Mon 17 Feb 2014

1969 Mâcon from Bonhomme


Bonhomme make modestly priced Mâcon which keeps very well.

To prove the point, Aurelien Palthey kindly opened this 1969 for Tim Sykes and me in November.

1979 Macon fron Bonhomme

It is very mature but still very much alive. Lovely flavours of hazelnuts, butter and crème brûlée.

We are selling the 2012 Cuvée Spéciale in our opening offer at the end of February.

Toby Morrhall
Society Buyer For Burgundy

Edit (17/2/2014): This offer is now available.


  1. John McLusky says:

    What a treat to enjoy a splendid 1979 Mâcon Blanc thirty-five years later en cave. Worth bearing in mind, however, that the same or similar wine, even one much, much younger shipped at the time and purchased from the best of sources, stored (eg) under the stairs, in the garage or even ideally, may possibly more resemble vinegar.

    • Toby Morrhall says:

      Dear John,

      Bonhomme’s wines are unusually firm and long lived for a modestly priced wine from the Mâconnais. But yes of course we don’t recommend keeping them 35 years!

      We give a drinking date for Bonhomme’s Viré-Clessé Cuvée Spéciale 2012 of 2016-2020 (bottled with a Diam cork for us) in the opening offer, which is now live.

  2. John Legg says:

    Dear Toby,
    It is wonderful that the wine was so good after 35 years. It would be even more noteworthy if it was 45 years (1969 appears twice in the above note) but in any event it is always interesting to hear of occasions such as this one.
    Thank you.

  3. John Legg says:

    Dear Toby,
    Since writing the above comment earlier today, I have looked at the 2012 Opening Offer for Burgundy where you mention the opening of a 1969 under the Bonhomme entry. That is the year that is mentioned twice in this Grapevine entry.
    However in the email introducing the entry the references are to the year being 1979, hence the confusion – was it 1969 and 45 years old or 1979 and a mere 35.

  4. Toby Morrhall says:

    Dear John,

    It was a 1969, sorry for the confusion.

  5. Will Barraclough says:

    I have had various vintages of this, and I often keep it beyond the recommended drinking range. I currently have 2 bottles of the 2005 left (originally to be drunk by 2010 according to the offer notes), but I have confidence they will be lovely. It is not long since I had a bottle of 1999 and my father is also a fan, also keeping them longer than suggested.

    So another commendation, subject to decent storage, to keep these wines to maturity.

  6. Guy Dennis says:

    Did Bonhomme manage to avoid premox issues, and if so, is there any theory about how they managed it (when others didn’t)?

    • Toby Morrhall says:

      Dear Guy,

      We had one problem of premox with Bonhomme, as we have had with virtually every producer. André Bonhomme always kept an eye on pH and harvested at relatively high levels of acidity and lower levels of sugar than many in the Maconnais. His grandson Aurélien now making the wine follows a similar path. As you know, my view is that premature oxidation occurs when a fragile wine is bottled with a batch of porous corks. The variablilty in porosity explains why some wines from the same case can vary in the levels of oxidation. In the 60s and 70s the climate was cooler, the wines more acid, and I think cork quality was better. Today wines are riper and less acid and so need to be protected with enough sulphur and good closures. They now bottle with Diam 5 for us. Since bottling with Diam we have had no problems. For me a well set up bottling line, checking oxygen with a meter, accurate sulphuring of the wine and a good closure such as Diam or a screw cap goes a long way to avoiding premox.

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