(2019) Bouchard's monopole vineyard is one of the most famous in Burgundy, a 1er Cru often rated as having Grand Cru credentials, and its unusual name stemming from the time when the vineyard was worked by Carmelite nuns, one of whom prayed for the birth of the child that would one day become Louis XIV of France. It's a fabulous Burgundy, laden with chicory, spice, sweet chestnut, so much perfume here, old roses and earl grey nuances. Gently smoky, there's a buoyant cherry compote fruitiness. The palate is positively silky - especially given its lowly 12.5% alcohol - with a smooth, mouth-filling supple red fruit depth, coffee and chocolate, sandalwood and tobacco spice. Long and beautifully balanced by refined acidity and silky tannins. This wine is also renowned for its longevity, so it is a 'baby' in its own right.
(2019) Chardonnay from the south Burgundy, this has very little oak that I can detect, though there is perhaps a smidgeon giving a creamy almond and pastry touch to the ripe orchard fruits, maybe just a fleeting glimpse of something floral too. In the mouth it has medium body and a typically versatile combination of sweet fruit - but not too much of it - creamy texture and refined balancing acidity. Long with just a whisper of toast, it is fresh and appetising.
(2018) Best showing yet for this: in a terrific place with lots of coffee and truffle, fabulous fruit too and delicate floral nuances. Seamless palate, spicy and rich, brimming with red fruit and that truffly, deep, smoky finish. I would probably not hold for too much longer, as it is singing now on evidence of this bottle. Stockist/price is for more recent vintages - this wine has very limited availability in the UK.
(2018) I was surprised in some ways to see that there are around 80 tasting notes for Bouchard wines in my database, because as an important Burgundy producer and négociant they do stay slightly under the radar compared to the likes of Jadot and Louis Latour. I was also surprised to see that I hadn't tasted the Côte de Beaune-Villages since the 2000 vintage, as it is a lovely minor Burgundy (yes, even at £20 a bottle that's minor for Burgundy). With a bright cherry perfume backed up by some deeper, sweet earth and briar, but really it is all about the fruit. In the mouth, truly vinous with cherry and grape fruitiness, quite a substantial mouthfeel, ripe but relatively chunky tannins and good cleansing acidity.
(2018) It may not be on your radar as yet, but there's a buzz about the crémant wines of France - France's 'other' sparkling wines made by the Traditional Method with in-bottle secondary fermentation, but not in Champagne. From Burgundy, this is a blend of 92% Chardonnay and, intriguingly, 8% Gamay.
(2018) From the Grand Cru vineyard acquired by Georges Mugneret in 1977, with the help of Charles Rousseau, composed of thin, stony soils. The domaine is now worked by Georges' daughters, and this wine will see around 70% new oak. The colour is pale, but with a garnet hue and little sign of age. Perfumed and touched by herbs and a meatiness, lovely firm berry fruit with some liquorice and chestnut character. In the mouth the sweetness of the fruit fairly explodes, real ripeness here and even lusciousness, the fleshy berry fruit soon caught up in a dried cherry acidity and purposeful but ripe, coffeeish tannins, the oak very delicate just adding a touch of cedar and smoke way in the background. This has good length, dry, the fruit and a delicate herbs and spices character again, and a poised but really quite powerful finish. Very hard to say whether this should be cellared further: it has loads of fruit and charm still, but does finish just a touch dry, so perhaps drinking now and over the next five years would be the sensible path. It should also be decanted as it throws a significant sediment, but also opens nicely in the glass, so give it a little air.
(2018) A new wine to C&B's own-label range as of autumn 2018, this is unoaked Chardonnay from the vineyards of the Mâconnaise, made for Corney & Barrow by Maison Auvigue. It is a beautifully pitched Chardonnay, creamy with almond and a hint of new-mown hay on the nose, and plenty of creamy and ripe orchard fruit. In the mouth it is expansive and richly textured, the nicely sweet mid-palate fruit swept up in very good acidity that give length and a dry but not austere finish. A lovely wine for fish or fowl. Watch the video for more information.
(2018) Crémant wines are undergoing something of a mini-boom, finding many new fans for these traditional method sparkling wines from French regions outside of Champagne. This, from Chablis producer Simonnet-Febvre, is a blend of Chardonnay (60%) and Pinot Noir, aged 24 months on the lees in bottle. It is a crisp and zippy style, but a creaminess and touch of biscuit adds to the pear and lemon fruit of the nose. In the mouth it is razor-sharp as befits a wine from vineyards surrounding Chablis, but there is a juiciness and peachy generosity to the mid-palate fruit before that long, shimmering core of acidity extends the finish. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2018) A fabled wine, now selling for £600 or so per bottle (but that's not what I paid almost 20 years ago). The colour is certainly faded, a broad, pale rim, but definitely still some garnet at the core of this. Immediately on opening and pouring a small taste to check the wine I thought it was fairly oxidised, but pouring the first proper glasses around an hour later and the wine seemed to have drawn itself together as if by magic. There is a touch of leafiness, a touch of roasted chestnut, some spice and a touch of dried blood, some firm red fruit too. Over an hour or so of drinking it opens, the palate perhaps just a moment past its prime, but such lovely mineral precision to this, the acidity so perfect, tannins sweetly resolved, and the impression left is of dry redcurrant fruit, but a building warmth of spices and some weight, really quite richly satisfying despite the ethereal red fruits and light gaminess that float into the ether as you drink.
(2018) I'm on record as saying that, at it's best, Chablis is the world's greatest expressions of the Chardonnay grape. This, from a top vintage and one of the best premier cru sites, is eloquent testament to that. Subtle, wet river stone minerality, taut apple notes and fleeting glimpses of summer meadows on the nose lead on to a firm and finely-etched, steely palate. There is fruit, and there is textural weight, but this is the antithesis of the 'golden' Chardonnay style: linear, lightly salty and strictly defined, it has a lemon-juice freshness disguising its concentration, its depth and complexity revealed slowly as the bottle goes down.