2012 Bouchard Père et Fils Bourgogne Pinot Noir, Burgundy, France – LCBO $19.95
Now I’m not saying that there was anything terribly wrong with the Bouchard Père et Fils “La Vignee” Pinot Noir that this bottling is replacing, but the fact is that this new incarnation blows that previous wine out of the water. Upon tasting the new 2012 Bourgogne Pinot Noir I was pleasantly surprised to see that Bouchard have created an entry level Burgundian red that puts to shame many a wine from the same region at twice the price.
Being a Negociant, Bouchard Père et Fils source both young finished wines and unfermented fresh grape juice in order to create their regional and village wines. In the case of this particular wine Pinot Noir grapes are sourced from the communes of the Côtes de Beaune (Beaune, Chorey-Lès-Beaune, Savigny, Santenay, and Maranges), and I feel that Bouchard’s must and wine sourcing is key to this tremendous step up in quality. On the vinification side the only significant change is the slightly extended time in barrel from six to nine months, and then that is only for 20% of the finished wine, the rest seeing only stainless steel.
Despite a slow start to the vintage that had Burgundian Winemakers shaking their heads in dismay, come August the weather was dry, sunny, and in many cases quite hot. This led to many very fine wines being produced that year, and so this basic Pinot Noir is testament not only to this house’s Negociant smarts, but the blessings of the powers that be. The result is a bottle that not only exhibits the soft red fruits (strawberry, raspberry, and cherry) that one would expect in such a wine, but shows a distinctive and intriguing peppery complexity that sits deliciously well with the benchmark fruit… think cracked black pepper on fresh super ripe strawberries. The palate is a delight with medium tannins and good acidic punch that, as is often the case with this style of wine, benefits from 10 – 15 minutes in the fridge before serving.
This is a mighty fine introduction to the glory that can be Pinot Noir in Burgundy, and I feel it would it would be wise for other producers to take a leaf out of Bouchard’s book and ramp up the quality at this price-point. Good job!
Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And that’s terrific bottle of Burgundy for the money.