Albert Bichot

I have had the chance to taste Albert Bichot wines a lot recently and also to visit the Burgundy negociant/wine producer at their base in Beaune and they do keep delivering consistently high quality. Not surprisingly, their winemaker, Alain Serveau, won White Winemaker of the Year at the International Wine Challenge (IWC) last year, having won Red Winemaker of the Year as well a couple of years ago.

Their wines are available in many bars and restaurants and you should look out for Albert Bichot Macon Villages, St Veran, St Aubin and Meursault in the whites as well as some really enjoyable Chablis. In the reds you may find Macon Rouge, Cotes de Nuits-villages, Mercurey 1er Cru Champs Martin and Gevrey Chambertin.

This summer I was invited to go on a press trip to visit the Albert Bichot headquarters in Beaune and their vineyards in Chablis with Richard Bampfield MW, who does PR work for them in the UK, and fellow wine professionals Margaret Rand and Joe Wadstock. Those of you who know the personalities involved might think us an unlikely group but it worked perfectly in the event.

Each time I taste their wines I am convinced of their quality; they offer fresh, enjoyable and good value wines at entry level but they also have excellent quality at the top end. This was borne out earlier this year when I did a blind tasting of a whole range of the 2010’s with Richard Bampfield MW for a group of MW students. Some of those wines were stunning, like for example, the Corton Grand Cru Clos des Marechaudes 2010, Domaine du Pavillon. This was so intensely ripe that it seemed almost New World in the sweetness and intensity of the fruit, with aromas and favours of blackcurrant, blackberry jam and ripe cherry; but all of this was held in check by a firm Burgundian structure. It had robust but elegant tannins and refreshing acidity.

In a group of 18 high end wines with eight Grand Cru it feels sometimes churlish to pick out the best but there were certainly some wines that stood out as exceptional for me. The afore-mentioned Marechaudes 2010 and the Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 2010, Domaine du Clos Frantin were two of them. The latter had a more perfumed, floral rose petal style but with concentrated, cool, elegant blue fruit. I also loved the Grands Echezeaux Grand Cru 2010 Domaine du Clos Frantin and Pommard Clos des Ursuline (monopole) 2010 Domaine du Pavillon.

All six whites tasted that day showed really well with three different Chablis Grand Cru, a 1er Cru Chablis and two wines from the Cote de Beaune. My absolute favourites that day were the Chablis GC Les Clos 2010 Domaine Long-Depaquit because along with classic Chablis characteristics of honey and stone fruit and it had a quirkily intriguing orange peel note. The Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Mouches and the Meursault 1 er Cru Les Charmes both Domaine du Pavillon were both stunning in completely different styles.The Beaune 1er Cru was very full-bodied, fresh and leesy and more like a Meursault in weight and texture but the Meursault was old gold, honey, cream and nut butter, rich, mouth-filling with a whisper of an oxidative style adding some complexity.

© 2011 – 2012, Susan Hulme MW. All rights reserved.

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