Maison Bouchard Père & Fils
Chevalier-Montrachet "La Cabotte"
Grand Cru White 750 ml
Tasted: Jun 15, 2016
Note: Bouchard has been separately vinifying this parcel, which at one time was part of Montrachet, since 1992 though the first commercial release was not until 1997; Bouchard jokingly refers to this parcel as their "Montrachet du haute pente", or upper slope Montrachet
Producer note: Winemaker Frédéric Weber spent plenty of time discussing the nuances of the 2014 vintage and growing season, noting that "the winter was very mild, in fact we had the warmest one since 1900. Not surprisingly the vegetative cycle began very early and a cool north wind made sure that the vines suffered no disease pressure. The early June flowering passed without incidence and there was a relatively abundant fruit set. Throughout the month of June we were dreaming of the possibility of making another 1999 and then the 28th arrived with the widespread hailstorm and all such thoughts were instantly destroyed along with a great deal of the potential crop. In 2013 we lost about one-third of the potential crop whereas in 2014 it was more in the range of 40 to 45%. In fact it was the smallest crop here at Bouchard since 2003. In early July the direction of the wind changed from the north to the southwest and lousy weather followed the winds except for a few days that were so hot that some parcels suffered sun burned fruit. Happily the second half of August and virtually all of September changed once again for the better and conditions were not only near-perfect but again there was virtually no disease pressure because the small amount of rot that developed in August was dried by the prevailing north wind. It also helped that there weren't many berries on each bunch so the fruit was well-aerated. We chose to begin picking the pinot on the 11th of September but waited until the 14th to attack the chardonnay. The chardonnay was impeccably clean and potential alcohols were in the 12 to 13.5% range with good acid levels. In contrast to the relatively quick malos for the pinot, those for the chardonnay were extended. As is our usual practice we did zero bâtonnage and we used no new wood whatsoever. As to the style of the 2014 whites, they remind me a great deal of the 2008s which in my book is an excellent compliment." Weber noted that the villages wines were bottled in September 2015 followed by the 1ers in November and the grands crus in December. (Henriot, Inc., www.henriotinc.com, NY, NY; John E. Fells and Sons, www.fells.co.uk, UK).
Tasting note: This presently has the same nose as the Corton-Charlemagne as it's both reduced and mildly woody though I would not expect this to persist beyond the first few years as the reduction is not heavy. There is once again outstanding volume and concentration as well as impressive size, weight and richness to the highly seductive big-bodied flavors that possess a plenitude of dry extract that both coats the palate and buffers the firm acid spine shaping the gorgeously long and well-balanced finale. In 2014 this more resembles Montrachet than Chevalier and I would make the same observation here that I made with the Corton-Charlemagne and Chevalier that while this should amply reward extended cellaring it is not so backward that it shouldn't drink well after 6 to 8 years.