An outstanding Grower producer who has taken his family vineyards, converted them to biodynamics and is making some outrageously good and decidedly Burgundian flavoured Champagnes. For the most part Cedric Bouchard works with single variety, single vintage and single vineyards. That leaves not a lot of margin for error, but it’s working for him so far.
This is from the Val de Vilaine vineyard in the Cote des Bar and based on, if not exclusively the 2012 vintage although listed as a NV. The wine itself is hard to describe except to say it is a wonderful ride of savoury, earthy ‘of the land’ flavours with a perfume both fleeting and satisfying. The texture and structure could be that of Burgundy and the slippery slope of enjoyment is certainly on a par. This is not for casual sipping, it is for enjoying over a long time and really allowing the wine to unfold and dance in the glass. Serve it in a wine glass, not too cold and even consider decanting. Food matching would be a restrained mezze plate with various flavours. Cellaring is absolutely on the cards.
Cotes des Bar
Part of the Aube district where the soils types and indeed geographically they closer to Chablis and Burgundy than the traditional Champagne profile. The limestone base and continental climate make it perfect for Pinot Noir.
A wine region of France approximately 160km East of Paris. It is also the name of the wines produced from the area. Most famously it is a sparkling wine that undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle and is aged on lees. Although there is the occasional still wine you can find around particularly Pinot Noir. The fantastically named Bouzy Rouge is one such example. There are very few single vintage, single vineyard, single variety Champagnes (I can only name one and it was produced only 47 times between 1900 and 1999). Why? Due to the large area the region covers, and the challenging weather the houses blended wines to produce a consistent and reliable product every year. This is where the growers come in. They relish the chance to show off vintage variation and small plot wines.
This is the most elusive grape. It is relatively early ripening and extremely sensitive to terroir. Its perfect place on earth is the Cote d’Or in Burgundy. So haunting are great red Burgundy’s charms that growers everywhere try to emulate them. Pinot Noir is not just a one trick pony, it can make great reds, rosé, sparkling and even sweet wines, whites on occasion and I’ve tasted a decent fortified Pinot Noir too.