The Bermudian man from Burgundy

  • Local venture: David Butterfield, the Bermudian owner of Butterfield Wine

    Local venture: David Butterfield, the Bermudian owner of Butterfield Wine


I may refer to David Butterfield as “the man from Burgundy” but let me put this in perspective, his dad George and myself were in the same classes at school here many years ago.

As Bermudian as any of us, David fell in love with France, the wines of Burgundy and, most importantly of all with Juliette, the daughter of a highly respected Burgundy winemaker.

This is why David resides in Burgundy and is in the business of making his own fine wines.

His wines have been reviewed favourably by quite a few critics, including Britain’s Decanter magazine and the highly respected Guide Hachette des Vins, France’s wine-buying manual.

Let me quote what David has to say: “At Butterfield Wine, we’re proud to be part of 2,000 years of ongoing wine history and culture.

“We’re active participants in the movement towards environmental respect and common sense in grape growing and winemaking, which ultimately plays a part in sustaining the dynamic of Burgundy.

“The remarkable advances in wine science in the last 40 years has allowed a much deeper understanding of the process of transformation from grapes to wine. However, it’s the parts that we can’t dissect scientifically that create the real underlying fascination with Burgundy — the mystery remains unchanged.

“Burgundy views itself through the notion of terroir, the concept that grapes grown in a specific place will yield a wine of individual style with identifiable aromas and a unique energy.

“Some surface-level factors that help explain terroir: It is the somewhat non-tangible elements, like the telluric energy of a particular site, its history, the micro-organisms that share the space or the demineralisation of the bedrock (to greater or lesser extents absorbed by the root system) that effect the terroir the most and what unquestionably lies beneath the real mystery of the individuality of Burgundy.”

In case you were looking it up, I understand that telluric energy is a natural electric current flowing near the earth’s surface.

David joined a work/study programme in viticulture and oenology at the local wine school in Beaune.

He was granted a brevet professionnel from the Ministry of Agriculture in France upon graduation in 2003.

Between 2001 and 2004, he worked with several prominent producers in Burgundy and New Zealand before starting his own operation in 2005.

Today, Butterfield Wine exists as a small stand-alone winery in the picturesque town of Beaune, where it sources small parcels of quality grapes from around Beaune and Meursault.

We became involved when I heard that he was thinking of devoting all his time to his venture in France and could possibly be interested in divesting himself of Discovery Wines, that he founded here some years ago. They are now part of our team.

Small wineries often do not submit many, or any, of their wines for review and this is the case with Butterfield Wines; I get the impression that David would almost rather that we form our own impressions and not be influenced by others.

My first real tasting was after business had been concluded and I enjoyed his Meursault with him and his father.

I mentioned that “it rather sneaked up on me” as it started quietly and then fully revealed itself.

I feel vindicated by the Burgundy Report that says this of the Butterfield 2014 Meursault: “A finer, more direct aromatic that opens slowly into a proper Meursault vernacular. Lovely flavour, proper Meursault with a hint of flavour richness as opposed to textural richness — so good freshness. Yum!”

We have recently switched to the 2015 and the good news is that this is a fabulous year. Wine Enthusiast magazine says, “It is one of the best of the century and shaping up to be something particularly remarkable.” Butterfield Meursault 2015 sells for $69.15.

Meursault Premier Cru Les Charmes is truly the cream of the crop; Discovery lists 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2014. Prices vary from $84.35 to $91.65. Burgundy Report says of the 2014: “Large-scaled but not fat, a mineral note close to reduction. Wide and fresh, layered flavour with an undertow of mouthwatering flavour. Covetable wine. There are fresher charmes in 2014 but you won’t find many better.”

I have found a comment from Jancis Robinson on the Butterfield Bourgogne Blanc Chardonnay 2014: “From a parcel called Les Vaux close to Jacques Prieur’s domaine in northern Meursault. Most goes to Japan. Broad start and racy palate. Lots of lime juice but a hint of lemon syrup too. Unusually youthful for this appellation.” $26.90.

There are ten Butterfield reds at Discovery, including the inexpensive Butterfield Bourgogne Rouge 2014 Pinot Noir at $27.35.

I will finish with the Butterfield Volnay 1er Cru Les Santenots 2014 and another review from the Burgundy Report: “Deeper fruit, a little darker, a little faint flowers but overall quite a primary nose. Lovely complexity here, really a wine of width rather overt depth.” $70.10.

This article is timely, as David is visiting us now.

This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. E-mail mrobinson@bll.bm or 295-0176. Burrows Lightbourn has stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554), Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355) and St George’s (York Street, 297-0409). Visit www.wineonline.bm

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Published Oct 26, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Oct 26, 2018 at 8:12 am)

The Bermudian man from Burgundy

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