The wines of Pierre Bourée Fils, Burgundy

Each January, the wine trade and press clamour to tastings of  the very latest  Burgundy vintage. These ‘en primeur’ tastings feature the barely finished wines from the harvest 14 or 15 months earlier, which have not yet been shipped. Advance orders will be placed and reviews will emerge. The cult producers and biggest names will sell out long before ordinary wine lovers have a chance taste or buy their wines. Prices can be stratospheric too – the 2016 vintage of the top wine from Burgundy’s elite Domaine de la Romanée-Conti is selling for around £25,000. Per bottle. Yes, you read that right.

Cadman Fine Wines specialises in the classic regions of Europe, and while it does sell some of those superstar Burgundy wines costing hundreds of pounds, it also has a really strong portfolio of more affordable examples, and unlike those en primeurs, they are bottled, on the shelf, and ready to be delivered.  I have tasted a selection of fantastic Chablis Premier Cru wines from Domaine Fourrey, all selling for under £20, and will report on those soon, but meanwhile, Cadman sent me a tasting selection from one of their other favourite producers, Pierre Bourée Fils.

mapPierre Bourée was established in Gevery-Chambertin way back in 1864, as both Burgundy négociant, vinifying parcels of grapes from a family of growers, and making estate wines from their own holdings in Charmes Chambertin, Gevrey-Chambertin and Beaune.  Today, brothers Bernard and Jean-Christophe Vallet run the house alongside their sons, Pierre and Louis Henry. They produce traditional Burgundy wines focused on balance and finesse rather than power.

BottlesThough not fully organic, the brothers work in an environmentally friendly way, maintaining the soil by ploughing rather than chemical treatments, and controlling of vine vigour and yields through careful pruning. Only manure has been used as fertiliser for the last half a century, with again no synthetic fertilisers. All harvesting is manual.

In the cellar, a sorting table is used to control the quality of the fruit as it arrives, and only wild indigenous yeasts are used for fermentation. In a deeply traditional method, grapes are foot-trodden, and ferments take place in wooden foudres, before maturation in smaller oak casks. Red wines stay a maximum of two years in cask before being bottled, while white wines spend 14 to 16 months in oak.

This is a delightful set of authentic wines, as well-made and delicious as you could hope for, from a domaine that sits slightly under the radar. That means prices are moderate and the wines are actually available to buy unlike more cult names of the region, which is good news for Burgundy lovers indeed.

The Wines

(2020) White Côte de Nuits Villages is relatively rare, and indeed only two barrels of this fine Chardonnay sourced from vineyards in Fixin. Fermented in wooden foudres and aged one year in barrique, it has a Brazil nut  opulence on the nose, quite Meursault-like, buttery, the palate brimming with ripe fruit, succulent pear and Ogen melon, very juicy, and a beautifully balanced white Burgundy with texture and charm to spare, but the cleansing acidity is framing everything very elegantly. £24.50 as part of a mixed six.
(2020) What a delightful nose on this village Puligny, vinified and matured in oak barrels for 14 months. There is oak, but it is fragrant and creamy, floral edges and hint so exotic spices rather than anything too obvious, with a gossamer fruit quality beneath; floral-edged stone fruits and crisp pear. In the mouth, nuttiness and Cox's pippin apples, very good acidity in a fine lime and mineral line that runs through the buttery ripeness and oak toastiness into the finish. Mixed six price is £44.99
(2020) From a single vineyard in the Côte de Nuits Fixin appellation, vinified in oak fourdres and aged in barriques, this has a medium-deep colour and, as always with this producer, delightful aromatics where those floral and lifted, almost camphor like notes meld beautifully with berry fruit and subtle oak spices. There is earthiness and honesty here. In the mouth the sweetness and pulpy textural weight of the fruit is a treat, the acid and tannin axis sharpening things up but never, ever dominating: it stays supple and fruity, spicy too, into a long, fresh finish. Seriously lovely stuff. £29.99 as part of a mixed six.
(2020) Just like the white wines, Pierre Bourée only vinifies his red wine in oak vats and ages in barrel. This Gevrey is classic stuff, quite a pale ruby colour and offering a nose that is distinctly and attractively fruity - red berries and cherry - but with such lovely and complex counterpoints of violet and old roses, hints of truffle and game, and a dusting of vanilla. On the palate it strikes a genuinely lovely balance between that fruit concentration and more ethereal, mineral and cherry-skin acid edges, a hint of coffee and truffle again in the finish. Quite firm, quite serious, and a terrific village wine that is surely capable of a decade of cellaring. £44.99 by the mixed six.

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