Henri Bourgeois Le MD de Bourgeois Sancerre 2004

By , 4 January 2011



DSC02026As a family, we’ve found over the years that a very sensible way to count down the hours before midnight on New Year’s Eve is to match the best the cellar has to offer with a multi-course meal.

This time around Gosset Grande Reserve from magnum with the canapés consisting of ceviche of kingklip, green humus (made with garden peas instead of chickpeas) and Parmesan and almond biscuits; Henri Bourgeois Le MD de Bourgeois Sancerre 2004 with asparagus in Hollandaise sauce to follow; and then a flight of reds consisting of Cordoba Crescendo 1997, Chateau La Fleur-Pétrus 1998 and Beyerskloof 1999 with rack of lamb, potato bake and Mediterranean-style grilled vegetables. There was a bottle of Tokaji lined up to go with the frozen berries in white chocolate sauce but let’s just say that the company assembled had had elegant sufficiency by this stage.

The trio of reds were meant to be the highlight of the evening but were upstaged by the Henri Bourgeois Le MD de Bourgeois Sancerre 2004. The Cabernet Franc-driven Crescendo from the now non-operational Helderberg property was quite frankly a huge disappointment, appearing thin and tired. The Merlot-driven La Fleur-Pétrus from Pomerol and the Cabernet Sauvignon-driven Beyerskloof from Stellenbosch were both very good but then these are wines that come with high reputations.

By contrast, the Henri Bourgeois was a revelation. This is, of course, one of the most important houses in Sancerre and it is well known for the quality of its Sauvignon Blanc (Le MD de Bourgeois being one of its better bottlings from vineyards some 40 years in age near the hamlet of Chavignol) but how much to expect from Sauvignon, which even its most ardent supporters have to concede is not one of the noble varieties?

The 2004 was just fantastic, having good palate weight and showing lots of ripe tropical fruit but not at all overblown, soft but sufficient acidity lending balance – a style often emulated in South Africa but rarely achieved.

How did it work with the food? There are those that consider pairing Sauvignon with asparagus as unsophisticated, the wine too similar to the vegetable in flavour profile to reveal anything interesting but it’s a combination I like. In this instance, however, the food was secondary next to an utterly delicious wine. One of those bottles you wished wouldn’t come to an end.


5 comment(s)

  • Pieter3 June 2012

    03 June 2012. Drank our last bottle of the Henri Bourgeois Le MD de Bourgeois Sancerre 2004 with a chicken dish which was mixed with slices of lemon and anchovies. Absolutely superb (the food too). The girlfriend was right to choose it when we bought a case five years ago from the producer. I had thought all that tasting and swallowing, not spitting, had gone to her head, hey, I was wrong…this time!

  • Christian5 January 2011

    Hi, Kwispedoor. Regarding the Crescendo 1997, it bears mentioning that we were compelled to open two bottles, the first appearing very muted, which we put down to low-level TCA resulting in so-called flavour scalping. The second bottle was better but still not that impressive so possibly TCA again playing a role. They were from the same case of six and it is curious to me how often TCA seems to affect a sequence of wines.

  • Kwispedoor4 January 2011

    Had a 1997 Cordoba Crescendo about 18 months ago on a blind tasting of Bordeax-styled wines and it was superb. A few tasters did prefer some of the other riper wines to it, though. Perhaps by now starting to get old, or you just had a bad bottle?

    Also had a (much more humble) 2002 Chateau de Sancerre on a blind tasting in December, but it also kicked ass. When we revealed the wines, it transpired that there was also a 2002 Cloudy Bay, which specifically provided for interesting comparison (but scored a point lower on my scoring sheet).

  • Grant4 January 2011

    Happy New Year. Plenty of beer and some bubbles down here in Oz where it has been bloody hot, and cursed by a very cold cricket team. Have a great 2011.

  • Fiona4 January 2011

    You jogged my memory with the tasting note on Henri Bourgeois Le MD. I agree with you that it’s a fantastic wine and I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy it on more than one occasion. Probably the most memorable demonstration of what sets the Le Mont Damnnee (Mountain of the Damned – what a cool name!) apart was at Vinexpo in 2003. I dragged you, Mike and Harold to the Bourgeois stand and we tasted through the lineup. Making the point about the flinty notes and minerality on the wine, they cheerfully whacked two fist-sized hunks of rock – pieces of the Mont Damnee – together. There weren’t quite sparks flying but there was a distinct gunsmoke/flint aroma which is discernible on the wine. Plus there’s the South African connection in the form of a Vrystaatse meise married to the son and heir which makes H. Bourgeois appealing to us Saffers too!

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