Domaine Bouard-Bonnefoy

Chassagne-Montrachet | Côte de Beaune | Burgundy

Domaine Bouard Bonnefoy Burgundy North Berkeley ImportsDomaine Bouard-Bonnefoy sets the standard for naturally made, profoundly flavorful white Burgundy. Consider the family’s hand-cranked wooden press, the mini-family cellar and the bottling “line,” where each bottle is corked and labeled by hand—when someone says they are searching for an authentic wine far removed from today’s hyper-technology and trends, they’re looking for Bouard-Bonnefoy wines.

This winemaking family represents a Burgundy we thought long gone, but really the Bouard-Bonnefoy clan embodies the sort of artisanal spirit to which we’ve always been drawn in our three decades of visiting the Côte d’Or.

What Chassagne’s many beautiful vineyards offer, the Bouard-Bonnefoys capture faithfully—these are wines that astound with their pure aromas, their deep flavors and their ability to seduce from the very first sip.

Nothing rattles winemaker Fabrice Bouard, who in his 40s is already on his second career—his first being a bodyguard for French dignitaries. His wife, Carine Bonnefoy, represents the fourth generation of a Chassagne winemaking family. Their estate has always been small, a labor of love with wines mostly sold to locals and friends. In 2006, Fabrice and Carine took over the family production, with Carine’s father (well-known in the village for being one of the more diligent grape growers around) assisting in the fields.

FARMING & WINEMAKING

The Bouard-Bonnefoy family follows the practice of lutte raisonée (reasoned agriculture), avoiding the use of pesticides and herbicides (instead, plowing between rows) and using indigenous yeasts for fermentation. Harvest is always by hand. Grapes are lightly crushed then pressed in the family’s upright wooden press (inherited from the Bonnefoy grandparents). Juice is placed in older French oak barrels to ferment naturally (both alcoholic and malolactic fermentation). The estate uses few if any new wood barrels. Wines are bottled by hand, have little added sulfur and are unfined and unfiltered.

RED WINES

Bourgogne Rouge Pinot Noir

A rare, wonderfully refined and summer-ripe Pinot Noir from sandy soils within the Chassagne-Montrachet appellation boundaries. Gorgeous red berry and cherry notes and delicately aromatic; certainly one of the best Bourgogne Rouge wines we’ve had in some time.

 

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WHITE WINES

Bourgogne Blanc

Supple, tangy and fresh. Pure Chardonnay grown in southeast-facing estate vineyard (lieu-dit) ‘Plantelonge,’ just east of villages-level vineyard ‘Les Pierres’ in Chassagne-Montrachet.

 

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Chassagne-Montrachet Blanc

A lively Burgundian Chardonnay selected from younger vines grown in four separate parcels in Chassagne-Montrachet. Classic flavors of yellow plums, mountain spring water, with a touch of red berry fruit.

 

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Puligny-Montrachet 'Les Aubues'

A charmed villages-level Puligny, located within the larger ‘Les Enseignères’ vineyard and a stone’s throw from grand cru Bâtard-Montrachet. Yellow fruits, light herbs, juicy and refined.

 

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Saint-Aubin Blanc 1er Cru 'Le Charmois'

‘Le Charmois’ is essentially a continuation of Chassagne’s top premier cru vineyards, climbing up the valley (and within a stone’s throw of Montrachet and Co.) With a little more altitude, winds are a bit cooler, so ‘Charmois’ is a reliable source of nervous, vibrant and tantalizing white Burgundy — still with all the flavorful depth and elegance one expects from the best of Chassagne.

 

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Chassagne Montrachet Blanc 1er Cru 'Chenevottes'

A smooth, fruity Burgundian Chardonnay. The vineyard ‘Chenevottes’ has deeper, more fertile soils, which results in a wine with a more honeyed concentration and silky texture.

 

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Chassagne Montrachet Blanc 1er Cru 'Macherelles'

A refined Chassagne, one that combines a lacy delicacy with layered, concentrated flavors. ‘Macherelles’ is a wonderful example of Chassage white Burgundy, poetic and profound.

 

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Chassagne Montrachet Blanc 1er Cru 'Maltroie'

Located in the heart of the village, ‘Maltroie’ offers a perfect snapshot of Chassagne’s savory, delicate character: candied lemons, roasted almonds, herbs.

 

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Chassagne Montrachet Blanc 1er Cru 'Vergers'

Higher up the slope from vineyard ‘Chenevottes,’ ‘Vergers,’ with its younger vines, delivers an energetic yet profound white Burgundy with notes of crushed stones and yellow fruits.

 

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Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Blanc 'Morgeot - Le Petit Clos'

‘Petit Clos’ is a small, walled plot within the larger ‘Morgeot’ vineyard, and one of its finer terroirs. An unusual vein of blue clay here gives fruit from 60-year-old Chardonnay vines a plush, savory texture. The signature of ‘Morgeot’—as much of the vineyard is planted to Pinot Noir in addition to Chardonnay—is a hint of red berries in aroma and flavor.

 

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Established: 1920s
Winemaker: Fabrice Bouard
Region: France • Burgundy • Côte de Beaune • Chassagne-Montrachet
Vineyard size: 20 acres