The tasting started on a high note and ended with a veritable operatic flourish! It was Day One in Burgundy and Bouzereau our fifth stop, but in Burgundy there is no ‘too much of a good thing’. The Bourgogne Blanc 2011 was quickly poured and we were off the races. This is a wine I could honestly drink all day long (if I weren’t concerned about rotting my liver!). Bottled just one month prior, it was rich, appley and nutty with a looong finish. The vines used for this wine grow in Meursault in vineyards just outside the appellation itself and are given the same loving affection and attention as their more lofty siblings. This is a wine of incredible value and allows each of us to enjoy the pleasures of Burgundy at the an everyday drinking price.
Michel Bouzereau is a big man on the Burgundy campus, he comes from a large winemaking family and once held the esteemed position of President of the Burgundy Growers Union. He is a traditionalist, and it’s important that his wines, made from 11ha of vineyard (mainly in Meursault and Puligny-Montrachet with small holdings in Volnay and Pommard) showcase the land rather than the winemaker’s grubby, knarled fingerprints. He shared these philosophies with his son, Jean-Baptiste over their 10 years of working side by side. When Michel retired a decade ago, Jean-Baptiste respected the history of the wines and his father’s time-honoured practices, but as the young generation is wont to do, he revamped and revived a sense of modernity bringing a brighter, more vivacious aspect to the wines which has only enhanced their appeal even more.
Jean-Baptiste, Bob and I tasted around a huge dining table in stoic silence at great distances from each other– except for the occasional slurp and spit, the dropping of a pin would have been deafening. I took this as respectful of Jean-Baptiste, that he didn’t want to invade or intrude our encounter with the wines which in such a quiet room were speaking volumes.
From wine to wine we were struck by the precision of the wines, in particular the aromatics – the intensity and purity of fruit were some of the best examples we’d yet encountered. With some gentle prompting, Jean-Baptiste poked holes in the silence and in magnifique English with such energy and enthusiasm, telling us that he’d built a new cellar with open windows that allowed air to constantly circulate around the barrels, which he believes, is the reason the aromatics are so exact.
We continued through 8 wines – Meursaults and Puligny-Montrachets of 1er Cru level – and with each one I was impressed by the depth and concentration in wines that are at the same time, subtle and elegant.
The culminating wine was, for me, the one that sang like a soprano hitting the high note of a Puccini aria – the Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru le Cailleret. Born in a vineyard of just 1.3ha from vines over 30 years old, just 3 barrels were made in 2011. The fruit is refined and feminine, the nutty touch of perfectly integrated oak gives it the body of Nigella Lawson – big and beautiful!
These wines take no prisoners and whether you’ve long been a fan of Burgundy or are just starting your exploration, these benchmark wines from Bouzereau are a must for any wine-loving home.