Bouchard Père & Fils is one of Burgundy’s largest and oldest producers and négociants. Founded in 1731 by Michel Bouchard, it is the largest vineyard owner in the Côte d’Or with 130 hectares, but produces wine from the full length and breadth of Burgundy, including the Mâconnais and Beaujolais.
Michel’s son Joseph Bouchard bought the company’s first vineyard – Volnay Caillerets – in 1775 and the company has been expanding its holdings ever since. Of its 130 hectares, 12 are Grand Cru and 74 Premier Cru, with the majority in the Côte de Beaune. Bouchard has four monopole sites: Beaune Grèves Vignes de l’Enfant Jésus, Beaune Clos Saint-Landry, Beaune Clos de la Mousse and Chevalier-Montrachet La Cabotte. The company also purchases fruit.
The wines are made at an impressive gravity-fed cuverie in Savigny-lès-Beaune and matured at the producer’s headquarters at the Château de Beaune. The 15th-century château, whose ramparts and four towers surround the heart of Beaune, was bought by the family in 1820. The property has extensive cellars, stretching up to 10 metres below ground, covering over 4,000 square metres and providing perfect conditions for maturing wine (with walls that are more than seven metres thick in places). Alongside barrels of more recent vintages undergoing élevage, these cellars hold an extraordinary collection of over 2,000 bottles from the 19th century, the oldest of which is an 1846 Meursault Charmes.
The wines are made by Frédéric Weber, who has been at the company since 2002 and took over from Philippe Prost from the 2014 vintage. While a large operation, standards are exacting at Bouchard, with great attention to detail in the vineyard and winery. The vineyards are all farmed sustainably, with the grapes hand-picked into small 12kg crates before being transferred to the winery. The fruit is sorted and undergoes traditional vinification, adapted to the vintage. For the whites, the fruit is pressed gently with factions separated by tasting. The must is racked and fermented relatively cool at 17-18˚C in stainless steel then aged in oak (15-20% new). For the reds, the process varies a little more, with the proportion of whole-bunch and oak changing according to vintage conditions. In general, the fruit is mainly de-stemmed with a cold soak and maximum 20% new oak.
Total production is around 600,000 bottles a year. The company was bought by Joseph Henriot in 1995, joining Groupe La Vigie, now Maisons & Domaines Henriot, alongside Champagne Henriot, William Fèvre and Beaux Frères. The significant investment made by Henriot transformed the quality at Bouchard and its reputation. Bouchard Père & Fils is not related to Bouchard Aîné & Fils.