The Sour Grape

Bouchard Pere et Fils ‘La Vignee’ Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2013

Simple, pure, well crafted entry-level Burgundy from one of the great producers of the region.

Simple, pure, well crafted entry-level Burgundy from one of the great producers of the region.

I found this bottle in a small independent wine shop in Bicester and thought it would make a good contrast to the ‘Bouchard Aine et Fils Pays D’oc’ I reviewed recently, so I’m going to give a little more background on this one than I normally would in a Quickie review.

Both of these producers, ‘Aine et Fils’ and ‘Pere et Fils’, are connected historically and split into different family businesses in the mid 1800s. Of the two Bouchard producers, ‘Pere et Fils’ is the more prestigious of the Houses and was the original business before ‘Aine et Fils’ left the nest. So of these two wines I’d expect the one from ‘Pere et Fils’ to be of higher quality. That said, to be fair to the bottle from ‘Aine et Fils’ there are other significant differences between them, though this is likely the closest comparison I can get at this low price level. The wine from ‘Aine et Fils’ was a ‘Vin de France’… so the fruit could have come from anywhere in the country, though in this case I believe it was largely sourced from the south west, whereas the bottle from ‘Pere et Fils’ has fruit sourced solely from the Côte-d’Or in Burgundy.

So what’s it like… In the glass, pale ruby colour with a pink rim, with bright red cherry, strawberry and raspberry fruit aroma with an undertone of cream. Then after breathing it develops an earthy/gamey character as well. On the palate, crisp pure strawberry and cranberry fruit stand out framed by a mouthwatering acidity and a clean finish. This is classic entry level Burgundy, with elegant yet distinct varietal fruit and the hallmark food loving acidity. Simple yet very well crafted.

Is it better than the ‘Vin de France’ from ‘Aine et Fils’?

Technically yes, in every way, but they are two distinctly different styles of Pinot Noir… so much so that many of you may well prefer the wine from ‘Aine et Fils’ as its soft rounded and approachable compared to the purity and distinct Burgundian character of the wine from ‘Pere et Fils’.

This may well sound heretical but it’s ok not to like Burgundy!

Genuine Burgundy really is unlike any other Pinot Noir found around the world, let alone in the rest of France. It’s so distinctly different, both in its wild acidity in its youth and its funky gamey character in maturity, that it can be quite a shock the system if you’re not expecting it. Some wines, no matter how prestigious and expensive, are like marmite; you either love them or hate them and I know many a Pinot Noir fan that dislikes Burgundy… in fact you could argue it’s in your financial best interest to do so!

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