This Beaune-based domaine is one of the largest and most venerable in Burgundy. It was founded in 1731 by Michel Bouchard as a textile sales and distribution company. But twenty years later Michel’s son Joseph acquired vineyards in Volnay in the famous Les Caillerets climat and started producing wine. Over the centuries the family continued to acquire exceptional vineyards throughout the Côte d’Or. For nine generations the Bouchard family ran the estate, creating notable wines, and ran their own negociant business. In 1986 the Bouchards built a new state-of-the-art facility and in 1995 they sold the estate to the French Champagne house Joseph Henriot. With more than 300 acres of vineyards in various parts of Burgundy, Bouchard Pere et Fils produces Grand Crus, Premiers Crus and other wines. It makes red and white Burgundies and is especially well-known for Grand Cru Chardonnays.
Puligny-Montrachet, according to Burgundy writer Clive Coates, “is the greatest white wine commune on earth.” Though other reviewers are not always as extravagant in their praise, there is no question that the appellation’s wines are generally the most lauded Chardonnays in the world. Puligny-Montrachet the commune is tiny, with fewer than 500 residents. Yet the appellation named for it has 1,250 acres of vineyards, including 76 acres of Grands Crus and 247 acres of Premiers Crus. Its four famous Grands Crus are Montrachet, Chevalier-Montrachet, Bâtard-Montrachet and Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet. There are 26 Premiers Crus completely or partly in the appellation. The Premiers and Grands Crus vineyards are on slopes that eventually rise to 1,300 feet and become total rock. In his admiration for this appellation, Coates added “The top Montrachets, Chevaliers and Bâtards are wines to drink on bended knees, with heartfelt and humble thanks.”
This white variety originated in Burgundy, but is now grown around the world. Its flexibility to thrive in many regions translates to wide flavor profile in the market. Chardonnay is commonly used in making Champagne and sparkling wines.