The why, the what and the how of...
Domaine Bouchard Père et Fils
Over time, through the careful and considered acquisition of various vineyards, Bouchard Père & Fils has built up the biggest domaine in the Côte d’Or.
Today the estate boasts 130 hectares of vines, of which 12 are grands crus and 74 are premiers crus. In 1995, the domaine was purchased by Joseph Henriot who owns Champagne Henriot. Although no longer Bouchard family owned, its history runs all the way back to 1731 and thanks to the Henriot purchase, has been restored to its former glory.
Bouchard Père & Fils is an example of unique Burgundy heritage, offering great diversity and a series of prestigious appellations. Grands crus include, among others, Montrachet, Corton-Charlemagne and Bonnes-Mares and premiers crus like Beaune Greves “Vignes de l’Enfant Jésus” and Meursault Perrières. These are names that resonate with history, inspiring respect and encouraging the pursuit of excellence.
Bouchard’s range of wine, produced from their own vines, is very impressive indeed. A further range is made from grapes bought in, a practice that has been in place since the estate first became a négociant in the early 18th century.
The cellar master is Frédéric Weber. After the injection of capital that came with the Henriot purchase, the domaine underwent a considerable refurbishment to modernise the cellar. A brand new winery was constructed in 2005 to make use of gravity-flow, the amount of new oak on the wines has been increased and smaller fermentation tanks have been put in place.
These smaller tanks may sound counter-intuitive, but they allow Weber to vinify his grapes at their optimum ripeness. Previously, use was made of 200 hectolitre tanks, which meant large harvests were needed in order to fill it and grapes were picked before achieving proper levels of ripeness. Given the large variations and locations of their parcels, these smaller vinifications allow for the true character of the different terroirs to shine through.
Bouchard Père et Fils, although a large domaine, is producing some of the finest wines in the Côte d’Or from some of the most coveted vineyards in Burgundy. In 2009, Bouchard assisted us in purchasing a barrel of wine at the Hospices de Beaune auction. What an experience it was, and the barrel of Volnay we walked away with was pretty tasty.