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Val Vilaine Champagne Inflorescence Domaine Cédric Bouchard

Val Vilaine Champagne Inflorescence Domaine Cédric Bouchard

White | Drink now | Domaine Cedric Bouchard | Code:  952873 | France > Champagne > Blanc de Noirs | Pinot Noir | Medium-Full Bodied, Brut | 12.5 % alcohol

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Scores and Reviews

WA

93+/100

WA - The NV Blanc de Noirs Inflorescence Val Vilaine possesses breathtaking textural elegance and fabulous balance. Green apples, pears, spices, ash and flowers are some of the nuances that flow from this seductive Champagne. In many years Val Vilaine can be piercing in its youth, but in 2009 the warmth of the year has given the wine an extra level of richness that is very welcome. Val Vilaine is made from 35 year-old Pinot Noir vines in the Cote de Val Vilaine lieu-dit.

Cedric Bouchard remains at the forefront of innovation in Champagne. Yields are minuscule, even by the most exacting definition. The wines are fermented with indigenous yeasts and are bottled unfined and unfiltered with no dosage. Bouchard is adamant that he wants to stay at a size where he alone can do all of the work, so readers should not expect production to increase in a meaningful way, at least not any time soon.

There is a new Champagne in the works, though, a 100% Pinot Noir from La Proele, a tiny parcel of just 0.025 hectares (15 rows) planted with 10 different Pinot rootstocks. This is the same parcel Bouchard had used for his Coteaux Champenois Pinots, a project he has since abandoned, as he wasn’t happy with the quality of the wines. 

Bouchard plans to phase out the Infloresence brand by 2013/2014, once the ownership of the respective vineyards passes into his direct ownership. At that point, all of the wines will be sold under the Roses de Jeanne brand. Unfortunately the already tiny production is down by as much as 50% for the 2007 La Boloree, Haute-Lemblee and Creux d’Enfer because of hail damage, so the wines will be harder to find than usual.
Antonio Galloni - Wine Advocate #197 Nov 2011

WILLIAMS - Most grape growers in Champagne sell to the famous houses, but increasingly they are making wines themselves. Cédric Bouchard is one of the best, as this very dry, exhilarating and food-friendly wine shows.
David Williams, The Observer, 13 November 2011

The Producer

Domaine Cedric Bouchard

Domaine Cedric Bouchard

Cedric Bouchard is an enthusiastic and talented young grower who established his own Champagne House, Roses de Jeanne in 2000. At the time he started out as the smaller owner to produce his own label, with a total 1.09ha under vines. He has since emerged as one of the most promising, small Champagne producers, based in Aube.

Centred on the Medieval city of Troyes, and well on the way to Burgundy, the Aube is a completely autonomous area, its Champagnes shaped by the distinctive clay limestone soils and , of course by the warmer microclimate. This is Pinot Noir country, and in the enigmatic and almost Byronic Cédric Bouchard it may well have found its champion. Youthful ideals have prompted Cédric to eschew the methodology of his family and to set out on his own, practising a viticulture which is in essence (although not formally certified) bio-dynamic.

There are two ranges; the Inflorescence wines are made from vineyards owned by Bouchard's father, while the Roses de Jeanne wines are made from vineyards Bouchard owns himself.

The cuvées include: Two Blancs de Noirs Brut (100% Pinot Noir):  Les Ursules from a densely planted, very low-yield single Pinot parcel and Inflorescence (from several small parcels of Pinot Noir),  a Rosé de Saignée, Le Creux d'Enfer (100% Pinot Noir) and La Haute-Lemblée, Blanc de Blancs (100% Chardonnay).
 

The Grape

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is probably the most frustrating, and at times infuriating, wine grape in the world. However when it is successful, it can produce some of the most sublime wines known to man. This thin-skinned grape which grows in small, tight bunches performs well on well-drained, deepish limestone based subsoils as are found on Burgundy's Côte d'Or.

Pinot Noir is more susceptible than other varieties to over cropping - concentration and varietal character disappear rapidly if yields are excessive and yields as little as 25hl/ha are the norm for some climats of the Côte d`Or.

Because of the thinness of the skins, Pinot Noir wines are lighter in colour, body and tannins. However the best wines have grip, complexity and an intensity of fruit seldom found in wine from other grapes. Young Pinot Noir can smell almost sweet, redolent with freshly crushed raspberries, cherries and redcurrants. When mature, the best wines develop a sensuous, silky mouth feel with the fruit flavours deepening and gamey "sous-bois" nuances emerging.

The best examples are still found in Burgundy, although Pinot Noir`s key role in Champagne should not be forgotten. It is grown throughout the world with notable success in the Carneros and Russian River Valley districts of California, and the Martinborough and Central Otago regions of New Zealand.

The Region

Blanc de Noirs

Blanc de Noirs

Blanc de Noirs describes a wine produced entirely from black grapes. In Champagne, Blanc de Noirs cuvée can be made from the two black grapes permitted within the appellation, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Bollinger's prestige cuvée Vieilles Vignes Françaises, from ungrafted, old Pinot Noir vines, has set the yardstick in a style that is now produced by a number of other Champagne houses.

A typical Blanc de Noirs cuvée has a deep golden colour, and can be more intensely flavoured than the classic non-vintage, multi-grape blend.

Recommended Producers: Cedric Bouchard, Bollinger

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