Led by Luc Bouchard and co hosted by the Ultimo Wine Centre, this masterclass focused on a horizontal of the 2007 vintage Burgundies from Bouchard Pere et Fils.
In the words of Luc himself, the 2007 vintage was late and long, with a cool and rainy summer resulting in uneven ripeness, particularly in the Pinot Noir, but also producing grapes with exceptional levels of natural acidity. In view of this, the general conclusion is that 2007 will be a vintage for the cellar and, more importantly, a vintage where white wines excelled.
Bouchard is probably best known for its whites, and given the conditions of the 07 vintage, it was definitely the whites that were the stars in this tasting. What was most impressive though was the performance of several of the Premier Cru wines, and if I was going to buy anything it would be the relatively good value 1ers. My scores are all on the low side just because they are were almost all abrasively acidic and young.
Oh and the new labels are rubbish.
The whites:Bouchard Bourgogne La Vignee Chardonnay 2007 ($34.95)
Stainless steel ferment
Lightly creamy and simple babyfat creaminess mixed with nectarine ripe fruit. Clean, very light, if hollow palate. Simply fare, average value. 15.5/20
Bouchard Mersault ‘Les Clous’ 2007 ($89.95)
15% new oak, 85% 2 year old barrels ‘chalky soil’
Bloody expensive for a village wine, but this is serious stuff. Correct nose with Aramis aftershave and musk, all firmly wrapped in chalky acidity. Very backward palate with some surprising oak tannin in there too. This really needs years, as its hard going at present (hence the low score). Should be beautiful in time. 16.5+Bouchard Mersault ‘Le Porusot’ 1er 2007 ($161.95)
The weakest of the 1ers, this had a much more obvious vanillan sawdusty oak nose. Almost new world in its ripe, round palate. Really needs a bit more punch through the finish for higher points. Oaky. 16.5Bouchard Mersault ‘Charmes’ 1er 2007 ($161.95)
Charming by name, charming by nature. Back to a much more classic Burgundy nose, with lovely hints of whipped butter in there. Fragrant & spicy. Long serious palate with layers of flavour. Proper Mersault this one and very serious. Score is only lowish as its so very young and tight. Will be a brilliant wine in time. 17.7+Bouchard Mersault ‘Les Gouttes D’or’ 1er 2007 ($161.95)
A more honeyed (and golden nose) leading to a really quite full and big palate. So much riper and fuller than those around it, with noticeable alcohol. Super smooth though, if just a bit dull. 17.4+
If I had the dollars, I would be buying magnums of these next two ($314.95 each) for the cellar without hesitation.
Bouchard Mersault ‘Genevrieres’ 1er 2007 ($161.95)
The spiciest and most powerful wine so far in the lineup. Obvious new oak on the nose. A big, chewy, beautifully formed palate with oaky power and tannins! A wow wine, even if its a big and almost brutish white at present. Delicious stuff for the cellar. 18++Bouchard Mersault ‘Perrieres’ 1er 2007 ($161.95)
Great companion piece to the Genevrieres, this was just behind it on the day, but I think the quality is on a very similar level. Really tight & backwards nose. Closed and compressed. Very precise acid driven palate. Long, clean and gloriously acidic. Stayer. 18++
Bouchard Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru 2007 ($282.95)
28% new oak. Record long fermentation
Looks almost green in colour when poured next to the Chevalier. Tastes almost like a blanc de blanc Champagne in its chalky Chardonnay richness. Long & very spicy palate is simmering below the surface. Needs so many years. Huge dry white. 18.2++
Bouchard Chevalier Montrachet Grand Cru 2007 ($471.95)
Vineyard has 1m of soil, otherwise just big chalk rocks
Pear & apple with a bit of grapefruit. Picture perfect Chardonnay. Really complete and powerful palate. Creamed green apple & grapefruit flavours, with oak swallowed perfectly. Classic stuff. Blindingly clear and powerful. Top wine. 18.6+
Bouchard Bourgogne La Vignee Pinot Noir 2007 ($34.95)
I like my tasting note monologue here:
‘Dud bottle. Sulphur and mercaptan. Maybe its just me. No, its not me, this is undrinkable. Dud bottle.’
Interestingly no one else complained (maybe it was just me)
Bouchard Monthelie ‘Les Champs Fuilliot’ 2007 ($71.95)
Smoky, licoricey and full nose, even if its a bit angular and brackish. Robust palate that is just a bit hard and dense for real enjoyment. Should sort itself out with time but all over the place at present. 16.5+
Bouchard Volnay ‘ Caillerets’ Ancienne Cuvee Carnot 1er 2007 ($164.95)
80% new oak, picked first
Old school. Mushrooms and kidneys on the nose. Yes, kidneys. Gamey. Gameyness actually serves to obscure the palate. Nay. 15.8
Bouchard Beaune-Greves ‘Vigne L’enfant Jesus’ 1er 2007 ($204.95)
85% new oak
The Bouchard Burgundy icon, this is probably not a top vintage for this wine, but you can’t argue with the style. Very pretty & open, with a nose that is quite Central Otago like in its fleshy red fruit, but definitely mintier this year. Good stuff, but will be better with some medium term bottle age. 17.4+
Bouchard Le Corton Grand Cru 2007 ($179.95)
Twiggy nose, dense and full, hardish and sinewy palate that’s full but more dry red than Pinot. Inelegant but should get better with time. 17.1+
Bouchard Nuits St Georges ‘Les Cailles’ 2007 ($194.95)
Really licoricey, a bit rustic & verry tannic. Hearty. Just a bit metallic on the palate. 17+
Bouchard Chambertin Clos de Beze Grand Cru 2007 ($509.95)
Obvious step up in quality. Roasted beef & slightly minty nose, but obvious quality. Very firm core with quite hard acids. Really firm & unforgiving palate, though time should sort it out. 17.7+