January 06, 2009

Bouchard Aine

I wrote last year of my classic mistaking one Bouchard producer in Burgundy for another. The real problem was that the wine wasn't very good.

Here in the US, there two Mondavis, a couple Stag's Leaps (yes, one is Stags' Leap, note the apostrophe). Try to sort of the various "Ridge" producers like Ridge, Greenwood Ridge, the erstwhile Napa Ridge, and so many others. I suppose it's easier if English is your native tongue.

I blame the French. How am I supposed to keep Bouchard Per et Fils and Bouchard Aine separated in my mind? Before the linear thinkers send me scathing "take responsibility for your actions, you freeloading social misfit," yes, tongue is in cheek.

So here's my last bottle of 2001 Bouchard AINE Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Les Chabeoufs, from a not so priveledged vineyard amid high dollar vineyard real estate. Wouldn't you know it? It's the best of the lot, by far.

Dark translucent ruby robe (ok, I love the French). Then a gently oaky aroma with a complex mix of raspberries, spice, and earthy notes that quietly but firmly say pinot noir and Burgundy. This is a nice blend of new world freshness and old world (clean) earth. There's even a little bottle sweetness from age, that brown sugar note that aged wine picks up over time. It's best when the wine still has good freshness, and this has it all.

Sure, the palate is not overly generous. There's very bright acidity and some rough tannin that make this food wine, not for sipping unless you like structure. But it has a lovely earthy, red fruit flavor with nicely knit oak tones that a meal helps balance for maximum enjoyment. There's truth in the experience that wine improves with food.

This is Nuit St. Georges wine. Not the best, but true to what I know of this masculine, slightly sauvage terroir. I only wish the other bottles I had were this interesting. Live and learn. I made a mistake, paid for it. This I suppose was the payoff.

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