Lamé-Delisle-Boucard: Blue-chip Bourgueil

Created in 1869, Domaine Lamé-Delisle-Boucard pioneered independent winemaking, bottling its first wines in the legendary 1947 vintage. It has never been divided up through inheritance and currently extends over 44 hectares, producing hallmark Bourgueil wines.

 

 

The present-day estate is run by fifth-generation Philippe and his sister Stéphanie, along with their partners Patricia and Eric. Their vineyards are located in four of the appellation’s seven villages and form a mosaic of 61 individual plots with average vineyard age over 35 years. The wines are made mostly from Cabernet Franc, though up to 10% Cabernet-Sauvignon is permitted, and show strong sense of place. Vines located on gravelly or clay-silica soils produce quite elegant, supple offerings, whilst those sourced on ‘aubuis’ or tufa soils (clay-limestone ) are robust, tannic and extremely age-worthy. Slightly firm in their youth, the wines soften after a few years’ cellaring and this propensity to mature well is one that Lamé Delisle Boucard fully takes advantage of, setting aside approximately half its vineyards for mature offerings. Once the wines are bottled, they are kept for two years before being released by the Touraine-based estate. Its Bourgueil is fermented in a 7,000-litre tun dating back to the 1970s. It develops aromas of red fruits – raspberry and redcurrant – along with spice notes. With time, its nose flows into notes of sour cherry and candied fruits and its palate becomes complex and silky with absolutely amazing length.  The latest example of its age-worthiness is the sumptuous 1976 which retains incredible freshness and balance, year after year.

 

 

The only cloud on the horizon is the 2016 vintage which delivered a diminutive amount of grapes due to several devastating spells of frost in the spring. The fruit that was harvested, though, is of a remarkable standard and should produce some irreproachable wines.

 

Perhaps another 1976, forty years on?