93, AG (2016):
The 2016 Blanc de Noirs Val Vilaine is gorgeous in this vintage. Ample and creamy on the palate, with tremendous textural richness, the 2016 dazzles from start to finish. I can't remember a vintage of the Val Vilaine that was this complete and harmonious. Moreover, the Val Vilaine is a terrific introduction to Cédric Bouchard and his wines, especially for readers who can't find some of the more smaller-production cuvées. Non-dosé. Disgorged: April 2018.
Bouchard was born into a winegrowing family, but he only discovered a passion for his métier while working as a caviste—or wine merchant—in Paris. Returning to his hometown in the late 1990s, he began his tiny domaine when his father gifted him just under one hectare of Pinot Noir vines in lieu-dit Les Ursules. “I was delighted at the time, but Les Ursules is north-facing, and it really isn’t easy to ripen grapes, so in retrospect it was something of a poisoned chalice.” he laughs.
The 2000 vintage was Bouchard’s first, and from the beginning, his approach has challenged almost all the precepts of conventional Champagne. In a region dominated by blends, all his wines derive from a single vineyard, a single grape variety and a single vintage.
Intervention is minimal: Ambient microflora are responsible for both alcoholic and malolactic fermentation, and Bouchard has only racked a wine twice in his career. When the wines are bottled, Bouchard adds less sugar than most producers, resulting in lower pressure inside the bottle, and encourages a leisurely prise de mousse of some three months.
Cedric BOUCHARD, Roses de Jeanne, Cote de Val-Vilaine 2018