Few wine regions are as steeped in tradition as Bordeaux. While this has had many benefits – being world-renowned for high quality wine is an enviable position—it has also created challenges for wineries wishing to create a new path in the region. For Famille Bouey, the answer is to respect the past while innovating for today’s wine consumers who want drinkable, fresh wines at value prices.
The Bouey family has been growing grapes and winemaking in Bordeaux’s Medoc region for two centuries, starting when Jean Bouey first planted vines there in 1821. In recent years, the winery committed to an environmental management system, which shifted the vineyards away from artificial chemical treatments and towards biodiversity on their lands.
I had the opportunity to taste through much of the current Famille Bouey portfolio at a media dinner at the Capital Grille in midtown.
Our introduction to the winery was an entry level wine called Oh la Vache! (holy cow!) 2020. Fun labeling and a fresh, accessible palate make this a crowd-pleasing red. It’s comprised of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and has a fruit-forward character and no perceptible tannins.
Famille Bouey Cuvee 11 2019 is a wine made from 100% Merlot. 2019 was a good growing season that produced a wine redolent of blackberry, black plums, and raspberry flavors, as well as low tannin and fresh acidity. This wine is a great value at $12.99 The number eleven in the name is a nod to Jean Bouey’s first 11 hectares that he planted in 1821.
Famille Bouey Cuvee 20 2020 is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. The number twenty in the name references when the fourth generation of the Bouey family joined the business in 2020. This wine had fresh blackberries and balsamic notes on the nose and palate and well-integrated tannins. This young Cabernet could certainly age, and at $12.99 it would be great to see how it developed.
Family Bouey Cuvee 58 2019 is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine had a more complex aroma with blackberries and balsamic notes on the nose and a layered palate with black fruit and a hint of white pepper. It had considerable length and well-integrated tannin. I found this wine delicious – and what a great value at $14.99. The 58 in the name honors the year 1958 when Roger Bouey founded Maison Bouey.
Famille Bouey Les Parcelles No. 8 2020 is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. This wine had more structure with red fruit and cloves on the palate and silky tannins. The “parcelles” are single vineyard plots that have distinctive soils, from clay to chalky limestone. Ready to drink --or suitable to put away--it sells for $19.99.
Maison Blanche Merlot Cabernet 2020 blends the two most iconic grapes of the Bordeaux region. The wine has a nose of cherries and chocolate with firm tannins and nice length.
I found that all the wines from Famille Bouey were fresh, with low tannins, and all seemed to have a straightforward approach that showcased the traditional grapes of Bordeaux. They are all priced well, and I encourage wine lovers who may have shied away from Bordeaux in the past to definitely give them a try.