According to winemaker Philippe Prost, the harvest at both Bouchard and William Fevre began on September 20. As in 2008, it was necessary to wait for "better ripeness and better site expression," he explained. At this early stage, Prost thought that Chablis had an edge, as there was a significant difference in quality on the Cote de Beaune between the Bouchard domain bottlings and those from purchased grapes and must, no doubt partly attributable to harvest dates. "But 2010 can be great for red wine," he added. Prost believes that 2008 is an outstanding "example of white Burgundy." The 2010s, he added, are a bit lower in malic acidity and have been open since the outset. The crop level was down an average of 30% from 2009. Prost rolls the barrels rather than stirring the lees, and the 2010s have remained cloudy, which he feels is a good thing.
(an estate bottling): Lemon and lime aromas lifted by a minty quality. At once juicy and creamy, with the minty element carrying through on the palate and energizing the wine's finish. Good ripe acidity here.
(from vines at the top of the vineyard): Pale yellow. Fresh peach, mint, minerals and crushed stone on the nose. Comes across as broader and sweeter than the village wine, but this finished with only 0.8 g/l r.s., according to winemaker Prost. Orchard and stone fruit flavors are complicated by flowers and spices. Finishes long, with crisp acidity and a hint of pink grapefruit. A very good showing.
Pale yellow. High-pitched aromas and flavors of peach and white flowers. Juicy and supple on the palate, showing broader shoulders than the Meursault Clous that preceded it. More earthy in a positive way. Finishes long and fresh. This will probably benefit from a year or two in bottle.
White peach, spices and a steely note on the nose. Less opulent than the Chassagne villages but more taut, showing a hint of appley acidity. A bit edgy on the back end. According to Prost, Bouchard had a big contract with Chavy for Puligny-Montrachet through 2007. As of 2008, Bouchard is pressing all of its own fruit. "We need more Puligny," he exclaimed.
Pure aromas of lemon, flowers, crushed stone and toasty oak, plus a whiff of tarte tatin. Creamy and sweet in the middle but not yet complex; in a more exotic style than the village Puligny. Finishes a bit youthfully aggressive.
(just finished its malo): Pale yellow. Aromas of lemon drop, minerals and flowers. Intensely flavored and sappy, with racy acidity giving cut to the lemon and stone flavors. Conveys a saline impression of extract. Prost uses a different barrel selection here: one- and two-year-old tight-grained Allier. This will need a good four or five years of patience once it's in bottle.
(just 4 barrels made in 2010, vs. a normal 11): Pale, green-tinged yellow. Lemon, lime, minerals and vanillin oak on the nose and palate, along with an appley trace of malic acidity. Begins chewy and brisk but turns creamier with air. Plenty of extract here.
Pale, bright yellow. White peach and acacia flower on the nose. Plush and sweet, with moderate cut to its apple and honey flavors. Showing its oak today. This fruity wine is aging in all one- and two-year-old barrels.
Pale, bright yellow. Lime and orange blossom lifts the nose. At once sweet and crisp, with noteworthy density to the flavors of white peach, white truffle and flowers. Quite saline and tactile. From two parcels of vines, one 26 and the other 40 years of age. Nicely concentrated and long.
(a blend of three plots): Aromas of lemon, peppermint, minerals and toasty oak, complicated by a hint of exotic fruits. Complex but very reticent on the palate, with terrific vivacity and a fine grain to its flavors of crystallized lemon peel and minerals. Very closed today but already quite penetrating.
Pale yellow. Explosive aromas of lemon zest, flowers, menthol and crushed note, with a light suggestion of barrel char. Crisp, clear and intense; surprisingly open today but not exotic . Offers an almost marmaladey quality to its flavors of orange flower and gingerbread. For all its richness, this broad-shouldered Chevalier benefits from strong mineral and crushed stone components and finishes with terrific spicy cut. The very long finish is at once solid and animated. This fermented its sugars until Christmas, noted Prost, who says the wine "offers the same message as the Genevrieres."
(the malo finished just a couple weeks prior to my visit): Ineffable aromas of stone, lavender and white truffle. Densely packed and less evolved than the "regular" Chevalier-Montrachet. This conveys a strong impression of acidity and stoniness too but is showing less definition today. Finishes chewy, tactile and dry, with a light appley quality and excellent balance and length.
Bright, pale yellow. Knockout perfume of white peach, rose petal, sugar-coated almond and brioche. Highly concentrated, silky and fine-grained, with the strong rose note repeating. Really wonderful ripeness without any excesses here. Best today on the splendid rising, palate-saturating finish.
