[Note: Bruce Sanderson continues to report from Burgundy, where he is visiting domaines and tasting barrel samples from the 2006 harvest.]
My last appointment Monday was at Bouchard Père & Fils, where winemaker Philippe Prost and managing director Stéphane Follin-Arbelet showed me a range of 27 reds and 14 whites. The vinifications have been made at the new winery since the 2005 vintage. As a result, the wines have even greater purity and detail and the 2006s show what can be done if the work in the vineyards is careful and attentive.
According to Prost, the emergency in 2006 was to pick the Chardonnay in a three-day window, while waiting for the Pinot Noir.
“The big problem with Pinot Noir was the heterogeneity during the flowering, so sometimes 25 percent [of a vineyard] had to be picked one day and 75 percent later,” Prost says.
In the end, Bouchard experienced only 5 percent rot in the domaine vineyards, which was eliminated by two selections, one in the vineyard and one on the sorting table at the winery.
Prost characterizes the 2006 vintage as a ‘cold vintage’ because the grapes were harvested under cold conditions.
More importantly, he says, “Many wines are showing well and can be drunk in the next 3 to 5 years.” The premiers crus from the Côte de Beaune he recommends enjoying over the next 4 to 9 years, while the Côte de Nuits and grands crus will show well over the next 10 to 12 years.
The wines listed below were final blends drawn from tank, assembled for the bottling.
I was very impressed with the Volnay Taillepieds, which is a different selection from the vineyards in 2006. The result is intense, concentrated, yet elegant and silky, with persistent cherry, blackberry and floral notes (90-93). The Volnay Caillerets Ancienne Cuvée Carnot shows violet and black fruit flavors, yet is more stern, a different expression of Volnay (91-94).
One of the domaine’s flagship wines is its Beaune Grève Vigne de l’Enfant Jésus. It features rich cherry and black currant notes, with concentration, but also a lacy texture; very fine, tense and long (90-93). Le Corton is a big, rich, powerful red, slightly animal and very cool, building on the palate to a sweet, long finish (91-94).
Moving to the Côte de Nuits, there is a terrific black currant-laced Vosne-Romanée Aux Malconsorts, rich with black fruits, a touch of licorice and mineral salt finish (90-93). Bouchard’s Clos Vougeot comes from two parcels, one at the top of the slope and one near the bottom. It’s very fresh, showing red and black fruit, licorice flavors, with chewy tannins. Overall, it’s a muscular red, with balance and energy (90-93).
I love the aromas of the Bonnes Mares, black cherry and licorice, and there’s a salty element on the palate. It has depth and complexity, with dense tannins (91-94). The Chambertin-Clos de Bèze reveals more elegance than the Bonnes Mares. A lovely nose of fruitcake, nut, cherry, flowers and spice exhibit the complexity of this red and it remains fresh and resonant through the long finish (91-94).
Prost noted that for the first time since 1989, Bouchard picked the Chardonnay before the Pinot Noir. The flowering was more homogenous and the harvest for the whites occurred in three days. “There were very ripe grapes, perfectly healthy grapes,” added Follin-Arbelet.
I have always liked Bouchard’s Meursault Genevrières, from the domaine holdings. The 2006 is ripe and honeyed, with herb and lime blossom flavors and a creamy texture. It builds on the palate to a long finish (90-93). The Meursault Perrières is also an estate wine. It reveals the rocky terroir with an intense, tight profile, very stony and unevolved (91-94).
Citronella, lime blossom, dried apricot and passion fruit flavors weave through the creamy Chevalier-Montrachet. It’s still tight and complex, with a lingering finish (93-96). The Montrachet is grander, with an attack like a broadsword, yet focused, with layer after layer of honey lime, citronella and mineral notes. Very long and mouthcoating (95-98).
During dinner, my hosts poured a Volnay Caillerets Ancienne Cuvée Carnot 1962. Still fresh in color, it offers aromas of caramel, leather, spice and sweet plum compote. In the mouth the fruit is sweet, rich and supported by firm tannins. A balanced, lovely wine.
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