Tasting with Luc Bouchard

"... I recently had the pleasure of participating in an informal dinner, discussion and wine tasting with Luc Bouchard and Jason Woodman ..."
Luc Bouchard

Along with some wine writing colleagues, I recently had the pleasure of participating in an informal  dinner, discussion and wine tasting with Luc Bouchard and Jason Woodman. Luc is the Export Director for Maisons et Domaines Henriot, which, in addition to the eponymous Champagne Henriot, owns Bouchard Père et Fils (Burgundy), William Fèvre (Chablis) and Villa Ponciago (Beaujolais). Jason is Vice President of Woodman Wine & Spirits, the Ontario agent for Henriot.

The wide-ranging discussion included updates on vintages, the trade, and numerous reminiscences, but of course one of the important focuses was on tasting. Later in the spring Woodman will hold their annual “Burgundy Tasting”, as it is known in the trade, where Luc presents many Village, Premier Cru and Grand Cru offerings for restaurants and private clients from Bouchard’s Burgundy and William Fèvre’s Chablis portfolios, along with samples from Villa Ponciago and Henriot. But in this setting we focused on four wines that are or have been on the LCBO’s general list.

I am so involved in monitoring, tasting and writing about the ongoing Vintages program that releases 110 to 140 wines every two weeks throughout the year, that I often forget about the general LCBO inventory. Woodman has been a serious player in that part of the market for many years, and it was a great reminder that there are many excellent wines in that program too. One important difference is volume: the general LCBO releases need to be large enough to be stocked widely, and fairly continuously, throughout the province of Ontario, while items released through Vintages can be as small as 100 to 400 cases, meant for limited distribution in small volumes.

Prior to the LCBO wines, we began with a real treat, the very fine Champagne Henriot Brut Souverain NV Champagne, available to private clients through the agency. While previous vintages of the William Fèvre Chablis Champs Royaux were on the LCBO’s general list, the 2015 vintage will now be released through Vintages in March. The final three wines are currently available at the LCBO: the 2015 Bouchard Père & Fils Macon Lugny St. Pierre, the 2014 Bouchard Père & Fils Bourgogne Pinot Noir, and the 2012 Bouchard Père & Fils Beaune du Chateau Rouge 1er Cru. Reviews follow, and you can check for availability by using the “Find at your nearest LCBO” link at the end of each review.


Champagne Henriot Brut Souverain N-V , Champagne AP

Vintages #0 • $69.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 93/100
This current non-vintage Champagne from Henriot is based on the 2011 vintage, with approximately 25% older reserve wines. It is 50% Chardonnay, mostly Côte des Blancs, with a large portion of Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims region, and a small amount of Pinot Meunier. The nose is complex, with toasty brioche and toasted almonds underlying bright lemon, yellow apple and pear fruit, with a grace note of white flowers. The wine is quite dry, with a dosage of less than 9 g/L sugar that just slightly softens the vivid acidity. On the palate there are hints of bruised apple in the fruit, suggesting the beginnings of evolution in the bottle, but at this point the balance is still strongly weighted towards freshness, acidity and minerality. Quite lovely. Available directly from the agent.
Tasted 13-Feb-17 • WOODMAN WINES & SPIRITS (Agent) • • Share Review


William Fèvre Chablis Champs Royaux AP 2015

Vintages #461640 • $23.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100
On the nose the pleasant aromas of lemon and apple are complemented by notes of melon and pear, ripe but still maintaining good freshness and a sense of Chablis minerality. The wine is dry, and while acidity is firm, it is a notch lower than normal, reflecting the generally warmer 2015 vintage. Thus the fruit on the palate is inviting, with an unusual generosity — still Chablis, however, with the spine of acidity driving into the finish with a lightly saline nuance. A well-crafted Chablis that will be an easy entry point for consumers.
Tasted 13-Feb-17 • WOODMAN WINES & SPIRITS (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review


Bouchard Père & Fils Macon Lugny St. Pierre AP 2015

Vintages #51573 • $17.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 87.5/100
This is a Chardonnay from the village of Lugny in Macon. The nose shows bright, ripe and generous lemon, yellow apple and melon fruit, with notes of white flowers and a hint of yeasty lees. The wine is dry, with fresh acidity and ripe but still-fresh fruit on the palate. A pleasant, simple unoaked white Burgundy.
Tasted 13-Feb-17 • WOODMAN WINES & SPIRITS (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review


Bouchard Père & Fils Bourgogne Pinot Noir AP 2014

Vintages #605667 • $19.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100
This regional Burgundy is mostly sourced from Côte de Beaune vineyards. It is aged for 9-10 months, 20% in oak and the balance in stainless steel, and so as a result, the bright, tart fruit from the cooler 2014 vintage is on full display. The wine is ruby-red, with pretty floral notes, a hint of pine, and a core of sour cherry and raspberry underpinned by light notes of dry earth and humus. Crunchy acidity and fine tannins define the palate, that treads lightly into a pleasant, stony finish. A very good expression of basic Burgundy.
Tasted 13-Feb-17 • WOODMAN WINES & SPIRITS (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review


Bouchard Père & Fils Beaune du Château Rouge 1er Cru AP 2012

Vintages #325142 • $37.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 90/100
This Beaune Premier Cru is a blend of wine from up to 17 specific premier cru vineyards in Beaune. It spends 12-14 months in French oak, approximately 30% of which is new. The wine is medium red with garnet highlights. It is very expressive, with aromas of violets, cherries, raspberries and blackberries, then bright vanilla and spice with a gently earthy undertone. Vivid acidity balances the rich, ripe and nicely textured palate that carries some weight, supported by fine, persistent tannins. There is good complexity here, and I think that the wine will benefit from some cellar time, to allow the wood to further integrate. A nice value for a Premier Cru red Burgundy.
Tasted 13-Feb-17 • WOODMAN WINES & SPIRITS (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review


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