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Executive editor Thomas Matthews joined Wine Spectator in 1988. His tasting beat is Spain.
Thomas Matthews

A Holiday Burgundy

Bouchard Père et Fils Beaune Premier Cru du Château 2004

Thomas Matthews
Posted: November 30, 2011

Among wine lovers, there’s a lively conversation before and after Thanksgiving about the wines uncorked for the feast. Many different strategies apply, which is the way it should be, as we give thanks for our many blessings and celebrate the diversity of our nation’s culture.

At my house, we design the meal around the wines. We have long ago dropped most “traditional” side dishes, those involving marshmallows, maple syrup, candied this or that. Instead, we focus on savory and earthy flavors that marry well with Burgundy, red and white, since my mother-in-law, Nancy, loves those wines and she cooks most of the meal.

This year, we had six people around the table, and uncorked six-and-a-half bottles of wine. Except for the Roederer Champagne to start and the luscious Weinbach Pinot Gris SGN to finish, all of them were Burgundies. The last wine of the flight was a 2004 red Beaune from Bouchard Père et Fils.

Now, 2004 was not a great vintage for red Burgundy, and those from Beaune, even the premiers crus, are not generally the most impressive from the Côte d’Or. This one was no blockbuster; it was light-bodied, with mature character of dried red fruits, cedar and spices, and gentle tannins. But that elegance and evolution were its strengths, and even in its delicacy it testified to the glories of Burgundian Pinot Noir. I rated it 89 points, non-blind, and we emptied the bottle as we finished our second helpings.

WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Bouchard Père et Fils Beaune Premier Cru du Château 2004 (86 points, $34).

• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated red Burgundies.

Homer Cox
Warrenton, VA —  November 30, 2011 5:09pm ET
A bottle per person- sounds like you had a good time.
William Matarese
Florida, USA —  January 30, 2012 1:53pm ET
The two wines I brought as a guest to Thanksgiving dinner this year were a 2002 Champy Beaune Champs Pimont 1er Cru and a 2009 Palacios Petalos Bierzo.

Most (if not all) of the guests were not used to pairing pinot noir with Turkey and were very pleasantly surprised. Needless to say, that bottle was emptied quickly.

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