As we wade through the enormity of a newly arrived French container, we are always excited to find wines that are new to us. Sometimes, it is equally exciting to find “old friends”; as in wines we have known and loved in past vintages, now to be greeted by their latest incarnations. This past Tuesday, a handful of new wines went out on tour, poured by our reps for their wholesale customers. At the end of the day, the remaining bottles made their way back to headquarters, and our staff were able to sample them. A few of them were indeed new incarnations of old friends, one of which being a wine it seems we love in every vintage. After tasting the 2013 Domaine Michel Bouzereau Bourgogne Blanc this past Tuesday, we can confirm that last sentence!
The wines from Domaine Michel Bouzereau are very special wines. Winemaker Jean-Baptiste Bouzereau has a loyal following of Burgundy lovers, and many of his top bottlings are in very short supply, despite prices that hover around the $100 threshold. Lovely wines are these, but some of us can’t burn a Benjamin every time we drink white wine. Something our staff is all clued in on, as well as the many customers who have inquired about Jean-Baptiste’s wines, is that Domaine Michel Bouzereau is located in the village of Meursault. He makes a Bourgogne blanc, but it’s no ordinary Bourgogne blanc. The fruit is sourced from in and around Meursault, and that’s pretty much all we need to know. Heck, there is a litany of evidence in our wake as to how much we love this wine. His 2009 made our Top Ten Wines of 2011 list, and Anya and I have taken turns writing about this wine for several vintages.
2013 was yet another challenging vintage in Burgundy. There was trouble at the stage of flowering. There was rain. There was hail. There was damage. Jean-Baptiste was lucky to not be affected by the hail, but did point out that there were times when it was so wet that he couldn’t get his machinery into the vineyard to treat the vines as usual. After the harvest, when speaking to Burghound’s Allen Meadows, Bouzereau declared, “I would gladly sign a contract today to make the quality that I did in 2013 every year. However, I wouldn’t want to sign up for the same amount of stress and work every year as I would be an old man pretty fast.” He went on to tell Meadows, “As to the wines, I love this style as they’re racy, refreshing and very terroir driven with just the right amount of citrus character that stops short of being aggressive. In terms of style, I would compare the 2013s aromatically to the 2007s but with better overall concentration.”
The 2013 made a considerable impression on me. The layers of complexity one senses with this wine is beyond the mere Bourgogne designation. I picked up a delicate, floral nuance on the bouquet in addition to orchard fruit and lemon zest. The fruit on the palate was subtle and nuanced, with lively acidity keeping it in focus. It was indeed very Meursault-like. The conservative Meadows had this to say, “An exuberantly fresh nose offers up notes of citrus, floral and apple while introducing textured, sleek and delicious middle weight flavors that conclude in a clean, dry, precise and notably complex finale. This is unusually good for its level and would make a fine all-around choice for a house white plus it should improve for a year or three as well.” As a matter of fact, in his listings on Burghound, occasionally you will see a heart symbol next to a wine, which means, “outstanding.” Meadows reviewed 10 wines from Bouzereau in 2013, they all have heart symbols next to them!
We will delve further into this container as time goes forward. As we taste the goodies, we promise to report back. Try the 2013 Michel Bouzereau Bourgogne blanc, you won’t be disappointed! – Peter Zavialoff