2016 Bouchard Aine Bourgogne Chardonnay
Forgive this bit of boring backstory, but it informs today’s exciting wine.
Burgundy’s vineyards are ranked in what you might consider a pyramid fashion. The absolute pinnacle, accounting for maybe 1% of all produced wine, is labeled as Grand Cru. These come from the best of the best vineyard sites, where soil, aspect, microclimate, grape and human can combine to make the ultimate “best” wine. The next level is Premier Cru, then wines that are labeled by Village, and then regional wines, which carry the name Bourgogne, or Burgundy, only.
Why bore you with this ancient system? Because sometimes a Bourgogne is not just a Bourgogne. And this means great value is hiding in the details! That’s the case with today’s wine.
The secret backstory: Domaine Bouchard Aine & Fils (not to be confused with Bouchard Pere & Fils – yes, the family company split a long time ago) is based primarily in the Premier Crus of Burgundy. Yes, most of those wines are made into Premier Cru wine but more than just a few drops sneak down into this wine. As Bouchard Aine notes, it is “a veritable initiation into the great white varietal of Burgundy.” And as I sample this bad girl I couldn’t agree more:
The nose opens with a white Burgundy’s beautiful mixture of honeycomb, white flowers, citrus fruits, stone fruits and minerality. It’s beguiling – if you dive in, you start by tasting one sensation, but then upon reflection the flavors grow and grow, becoming an exquisitely layered symphony. But this symphony isn’t playing the Also sprach Zarathustra, rather a pretty pop-song but with great depth – Ode to Joy comes to mind. If you don’t want to do the deep dive, no worries at all. There is enough hedonistic pleasure in this bottle that as a cocktail it’s immensely pleasing as a companion for strolling down Drunkitude Lane. I’m drinking mine up right now, but you can certainly stash it at least seven more years in your cellar.
You may doubt my qualifications for recommending this simple Bourgogne blanc to you as if it were a premier cru. But rest assured – I used to crush White Burgundy like it was a can of beer. Now I crush it like it’s a 24-pack of beer, nearly every night! For those of us (like me) still trying to drink good wine every night, here’s your go-to bottle.
And I’ll admit it – I was offered one darn heck of a price. When do I ever see good white Burgundy this cheap? Never. When will I see it this cheap again? Who knows? Get it now.
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