Wine & Spirits

25 Sep 2014

Maison Albert Bichot

Maison Albert Bichot

Author: Vintage Wine  /  Categories: Wine & Spirits, Wine  /  Rate this article:

When you think of top rate Burgundy negociants (those who buy grapes
and make wine to sell under their own name), Louis Jadot, Domaine
Joseph Drouhin and Bouchard Pére et Fils come to mind.  Despite its
nearly 200 year history, not many would name Maison Albert Bichot,
and for good reason.  In the ‘90s Bichot’s quality did not
warrant being mentioned with Jadot, Drouhin or Bouchard.  However,
when the new millennium arrived, things had changed at Bichot.  By
then Albéric Bichot, sixth generation, had taken over and led a
march to quality. The emphasis on quality landed Bichot awards:
“2004 International Pinot Noir Trophy” from Decanter, “2009 Red
Winemaker of the Year” from Decanter, “2011 White Winemaker of
the Year” from International Wine Challenge to name a few.  To win
one award might be considered a fluke, but to continuously win awards
means something is going on here.

Further investigation reveals that Bichot is not a small producer,
but a very large one.  In terms of negociants, Bichot is not as big
as Jadot, but is larger than Drouhin and on par with Bouchard. 
Bichot has an impressive list of vineyard holdings including Grand
Cru and 1er Cru vineyards (over 20 in each category) and also has
some intriguing monopoles – a named vineyard controlled by a single
winery – such as Pommard Clos des Ursulines and the “8th Grand
Cru of Chablis”, La Moutonne.

Besides the underachieving quality in the ‘90s, two other things
held Bichot back.  Bichot consists of 4 different estates separated
by 4 different areas of Burgundy.  Chateau Long-Depaquit in Chablis,
Domaine du Clos Frantin in Cote de Nuits, Domaine Pavillon in Cote de
Beaune and Domaine Adélie in Cote Chalonnaise.  With fractured
labeling, it is hard to build brand identity.  The wines continue to
carry each estate’s designation depending on their source, but now
all the wines have Albert Bichot prominently on the label.

Chateau Long-Depaquit - Chablis (160 acres)

Domaine du Clos Frantin  -  Cote de Nuits (32 acres)

Domane du Pavillon – Cote de Beaune (43 acres)

Domaine Adélie – Cote Chalonnaise (10 acres)

The other thing working against Bichot was overlooking english
speaking wine journalists and reviewers.  The lack of publicity from
prominent wine reviews allowed the general public to pass by Bichot.

All the talk of improved quality makes Bichot an intriguing
proposition, but the proof is in the wine itself.  Are the wines
good?  I had an opportunity to taste through nearly a dozen wines
recently, and I came away impressed with the wine quality.  Despite
owning 4 different estates there is a common personality throughout
all the wines I tasted both red and white.  The wines bear good,
clean fruit, and show good balance.  Texturally the wines really
standout as soft, supple and elegant.  Wood is used appropriately and
does not overwhelm the wines.  Certainly not an extreme modern style
nor extreme traditional style, but somewhere comfortably in between
and exhibiting the best of both worlds.  This tasting does prove the
wines are of high quality.

We strongly advise that you always have a few bottles of these  <$20 wines
around at all times.  You will love them!

2012 Bourgogne Chardonnay 

How many other basic Bourgogne bottlings in the world can boast the
grapes come from vines with an average age of 40-45 years?  The wine
delivers a superlative experience that you might expect from
something at least twice the price.  There is nice citrus and stone
fruit followed by honey and dried fruit.  A pleasurable balance
between vivacity and roundess.

2012 Bourgogne Pinot Noir

This Pinot Noir Vieilles Vignes has a lovely intensive red colour. It
is just as flattering to the nose thanks to a seductive palette of
very fruity aromas - notes of blackcurrant, redcurrant and plum. The
mouth is fleshy and well-balanced and enhanced by discreet woody
notes with a pleasant finish.


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