Not many trade tastings are held at 9 a.m.. But I would have gotten up in time for a 5 a.m. sampling of the 2010 vintage from Bouchard Pere et Fils and William Fevre.
And what a vintage. “The 2009s were more ripe and opulent in structure,” said Morgan Delacloche, export manager for Henriot, the French conglomerate that owns those wineries. “The 2010s had more finesse. We used less oak than usual. A warm-weather vintage, one of three in the last decade (with 2003 and 2011) where picking began in August, the 2010s showed a lot of cut and tension but also plenty of fruit and savory notes (highlights below).
And Delacloche proved an entertaining and edifying host. Among the other tidbits I gleaned while sipping the mid-morning away:
• There is actually a village called Chardonnay in Burgundy’s sub-region SaÃ´ne-et-Loire.
• Pommard is “counterfeited a lot,” perhaps more than any Burgundian appellation
• Le Corton is the only grand cru in the CÃ´te de Beaune.
• “The most precious thing for a winemaker is a one-year-old barrel “¦ Fevre is a retirement home for Bouchard barrels. We ferment 50 percent in used barrels, 50 percent steel, then all in tanks.
As for the wines, the Bouchard Chevalier Montrachet tasted like, well, what a $300 wine should taste like, light and dark, rich but delicate, with harmony and tension, just about endless. Andmy favorite Bouchard red, the “L’Enfant Jésus,” did not disappoint, with that silky-earthy thing, great complexity and a spectacular finish; if a $100 wine can be called an absolute steal, this is it.
A similar value at about a third the price was the Fevre Montmains Chablis ($38), absurdly fresh and surprisingly smooth for that region. Finally the Fevre Les Clos ($100) was the best young Chablis I can remember tasting, with equally big minerality and fruit, enticing pear elements and another boundless finish.
All in all, 2010 is a “be careful what you wish for” vintage for those of us who like our Burgundy both earthy and refined, with way more great wines than most any of us can afford.