Bouchard Père et Fils produce this 1er Cru on an exceptional vineyard, named upon the birth of Louis XIV. It was acquired by the house in 1791. Pure Pinot Noir, the vines grow from limestone and clay. The fruit is handpicked and sorted, with both partial and total destemming depending on the nuances of the vintage. Indeed, production is tailored to best express terroir vintage to vintage, with anywhere from 20-60% of new oak being used in maturation, for 8-13 months.
Bouchard Père et Fils as a Beaune-based producer, initially established in 1731. The Domaine is in possession of 130ha of Burgundy vineyards, with 12ha sitting under the Grand Cru classification, and 74ha considered Premier Cru.
There must have been some divine intervention on the 2016 Beaune 1er Cru Les Grèves Vignes de l'Enfant Jesus because it was less affected by frost than surrounding vineyards. It has a really quite beautiful, very pure bouquet with abundant blackberry, raspberry and crushed strawberry scents laced with crushed violets and rose petals. The palate is medium-bodied with silky smooth tannin, still a little oak to be subsumed but there is superb substance on the sumptuous finish. I bet this is one of the best quality-to-price ratio wines in 2016.
(91 - 93) points, Neal Martin (December 2017)
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.