Cédric Bouchard is one of the fastest rising stars of Champagne. Having only started his own label in 2000, he has quickly earned a reputation as Champagne’s most talented new wine producer, and was awarded the title of Champagne’s finest winemaker for the year 2008 by the Gault Millau. Bouchard embraces a revolutionary philosophy of bottling single vineyard, single variety (Pinot Noir, Chardonnay or Pinot Blanc), and single vintage cuveés. Rather than blending different sources and vintages to make a single cuvée, as is the long-standing norm in Champagne, Bouchard prefers to make a wine that is representative of the vintage and place of origin. He seeks to create individual wines of great character each year from his single vineyard bottlings. Each wine is made only from juice from the first pressing, fermented only with indigenous yeast and handled meticulously in the cellar to guarantee the finest wines possible. He believes in a long, slow and cool second fermentation which creates smaller, finer bubbles, and helps to enhance the vinosity of the underlying wine. The wines are produced with no dosage and with the goal of allowing the unique terroir of each wine to take center stage.
Bouchard began his career in 2000 with only 1.37 hectares of vines in the village of Celles-sur-Ource in the Côte des Bar region of Champagne. His approach in the vineyards seeks to maximize quality every step of the way. Additionally, he farms organically, dramatically restricts yields (among the lowest in Champagne) and places extra emphasis on picking at the optimum moment. There are three distinct bottlings from his own vineyards which are all bottled under his Roses de Jeanne label. Bouchard has grown his initial holdings by working 1.47 hectares of vines owned by his father, which he farms with the same meticulous care as his own parcels. From these vineyards he produces Blanc de Noirs cuvées bottled under the Champagne Inflorescence label. The two distinct lineups include the following wines:
Inflorescence Val Vilaine - 100% Pinot Noir from the 1.5 hectare lieu-dit of Val Vilaine. 300-500 cases produced annually.
Inflorescence La Parcelle - 100% Pinot Noir from the 1.5 hectare lieu-dit of Côte de Bachelin. Spends a full three years on the lees, and thus, is always bottled as a vintage cuvée. 150 cases produced annually.
Roses de Jeanne Les Ursules - 100% Pinot Noir from the .9 hectare lieu-dit of Les Ursules. This wine is currently unavailable as Bouchard aims to release it as a vintage bottling in 2014 and it is resting sur lie. 250-300 cases produced annually.
Roses de Jeanne La Haute-Lemblée - 100% Chardonnay (five different clones) from the .12 hectare lieu-dit of La Haute Lemblée. Extremely limited production.
Roses de Jeanne Bolorée - Very old and rare Pinot Blanc from a 0.217 hectare lieu-dit known as La Boloree. Bouchard was initially uninterested in the parcel, but it landed in his lap after he drew the shorter straw in a dual between growers. Today, it is perhaps his most cherished site. Extremely limited production.
Roses de Jeanne Le Creux d’Enfer Rosé - 100% Pinot Noir from the .07 hectare lieu-dit of Le Creux d'Enfer. That's just a few rows! Made by the “saignée” method of crushing the Pinot Noir and running off the juice after several hours of skin contact to produce the classic rosé color (rather than adding a bit of still red wine). Extremely limited production.
Bouchard’s wines are characterized by uniquely soil-driven personalities, with the underlying terroir of each parcel jumping from the glass with a purity of expression that is extremely rare in Champagne. These are brilliant wines made from a young, perfectionist vigneron who is likely to completely revolutionize the landscape of Champagne before he writes the last chapter on his career.
One serving note: While you can enjoy Bouchard's Champagnes like other Champagnes, he recommends gently decanting them and serving them in regular wine glasses instead of flutes.