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2012 Beaune Grèves, Vigne de L'Enfant Jésus, 1er Cru, Bouchard
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The Burgundian wine domaine of Bouchard Pére et Fils can trace its origins back to 1731 though it is no longer family owned. In 1995 the Champagne house, Joseph Henriot, acquired the company and quality has risen as a consequence.
Today Bouchard is led by Stéphane Follin Arbelet while the wines are made by Philippe Prost who has been with the company since 1978. An impressive gravity-flow winery on the Route de Savigny, the Cuvérie St Vincent, was completed in 2005, enabling them, to process all their wines with optimum efficiency.
Bouchard’s total holdings comprise 130 hectares, including 12ha of grand crus and 74ha of premier crus, which makes them the largest vineyard owners in the Côte d’Or (Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune).
Bouchard have good holdings in the village of Monthélie, which lies just beyond Volnay and looks down over Meursault. The village is best known for its red wines, a little firmer in structure than Volnay and of particular interest in perfect summers when the grapes can ripen fully.
Pinot Noir is probably the most frustrating, and at times infuriating, wine grape in the world. However when it is successful, it can produce some of the most sublime wines known to man. This thin-skinned grape which grows in small, tight bunches performs well on well-drained, deepish limestone based subsoils as are found on Burgundy's Côte d'Or.
Pinot Noir is more susceptible than other varieties to over cropping - concentration and varietal character disappear rapidly if yields are excessive and yields as little as 25hl/ha are the norm for some climats of the Côte d`Or.
Because of the thinness of the skins, Pinot Noir wines are lighter in colour, body and tannins. However the best wines have grip, complexity and an intensity of fruit seldom found in wine from other grapes. Young Pinot Noir can smell almost sweet, redolent with freshly crushed raspberries, cherries and redcurrants. When mature, the best wines develop a sensuous, silky mouth feel with the fruit flavours deepening and gamey "sous-bois" nuances emerging.
The best examples are still found in Burgundy, although Pinot Noir`s key role in Champagne should not be forgotten. It is grown throughout the world with notable success in the Carneros and Russian River Valley districts of California, and the Martinborough and Central Otago regions of New Zealand.
The wines of Beaune are usually on the lighter side, especially if from the flatter vineyards on the Pommard side, or the sandier soils towards Savigny. The sturdiest wines with the greatest depth of flavour come from the steeper slopes overlooking the town itself.The Hospices de Beaune charity auction on the third Sunday in November is one of the highlights of the year. The Hospices building, known as l'Hôtel-Dieu, is well worth visiting. Beaune is also home to several of the region’s best known merchants such as Maisons Louis Jadot and Joseph Drouhin.
- 128 hectares of village Beaune and 52 hectares of Côte de Beaune
- 322 hectares of Premier Cru vineyards. The finest vineyards include Les Grèves, Clos des Mouches
- Recommended producers: Germain, Devevey, Domaine des Croix, Jadot, Drouhin, Camille Giroud.
- Recommended restaurants: Ma Cuisine (not least for the wine list), Le Conty