champagne
Imported by Potomac Selections. This wine is 100% Pinot Noir sourced from lieu-dit Cote de Val Vilaine. Alcohol 12.5%. There was a fine nose with a mixture of yeast, apples, and sweet biscuit. In the mouth there were very fine bubbles, sweet biscuit flavors, and bubbles which lasted through the finish. Well done. *** Now-2018.
2002 Domaine de Courcel, Pommard Grand Clos Des Epenots, Premier Cru
Imported by Chateau & Estate. There was a fine perfumed nose which was attractive with finely wooded aromas. In the mouth there were fine flavors, structured wood box notes, and a sense of its age but more is required. Young. ***(*) 2018-2028.
1981 Bouchard Pere & Fils, Chevalier-Montracher, Grand Cru
Imported by Vintage Wine Company. Alcohol 13%. The color was a light amber. There was a creamy-like texture but the flavors were over the hill. Nutty with plenty of acidity. There was a structure of fine, ripe tannins. * Past.
1996 Weingut Himmel, Hochheimer Kirchenstuck Riesling Spatlese, Rheingau
Alcohol 8.5%. The color was a tawny amber which looked old. The very light nose was a bit nondescript. In the mouth the flavors were better and not as old. There was a little weight to the tooty fruity flavors in the middle, a little petrol, and some tartness. A bit of grip developed in the finish. ** Now-2018.
1999 Weingut Himmer, Hochheimer Hoelle Riesling Spatlese, Rheingau
This had a better color of light, golden straw. In the mouth there was racy fruit, good grip, a rather young personality, and good residual sugar which mixed with the acidity. ***(*) Now-2028.
The Dessert Wines
The last two wines were a treat. Not only was it my first time drinking Chateau Climens but I got to drink two different vintages. I wanted to bring a bottle of Sauternes to the tasting because I figured there would be a lot of Champagne and I am on a bit of a Sauternes kick. Many thanks to Phil for helping me select this bottle from 2004. I found the nose delightfully complex and really engaging in the mouth. It is one of those wines which I would be hard pressed to not drink it right now despite decades of life and development ahead. Lastly the 1975 Chateau Climens with 29 additional years of age was only slightly darker than the 2004. It was not as complex but had really good acidity and liveliness.
2004 Chateau Climens, Barsac, Premier Cru
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. This wine is 100% Semillon sourced from 20-year-old vines. It was vinified in 35-45% new oak then aged for 20-24 months. Alcohol 13.5%. The medium strength nose was very complex with Christmas spices and exotic aromas. In the mouth the Christmas spices continued with mouthfilling, rich flavors of vanilla, and apricot. This is a seductive wine with viscosity and good acidity. A real treat to drink right now. ****(*) Now-2043.
1975 Chateau Climens, Sauternes-Barsac, Premier Cru
Imported by Charles Lefranc Cellars. This wine is 100% Semillon which was fermented in casks then aged for two years in 25% new oak. Alcohol 12%. There was a light nose of petrol and wood box. In the mouth there was still up-front white fruit, apple flavors, and acidity. With air the fruit because a bit creamed. This was not as complex nor as long in the mouth. Nevertheless still a lovely drink. Quite elegant at almost forty years of age, still has levity, and should last for some time. **** Now-2035.