2012 Maison Bouchard Montrachet
Maison Bouchard Père et Fils
Grand Cru White 750 ml
Tasted: Jun 15, 2014
Note: from a .89 ha parcel of Puligny vines
Producer note: Philippe Prost, Bouchard's winemaker, did not hold back when he called the 2012 vintage "the most difficult vintage that I have ever had to vinify primarily because of the wildly variable weather patterns we had in the Côte during the growing season. We had everything from perfect fruit to compromised fruit and when the fruit was compromised, it was compromised in different ways. It is of course possible to rigorously sort and of course we do that at Bouchard but even so it doesn't necessarily mean that the quality of your raw materials isn't going to vary from one terroir to another. And it is this aspect that I personally found so challenging, which is basically another way of saying that it was necessary to try to evaluate how good those specific raw materials were and then adapt your vinification strategy to that vision. Moreover, we were concerned that the picking dates weren't going to follow their normal progression as we were afraid that we might have a free fall in acidity among certain of our better white wine terroirs. As it turned out, that wasn't at all the case but the problem is that you don't know that in advance so you have to try and prepare for anything and everything. Another prime example of modifying your strategy according to your assessment of the raw materials is that we almost never destem our whites yet in 2012 we decided to remove about 30% of them so as to potentially avoid having vegetal aromas and flavors. [Bouchard did this in 2011 as well.] Most of the vinifications for the white went as they should though we did have a few of them that had difficulty finishing the sugars though in the end everything finished completely dry. One thing that we did not change though is our policy of doing zero lees stirring because it seemed clear from the beginning that the 2012s were going to rich and full-bodied. As to the wines it's interesting because I am much more enthusiastic today about the whites than I was initially. They were good but didn't seem to have that spark and extra-dimension that makes great white burgundy great. Then little by little during the élevage process they awoke and today I really like them. In terms of other vintage comparisons I might suggest a slightly more acidic 1992 or a more concentrated version of 2004." Prost noted that the production of whites in 2012 was off about 30% which is roughly what Bouchard produced in 2010. The 2012s were bottled between July and December 2013. (Henriot, Inc., www.henriotinc.com, NY, NY; John E. Fells and Sons, www.fells.co.uk, UK).
Tasting note: This is almost as elegant and refined aromatically as the La Cabotte with even more complexity to the gorgeous and highly nuanced nose of dried flowers, spice elements and a broad range of both white and yellow orchard fruit scents. There is superb volume and richness to the big-bodied and very serious flavors that are overtly muscular and also blessed with an abundance of dry extract that, in the same fashion as the Corton-Charlemagne, imparts a borderline chewy quality to the faultlessly balanced finish. What I find interesting about this wine is that it is at once openly decadent and opulent yet it remains beautifully refined. Whatever the magic, the key point is that this is most impressive.