2017 Bouchard Père et Fils, Beaune 1er Cru, Clos de la Mousse, $63
Winery info: Founded in 1731, Maison Bouchard Père & Fils is one of Burgundy’s oldest wine merchant houses. Over the centuries the house acquired highly renowned vineyard parcels in order to build their domain. Today they have 130 hectares of vineyard, many of them Grand and Premier Cru. At Bouchard the entire process from vine to bottle is handled with meticulous care, ensuring the most faithful expression of each terroir. The domaine is housed in the former Château de Beaune, a fortress built by King Louis XI in the 15th century and purchased by the family in 1820. The galleries, located ten meters underground, are perfect for aging their fine wines where they mature slowly, under optimal conditions.
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir, aged 12 to 14 months in 30 to 40% new French oak.
Vineyard: Clos de la Mousse, which dates back to 1220, when it was owned by the church of Notre Dame de Beaune. In 1872 the Bouchard family completed the purchase of all the parcels of this Premier Cru vineyard and it has been a monopole (a vineyard owned by a single winery) of Bouchard ever since.
Flavor Profile: The wine is both full and refined, with fruity aromas and light toasty notes on the nose, and delicate flavors that evolve in the glass. The thick layer of red clay in the vineyard, not a common soil type in Burgundy, gives unusual richness and plush texture to this wine.
Availability: The distributor has just a bit of this vintage left.
Drinkability: Enjoy now or up to 2030.
Food Pairing: Roast duck, Beef Bourguignon, wild mushrooms, prime rib, or game (perhaps rabbit).
2017 Au Bon Climat, Hildegard White Table Wine, $37
Winery info: Founded in 1982, Au Bon Climat (which means “a well-exposed vineyard”) produces internationally recognized wines from grapes grown in California’s Santa Barbara County. Located at the foot of Bien Nacido, it is one of California’s most highly rated vineyards, ideal for the production of the refined, Burgundian style wines to which owner and winemaker Jim Clendenen aspires.
Grapes: 50% Pinot Gris, 40% Pinot Blanc, and 10% Aligoté
Vineyard: Primarily from Bien Nacido Vineyard at the northern end of California’s Santa Barbara County with gravel and calciferous clay soils. The site has one of the longest growing seasons in the state, where the warm days and cool nights encourage full development of the fruit. Blended with fruit from other select vineyards in the Santa Maria Valley AVA as well.
Flavor Profile: The Bien Nacido Vineyard Pinot Gris is much more Burgundian or Alsatian in style than the average Pinot Gris. Combined with the flinty minerality of the Pinot Blanc and the mouthwatering acidity of the Aligoté, this wine is reminiscent of a top notch Chardonnay, but more floral and melony. It has lovely notes of vanilla and hazelnuts from oak aging, and inviting richness.
Availability: 675 cases produced. The distributor still has a bit left of this vintage left.
Drinkability: Enjoy now or up to 2022.
Food Pairing: Roast chicken, cheese (especially Brie or Camembert), Dungeness crab or crab cakes, grilled halibut, pasta in cream sauce, grilled or roasted salmon, or sautéed scallops.