Tag Archives: Henri Bourgeois

Finishing big (Sancerre, France – Day Three)

It is important to remember that everything is relative, and also that there are numerous implications depending on the person and the word. Language is complicated as much as communication itself, and over the past 14 months (to the day in fact) I have had so many situations where things can have different meanings depending on audience and context. My understanding of things, not only about wine, has changed significantly and I have discovered that it is important to always clarify and speak relatively. For example, there is a word in French that will be familiar to most wine-lovers that actually has different meanings in English which are related but have different connotations. The word is ‘grand’, and in the context of vineyard classification for such regions as Burgundy and Alsace, it means ‘great’ or essentially ‘the best’. The word can also mean ‘big’ or ‘large’, which implies size rather than importance and in terms of wine, could refer to the size of vineyards or a winery for example. When a winery produces 3.5 million bottles per year in Sancerre, this is both great and large, but in the Australian context it is merely a medium-sized winery. Everything is relative. What is interesting is that in my humble opinion I began my week with the most important producer in Sancerre and finished with the largest, and the quality of the wines to decline with each estate I visited.

Cellars in Sancerre

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Henri Bourgeois – 28/11/2012

L’Elegance de Petit Bourgeois 2011 (Vin de Pays)
Very grassy herbaceous green fruit, crisp and varietal in character. Bright fresh and generous, again varietal in nature and nothing particular about it. Well made commercial wine.

Les Baronnes 2011 Sancerre
Showing a little more minerality and restraint, less obvious varietal characters, crisp pure and fresh. Lighter and fuller at the same time, more extension, balance and breadth to the wine. Generosity but also a little more warmth and texture. Good ripeness.

Pouilly-Fume 2011
Slightly more subdued on the nose, not as bright but also a little riper profile. Denser but cleaner at the same time, more in balance and harmonious, more focus and drive on the palate, not as obvious and not as warm. Better character for the style, and more pleasant drinking. Does have a slight sweatiness to it, they probably sell heaps of it.

Le Mont Damnes de Bourgeois 2011 Sancerre
Smokier and much more mineralic, flinty and granitic on the nose, very interesting and complex. Gentle on the palate, some nice viscosity to go with the freshness and fruit ripeness. Herbaceous and nice green fruit character, reflective still of the variety more than the appellation.

La Demoiselle 2011 Pouilly-Fume
Again, less obvious on the varietal character, perhaps more reflective of its terroir than the sancerre wines. Some green olive, unsalted capers, quite mineralic. Subtle complex yet approachable and fresh. Good extension on the palate, fruit flavours linger quite nicely. Perhaps vintage better in Pouilly than in Sancerre.

Jadis 2010 (unfiltered)
Bright tropical and floral on the nose, quite ripe and fresh but not overt. Peach texture(?), nectarine, apple, pear and grapefruit, quite tropical but not typical of the variety. Bold full expression, really ripe and fruity, pleasant and a crowd-pleaser. Perhaps went through malo?

Jadis 2006
More developed but still in the tropical realm, showing some lees influence on the nose too. Deep and full, good extension, softening in fruit intensity compared to the younger vintage. Looking a little creamy in texture, round and broad, fills the palate with good fruit and acid balance. Still quite young.

La Bourgeoise 2010 (flint area)
Has that stinky smoky complex nose of barrel and lees stirring, but also intense and ripe tropical notes. Certainly showing its flintiness, but will show more in time. Rolls across the palate, but actually stops a little short and flat. Promising start but disappointing finish. Not too much of anything, good fruit, good acid, just doesn’t have the logical conclusion. Nice and rich and broad though, perhaps needs more time in the bottle.

D’Anton 2010 (silex)
Flintiness smacks you in the face, very expressive jumps out of the glass. Ripe and tropical, quite a lot going on in the wine. Exuberant is the word. Much better balance and extension, nice and ripe tropical fruit fills the mouth, well contained acids, very young and will benefit from age.

D’Anton 2002 (silex)
Opening up nicely, flint and lees subsiding and richness ripeness of the tropical stone fruit expressing more. Quite intense and fruit sweet, no green edges to it at all, big and bold expression, still very young though. The characters seem to come in stages; first mineral, then fruit, then winemaking, then maturity.

Etienne Henri 2010 (new oak vinification)
Toasty marmalade notes, quite intense but not too powerful in expression. Ripe low-yielding crop, high acidity and density, quiet at the moment, still to early to see the true potential and character.

Les Baronnes 2009 (pinot noir)
Clean pure, balance between red fruit and a little spicy stalk note. Pleasant easy-drinking varietal style. Good consistency and delivery.

La Bourgeoise 2009 (pinot noir)
Like raw pasta, kind of doughy, spicy red fruits. Pretty quiet actually, not showing a lot. Bright fruit sweet currants and cherries. Deeper and tighter tannin structure, quite long in tannins in fact, a little overworked and unsubtle.

Le Chene Saint-Etienne 2002 (pinot noir)
Deep hauntingly complex, smoky meaty and mushroomy, very subtle red fruits. Not heavy but pretty dense, good acids, breadth but it’s all about the savoury elements with this wine. It will continue to evolve, but I’m concerned there’s not enough intensity and weight to it to fill out the structure. Seems to indicate umami on the nose but doesn’t deliver on the palate.

Vendage de la Saint Luc 2007 (late harvest, 45g/L sugar)
Lovely smoky flinty minerality, not showing much fruit for now quite subdued. Full flavoured, but also very well balanced acid and sugar. Sweet and fruity but also contributing a lot of savoury elements like minerality and a very delicate hint of green characters. Not obviously sweet and certainly not cloying, a wonderfully diverse food companion.
A barrel of Henri Bourgeois wine

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