The 1997 red Burgundies of Bouchard Père et Fils

At Vinexpo in Bordeaux this year I visited the stand of Bouchard Père et Fils, the venerable and high quality producer/négociant house. The had a range of their 1997 Burgundies on show, and I tasted 4 reds from across their range: 3 from the Côte de Beaune, including the Grand Cru Corton, and a Nuits-St-Georges from the Côte de Nuits. The ’97 Burgundies are said to be of good quality, but made for early drinking rather than long-term cellaring. This small cross-section showed wines of charm and balance, decent fruit and reasonable structure. I thought they already drank well, though these Premier and Grand Cru wines should improve over 6-10 years.

The tasting was not blind.

Monthélie Premier Cru Clos les Champs Fulliot 1997
Vibrant purple/pink. There are gorgeous sweet cherry aromas, followed by a dry, very tannic palate, which slowly reveals smoky, solid raspberry and cherry fruit. Fruity, quite straightforward, but good.

Beaune Premier Cru Les Teurons 1997
Much more new oak on the nose. More vegetal too, with an earthy depth over solid, chunky fruit and hints of sweeter perfume. This has good body and real presence. Tannic and concentrated, with good length.

Le Corton Grand Cru 1997
Very reserved nose. Fruit is firm-edged, cherry and raspberry. Medium-bodied and quite savoury, this has good length but seems rather one-dimensional at this stage in its development. Tight and rather lean, this might need time to show its true colours.

Nuits-St-Georges Premier Cru Les Cailles 1997
Wonderfully punchy nose of red berry and cherry fruit. On the palate a complex set of flavours: earth, damp vegetation, spice and raspberry. There is good acidity and tannin. The wine is structured and has a very compact personality, but there is purity and length. I liked this.