2018 Bouchard Pere & Fils Bourgogne Rouge

Year: 2018
Appellation: Cote de Nuits
Country: France
Wine Advocate: 87
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 12.5%
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"The 2018 Bourgogne Pinot Noir Reserve bursts with expressive aromas of cherries, raspberries, licorice and subtle forest floor. On the palate, it's medium to full-bodied, fleshy and succulent, with good depth and concentration, framed by powdery tannins. As usual, this cuvée consists largely of purchased wine blended by Bouchard. Around 5% is matured in wood, the rest in tank.

Bouchard's Frédéric Weber was demonstrably satisfied with his 2018 portfolio, and he has every reason to be. Ripe but controlled, this is a very consistent range of fleshy but structured reds—which readers might think of as a more rounded version of the 2005 vintage—and elegant, fragrant whites. Indeed, only the house's Clos de Bèze showed signs of over-ripeness, as the grower who supplies the grapes for this cuvée insisted on picking late. So, as the accompanying notes attest, there are plenty of wines that merit consideration chez Bouchard this year. That's great news, as everyone wins when Burgundy's standard bearer négociant houses flourish.

A short but intense vegetative period, Weber told me, was characterized by low disease pressure, so treatments in the vineyards remained largely organic. Yields were lower than 2017 in Pinot Noir but considerably higher in Chardonnay, and the Bouchard team performed a green harvest for the first time since 2009. Weber began picking on August 30th, and due to the high concentration of tannins and above-average number of seeds, he opted for comparatively brief macerations—on average, between 10 and 12 days—and extracted the reds cautiously. And generous volumes meant that he could be selective when pressing the whites, thereby capturing more freshness. Given the heterogenous results up and down the Côte, Bouchard purchased less wine from its suppliers this year than usual. The firm intends to keep back a sizable percentage of the 2018s, Weber added, to release at a later date—an admirable plan in an era when Burgundy with bottle age is scarcer and scarcer on the marketplace." (WA)