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Among the visionary growers of Champagne, Cédric Bouchard of Roses de Jeanne might be considered something of an auteur. Which is to say that all of his efforts in the vines and cellar advance his vision: that expression of each vineyard is paramount. Contrary to the Champenois tradition of blending, each cuvée is derived from one grape and one parcel and one vintage. The grapes are vinified to maximize the sense of terroir and fruit while eliminating those elements that Bouchard finds extraneous. To this end the base wines are fermented in stainless steel (he has described wood as “makeup”), he never chaptalizes, and always vinifies without filtering, fining or cold stabilization. Finally, the wines are bottled with no dosage under less pressure than other Champagnes to produce a more delicate bead, thereby lending more transparency to the terroir within. There is a great purity to these Champagnes, which are taut, dry, vinous, and frank in their minerality. While it is considered controversial by some, if there is a Champagne that lends itself to decanting, young Roses de Jeanne can often benefit from a bit of air to allow it to unfurl. And just to mix things up M. Bouchard Cedric Bouchard has the labels this year. Each label has a sort of code on the front, instead of the cuvee name. For example, the 2014 Cote de Bechalin shows BE, r14 – the ‘r’ being for recolte (harvest). So the first two letter representing the cuvee, and then r+the vintage. Val Vilaine 2019, for example, will be VV/r19. é
Formerly known as Infloresence, as of 2012 Val de Vilaine, this Blanc de Noirs comes from a south-facing 1.49ha plot of vines in Polisy planted in 1974 owned by Cédric's father. If there's such a thing as an 'entry level' Champagne in Bouchard's lineup, this is it. Historically more approachable when young than Bouchard's other wines, Val de Vilaine, is now more tightly wound and concentrated as the already small yields were nearly halved to 26hl/ha bringing it in line with the other cuvées of Roses de Jeanne. Here you'll find a classic expression of Polisy terroir. (Please note this bottling is now identified with the new system of nomenclature: VV r19.) -John McIlwain
Côte de Béchalin (formerly known as La Parcelle when part of the Inflorescence lineup) comes from a meticulously farmed .73 hectare parcel in Celles-sur-Ource. Where previously Bouchard sold wines made by the former owner, he later vinified the wines in those cellars. 2007 was the first vintage where the wines were made completely in Cédric's cellars. While these Champagnes have seemed to have a broader palate with more exotic fruit, they maintain poise with pinpoint acidity. One can certainly enjoy this now, but some time in the cellar to further knit the elements of structure and fruit should pay off handsomely. (Please note the wine is now identified by the new nomenclature system as "BE r14.")-John McIlwain
In many ways Bolorée is as much an expression of Cédric Bouchard's aesthetic as it is an expression of terroir. It is made in tiny quantities from a 50-year-old parcel of Pinot Blanc planted on chalk rather than the typical argilo-calcaire (clay and limestone) of the Aube. And while Pinot Blanc can be a bit vapid in some cases, Bouchard's has a taut, mineral, and nervy architecture beneath the richness of the fruit. Now identified by the code "BO r17." John McIlwain
From .25 hecatre plot in Kimmeridgean soils of Pinot Noir co-planted 2007 to 10 different massale-selected cultivars. 36 months elevage. Identified by the PR r17 code on the front label.