99 Bouchard l'Enfant Jesus: 12 Years YOUNG

Posted by CrushWine

Vigne de l'Enfant Jésus
1999 Bouchard Beaune Grèves "Baby Jesus"
Here Today...
and at this Price, Gone Before Tomorrow

Strangely enough, from a house that makes wine from Grand Crus Montrachet, Bonnes Mares, Echézeaux and Clos Vougeot (to name but a few), many consider this humble little Beaune 1er Cru the flagship of the estate.

The Bouchard family bought this petite, 3.9-hectare plot (a monopole) in 1791, after the French Revolution brought the land from the church to the state.

This vineyard is a special place; a special wine. It is uncommonly powerful, deep, complex... multifaceted.

But the proof is in the bottle and as the blockbuster 1999 emerges from a decade of development, this is one of those wines that will embarrass many a Grand Cru. (As it is, in tastings, Bouchard often pours the l'Enfant Jesus after their Grand Crus, which says something both about the wine as well as the place it has at the estate.)

And today we have a few cases of the 1999 l'Enfant Jesus that we can offer at about the same price as the infantile 2009 which is just beginning to appear on the market. You can think of this as a decade of free cellaring if you'd like.

This is a wine that occupies a strange territory, sought out as it is by the value-minded Burgundy geeks as well as the blue-chip collectors. Few bottles bridge this gap - think of Drouhin's Clos des Mouches, Mugneret-Gibourg's Gevrey 1er (young-vine Ruchottes!) and Ramonet's Ruchottes.

The l'Enfant Jesus is a part of Beaune-Grèves, widely considered one of the very best in Beaune; it seems to combine the fullness of body, the confident style and muscle of a Pommard with the signature elegance of Volnay. Today, the 99 Enfant Jésus is dense with sweet, dark cherry fruit and a fine weave of tannins and acid, with a really exceptional elegance.

This wine has grown in stature in the last decade - the Burghound has had to correct his earlier underestimation. The wine has been upgraded in score, in verbiage and in its drinking window, which has been extended from 2010 to 2014+. In fact, this is one of those wines that has the reputation of aging for a long time - you hear strange stories of people opening bottles from the early 20th Century that are still singing.

In other words, while this wine is just coming into the zone, expect it to develop for quite a few years to come. Honestly, it wouldn't surprise us if in a few years the drinking window is extended again, and the reviews glow even more.

This is a smallish parcel, really just a few cases, so give us your dream order and we'll do our best to allocate. To order, please email us at offers@crushwineco.com or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Ian McFadden
Director, Fine & Rare Wine
Crush Wine & Spirits

1999 Bouchard Beaune Grèves
Vigne de l'Enfant Jésus

Special Email Bottle Price: $98.75

Burghound: I clearly under estimated this when I last had it as it has really started to blossom and it seems to have changed little except to have added materially to the overall sense of complexity. The expressive nose still offers plenty of dark and earthy red berry fruit that displays only the initial traces of secondary nuances with big-bodied flavors that possess notably more size and weight than one normally sees with the typical Beaune premier cru. The '99 Grèves is blessed with ample extract with still very firm tannins that will benefit from another decade in the cellar and while this could be enjoyed now, I personally will cellar my bottles for another 5 to 7 years at a minimum.

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