“Here’s presence!” exclaims Hugh Johnson’s Wine Guide. Nowadays the vineyard is divided among numerous owners and for this reason no single description can be applied to the reds wines. There are, however, common features: very intense colour ranging from strawberry red to deep garnet; a suave bouquet, redolent of springtime of blown roses at dawn, of violets in the morning dew, of moist mignonette... Add to these blackberries, raspberry, wild mint, liquorice and truffle... On the palate, the taste is masterful, rich, succulent and mellow, combining elegance and delicacy with meaty fullness. A long finish in the mouth and long aging potential (anything from 10 to 30 years and sometimes even more).
While Bouchard Père et Fil’s history goes back to 1731 when Michel Bouchard, a cloth merchant, began selling wine, it wasn’t until 1775, that Michel’s son, Joseph, acquired Bouchard’s first vineyards by purchasing 7 hectares in Volnay.
During the French Revolution, property belonging to the clergy and nobility was confiscated and sold and Joseph’s son, Antoine Philibert extended the family’s vineyard holdings; particularly in Beaune where Bouchard still own some 46.59 ha of premier cru vineyards.
Bouchard Père et Fils was officially incorporated in 1811 and in 1820 Bernard Bouchard purchased the Château de Beaune, a 15th-century fortress that has been Bouchard’s headquarters ever since and where over 2,000 bottles from the 19th century are still housed.
Bouchard continued to purchase vineyards and while some great wines were made after the second world war, by the 1980s the company was a remnant of its former self and in 1995, Joseph Henriot from Champagne Henriot purchased Bouchard for a reported £32m (a bargain compared to its value today) adding Domaine William Fevre in Chablis to the portfolio in 1998.
Henriot immediately set about restoring its fortunes, building a gravity fed winery in 2005 and while Bouchard are both a domaine and a negociant, it’s worth noting that with 130 hectares of land including 12 hectares of grand cru vineyards and 75 hectares of premier cru, they are the largest vineyard owner in the Cote d’Or.
Henriot passed away in 2015 but under the watchful eye of Technical Director of Operations Philippe Prost and Frédéric Weber, Bouchard continue to make an incredible range of wines across various prices points, communes and levels.