Domaine Bouard-Bonnefoy sets the standard for naturally made, wistful, and concentrated white Burgundy. This winemaking family embodies the artisanal Burgundy many believe has disappeared. Carine Bonnefoy is the fourth generation of a Chassagne winemaking family, her husband and winemaker Fabrice Bouard helped her take over the family production. The estate has always been small, 8 hectares of old vine sites passed down through the Bonnefoy family. The winery is the family garage; their cars are parked outside! Carine and Fabrice eschew modern farming and use traditional methods, hand pruning and harvesting, pressing in a hand-cranked wooden basket press, wild yeast fermentation, and limited use of new oak. This attention to the old-style details is summed up during bottling, all bottles produced are labeled and corked by hand.
The first thing you see when you climb down into Fabrice Bouard's cellar is the family's ancient grape press, a large wooden press built in 1946 that could easily be mistaken as a bit of historic décor. Unlike his Burgundian neighbors, this isn't merely a conversational piece. Fabrice actually uses this manual press on every vintage, even though it takes a full day to finish its work (compared to two to three hours for a modern press). Tradition reigns at the house of Bouard-Bonnefoy, and although he doesn't credit the press with the fact that his wines cellar beautifully year after year and that they never experience premature oxidation, he doesn't discount the possibility. At the end of the day, Fabrice will be the first to say that the real stars of Bouard-Bonnefoy are neither press nor winemaker. The stars are the vines, and thanks to his wife Carine, Fabrice has access to some of the rarest hillside plots in Chassagne-Montrachet. Carine's father, celebrated as one of Chassagne's finest growers, owns the estate's ten modest acres and continues to farm them by hand.