Bouchard Beaune Greves Jesus 6/1500 2009
Sustainable | FIRST THE NAME: The name Vigne de l'Enfant Jesus refers to an old story. It is said that Marguerite du Saint Sacrement, the founding carmelite of the "Domestiques de la famille du Saint Enfant Jesus" predicted the birth of the king of France, Louis XIV, although his mother Anne of Austria was infertile. On the birth of the future Roi Soleil, this exceptional vineyard which belonged to the Carmelites, took on the name Vigne de l'Enfant Jesus. In 1791, when all national property was sold, Bouchard Père et Fils put in a bid for the vineyard, situated in the heart of the 79 acres of the Beaune Grèves appellation, of which it still has the monopoly today. For all its resplendent balance of power and grace and its beguiling texture many among us call this baby Jesus in velvet pants –perhaps a cheeky twist on the phrase an iron fist in a velvet glove.
THE WINE’S TELLTALE TASTE: Superb fruit and spice aromas with an oaky note. Intense, full and yet delicate on the palate, the wine has a charming velvetiness. Very good ageing potential read an easy 10 years and more. A wine for game birds, fattened chicken in cream sauce, Burgundian cheeses
THE KNOW HOW OF WORKING THE VINES, WINEMAKING AND MATURING: This Premier Cru parcel is tended by a vine-grower who takes care of the vineyard up to the harvest. Working with the cycle of nature, he enables the terroir to fully express its nuances from vintage to vintage. Following hand picking in small cases, ruthless sorting of the grapes, total or partial destemming depending on the vintage, and fermentation in small containers, gentle pressing ensures optimal vinification. Depending on the profile of the vintage, vatting lasts 12 to 15 days before maturing is carried out for 10 to 18 months in French oak barrels, with 60 to 85% new barrels. The cellars of the Bastions of the ancient Château de Beaune offer natural ambient conditions that are perfectly adapted to ageing the Premiers Crus.
From a recent return to see how this is coming along...
This is penetrating in every sense: the nose wraps its loving arms around you in a cloud of aromatic resin woods (sandalwood, frankincense myrrh) like exotic spices blooming in a warm pan with a liqueur of all the best red fruits. Rare wines like this from gifted vintages are generous beyond measure or description but tensions about; the woodsy counter the herbal, the earthen balance the ethereal, the red fruit and the mineral, the floral combine with the sassafras sort of root spice to yield a verve unique to L'Enfant Jesus which in the 2009 vintage evoke an invigorating calm. There is nothing like this and I consider myself lucky to have spent so much time with this sage of the Beaune.
Wine review by Nicholas Livingston, March 2012
Bouchard 2009 Vigne de l'Enfant Jesus Grand Vin de Beaune Greves
Although I am loving each and every breath and sip of this prince among Pinot Noirs, I must open by saying this is only the beginning of a long and lovely evolution where it will become even more harmonious, textural, elegant and expressive in time. As a baby this is earthen of forest floor, ripe fruit, roasted hardwoods and heady blooming roses like a sweet scented hothouse of flowers that wallops at that first step. Above it all is an exotic smokiness not unlike the leaf fires that mark the autumn air –and yet this is everything as fresh and vernal as Spring’s first green push. It’s even sappy on the mouth. Despite its youth these flavors and textures are forthcoming; they swell and spread over one’s whole palate –no, the whole body. Scented, lasting, and impressive this is a wine most collectors most vintages would wait six years to try again, I’d try it in four –if my patient restraint doesn’t fail me sooner. Speaking with Larry Colbeck on Burgundy (a devoted Burgundiphile and the most experienced one I know), he admitted in an aside that after years of tasting every corner of Burgundy and loving them all, that in fact his most penetrating affection might be that which he feels for the Pinot Noir of Beaune –with this wine high among them.
Wine review by Nicholas D. Livingston, September 2011
Game birds – fattened chicken in cream sauce – Burgundian cheeses