This year's Decanter World Wine Awards International Trophy for the Best in Show Chardonnay under £15 went to Albert Bichot, Secret de Famille Chardonnay, Bourgogne, France 2012 (13%)
- Marisco, The King’s Legacy Chardonnay, Marlborough, New Zealand 2011
- Pandolfi Price, Los Patricios Chardonnay, Itata Valley, Chile 2010
- Greatwall, Terroir Superior Selection Chardonnay, Shandong, China 2008
- Trivento, Golden Reserve Chardonnay, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina 2012
This trophy is heading to Burgundy – the spiritual home of Chardonnay – seeing off four New World contenders, including an excellent example from China. Our experts singled this wine out for its elegance, purity and fresh fruit. ‘It’s a brilliant, exciting wine and a really good direction for Chardonnay,’ they claimed. ‘Vibrant but smooth with a long, bracing finish and would get a high score even if over £15.’
The Bichots have been Burgundy residents since 1350, though it was only when Bernard Bichot took control of the family finances in 1831 that wine became its business. Bernard’s grandson was the first of a series of Alberts, and it is currently an Albéric (representing the sixth generation) who heads up the company, having taken charge in 1996.
Bichot owns 100 hectares of vines across Burgundy, but vinifies 50ha more as part of its négociant business. Increasingly the fruit is bought whole, prior to crushing, to better control quality from the outset; Christophe Cavel has been the vineyard manager since 2000, focusing on just this. Viticulture here is entirely organic, although like many in Burgundy, Bichot lacks the desire to jump through the hoops necessary to gain official status. Average vine age here is a 30 years, with about 3% being replanted each year.
Winemaking responsibilities at Bichot fall to technical director Alain Serveau, who starts the majority of his ferments with natural yeasts, and uses gravity control to move wines and juice around the cellar. Of this Trophy winner, he says his aim is simply ‘to make a wine for both lovers of Burgundy and wine novices alike that won’t break the bank’; he handles his fruit as gently and sympathetically as possible to express this.
Written by Decanter