Highly nuanced nose combines apple, flower blossom, crushed stone, white truffle and menthol, with a saline seashell quality emerging with air. Then stubbornly backward in the mouth, with an appley malic element and strong CO2 giving this wine a distinctly hermetic quality. Broad and large-scaled but without any impression of weight. An infant today: this is likely to be bottled last, according to Prost.
Very pale yellow. Subdued fruit salad aroma. A creamy fruit bomb in the mouth; classic and fresh and not a bit austere. Just a tad warm on the back end. There are 60,000 bottles of this juice.
($50) Pale green-yellow. Lively nose offers lime ice, mint and powdered stone. Ripe, sweet and broad, with a chewy texture to its rich stone fruit flavors. Not particularly refined or gripping but quite substantial. This can be enjoyed now or held.
($55) Bright, pale yellow. White peach and spices on the nose and palate, plus an almost meaty element of reduction and a suggestion of smoky oak. Broad and large-scaled but not particularly intense or delineated; this hasn't assumed its adult shape yet. Finishes dry, with a bit of warmth.
($70) Very ripe but lively aromas of candied peach and spices. Juicy, spicy and delicate, with a chalky quality that will need time to expand. Nicely balanced and delineated village wine in a classically dry style, but with no finishing bitterness. An impressive showing: I underrated this wine from barrel last year.
($50) Good pale color. Crushed rock, pear, menthol and mirabelle on the slightly blurry nose. Gives a sweet impression on entry, then shows less tension and definition in the mid-palate than the Puligny villages, not to mention finesse. The stone fruit flavors lead to a somewhat warm finish, with modest grip.
($48) Pale bright yellow. Citrus fruits, fresh apricot and talc on the nose. Juicy and nicely concentrated, in an easygoing, rather loose-knit style. Offers good flavor intensity but needs to absorb its slightly sour lemony acidity and finishing warmth.
($85) Bright pale yellow. Musky white peach, white truffle and toasty vanillin oak on the nose. Juicy, bright and fine-grained, with a creamy quality to the peach and toast flavors. Boasts lovely balance for the year. Although this is showing its wood today, Prost told me that he used very little new oak in 2009 ("just 12% or 13% overall") as the estate now believes that the tannins of slowly dried new oak are catalysts for oxidation.
($85) Pale, bright yellow. Delicate aromas of white peach and crushed stone. Rich, intensely flavored and vibrant, conveying more energy and personality today than the Genevrieres. Strong minerality buffers the wine's huge ripeness and frames and extends the bracing finish. A superb showing but there's more to come with bottle aging.
($100) Very pale color. Aromas of peach, crushed rock, menthol and vanillin oak, with a whiff of fresh herbs adding complexity. Dense, tactile and backward, with rocky minerality and strong acidity currently dominating the middle palate. Showing less personality and fruit today than the Meursault Perrieres but the long, salty finish suggests it will be a slow ager.
($270) Very pale, green-tinged color. Captivating high-pitched aromas of lavender, herbs and dusty stone. Rich on entry, giving a dense, fine-grained, almost sweet impression, then surprising acidity and minerality enliven the middle palate. The finish conveys a slightly tannic impression but remains smooth and suave, not to mention very long. This classy Chevalier will need time to express itself.
($575) Bright pale yellow. Steely aromas of apple, minerals and warm stone. Voluminous and powerful, with fat flavors of pear, menthol, crushed stone and iodine. Most impressive today on the very long, broad aftertaste, which saturates the palate with lemon and crushed stone. This boasts the sheer size and scale of a Montrachet.
($750) Very pale yellow. Aromas of mirabelle, apple, spices, menthol and white truffle, lifted by a whiff of lime blossom. Juicy and rich but extremely discreet today, with ripe apple and spice flavors coming across as fully ripe but classically dry. There's an almost exotic marzipan note on the back end but strong acidity is keeping the wine under wraps. This will need at least seven or eight years of cellaring to begin to deliver on its considerable potential.
($135) Pale yellow. Tight, slightly metallic nose hints at lemon, lime, green tea, creme brulee and vanillin oak. Very ripe but firm on entry, with penetrating stone fruit and lemon-lime flavors. Then explosive on the back half, with a rising, compellingly tactile and sweet finish that suggests a great future. These vines were picked very late, noted winemaker Prost, who added that he used a higher percentage of new oak for this cuvee (18%) than for any of his other whites in '09.