There are very few Burgundy Houses that, like that of Bouchard Père & Fils, founded in Beaune by Michel Bouchard in 1731, can boast almost 300 years of history. To get to the first vineyards owned, however, it will have to wait until 1775, when Joseph Bouchard bought some plots in the famous 1er Cru of Volnay “Caillerets”, also giving way, at the same time, to the construction of the family estate. Joseph was followed by his son Antoine Philibert Joseph Bouchard who, in 1791, bought from the government some expropriated plots, because of the French Revolution, to the clergy and nobility. Since then, an acquisition process has begun that has continued both in the 19th century and in the 20th century and that has led this House to own an enviable heritage of 130 hectares of vineyards between Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits.
Today the land owned, which extends along 48 kilometers from north to south, are divided into over 450 different parcels managed by multiple teams, each assigned to a specific sector. In all the vineyards of the House are practiced forms of certified sustainable viticulture, with the intention of providing grapes as healthy as possible that, in the harvest period, are collected in small crates and sent to the cellar, where they face a careful selection on the sorting tables. The masses are vinified in the new cellar (finished in 2005) of Savigny-lès-Beaune, passing from one phase to another exclusively by means of the gravity force, and then refine in the cellar placed 10 meters below the ground level, in one of the 4000 barrels of different capacities.
Although it is not the most prestigious wine produced, Beaune Grèves Vigne de l’Enfant Jesus has always enjoyed a particular appreciation by a large group of wine lovers. The wine takes its name from the homonymous Clos of 3.2 hectares, purchased in 1791 and part of those confiscated goods of which I spoke earlier. It seems that the name of the vineyard is linked to the fact that Marguerite du Saint Sacrement, founder of the Carmelites of the “Domestiques de la famille du Saint Enfant Jésus”, had predicted, around 1635, to the wife of Louis XIII, the sterile Anne of Austria, the birth of the future “Sun King” Louis XIV. After this miraculous birth, the vineyard, which belonged to the Carmelites, took, in 1639, the name with which it is currently known and, consequently, also took it the wine that was obtained from.
Today this Pinot Noir, after a careful manual harvest, in boxes of 13 kilos, undergoes a total or partial destemming (depending on the vintage), is then pressed gently, and fermented in small vats with the help of only indigenous yeasts. After a 15-20 days maceration, the wine is left to age for a little more than a year in small oak barrels (30 to 50% new) and, therefore, is ready for sale.
The 2006 vintage has a ruby color of good intensity with an olfactory range that starts with notes of creams de cassis, cooked plum, pot pourri and dehydrated geranium, followed by orange peel, orange blossom, black pepper and vinyl, with final echoes of leather, graphite and haematic-ferrous. The mouthfeel strikes for its evident materiality which, however, is contained with extreme elegance by a fresh vein, almost citrine, and by wonderfully chiselled tannins; all while red fruit, spice and the naematic-ferrous component return by retro-olfactory, with the latter persisting even after juicy length closure.
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