This week, I’m very proud to have a guest posting on my blog for the first time ever. Naturally, I wouldn’t trust just anyone to write on my blog. But brooklynguy, who writes one of my favorite wine blogs, always has astute things to say, and I welcome his contribution. We had dinner together in NYC this week, and among the many wines we drank together was this wonderful La Parcelle by Cédric Bouchard, which I have asked him to write up as my Wine of the Week. The current release of La Parcelle is the 2001, although this is not stated on the label, and curiously, the entire 2,000-bottle production was released exclusively in Japan and the United States, so if you live outside of those countries you won’t be able to find this wine, unfortunately. Cédric Bouchard’s Inflorescence and Roses de Jeanne champagnes are imported into the United States by Polaner Selections, Mt. Kisco, NY; Triage Wines, Seattle, WA; and Vintner Select, Mason, OH.
The following is brooklynguy’s review of this wine, presented entirely as he sent it to me, without edits or amendments:
I’m quite proud to write as a guest here on Besotted Ramblings and Other Drivel. A bit intimidated—this is, after all, the finest source of Champagne information on the internet. But I will do my best to share with you the Wine of the Week: Cédric Bouchard Champagne Inflorescence La Parcelle.
Even within the group of hipster grower/producers, Bouchard is doing some unusual things in Champagne. First of all, his wines are always based on a single vintage—no reserve wines are used. Even when the label says NV, the grapes used all come from the same summer. And even more mavericky, Bouchard makes only single vineyard wines. Yes, this is common everywhere else. No one talks about the Burgundy producer who makes wines individually for each vintage, and from individual vineyards. They all do that in Burgundy, and most everywhere else. Not in Champagne. Only a few producers offer even one single vineyard wine, although that number is rising.
This is not to say that single vintage, single vineyard Champagne is intrinsically better than other wines. Cédric Bouchard’s wines would most likely be fantastic and compelling if he were to blend vintages and parcels. It’s Bouchard and his good land, his great farming and vinification that makes these wines excellent. And in the end, there is something special about drinking the wines and knowing that you drink one specific time and place in the Aube’s Côte des Bar. My friend who drank this wine with us the other night said exactly that: “I’ve never tasted a Champagne like this one.”
Bouchard makes a Blanc de Blancs and several Blanc de Noirs. The wine we drank is a Blanc de Noirs from a vineyard called La Parcelle, all 2001 grapes, and it was just fantastic. The texture is immediately striking, very silky and fine with incredibly tiny bubbles. The nose is so delicate, so refined, and so vinous, with fragrant purple fruit resting on top of mushroomy earth. There is a definitely umami sense to the nose. The wine is richly expressive and broad, yet somehow completely contained and elegant. There is delicious dark fruit that is subtly infused with chalk, great clarity and focus, and a ridiculously long finish of dark fruit and flowers. This wine is delicate enough that I wouldn’t want to risk it with food—this is one to savor on its own.
Now, what if I told you that 2001 was one of the worst Champagne vintages in recent history? Can you imagine how good the 2002 version of this wine will be, for example? This wine is not cheap at $100 retail, but if you love Champagne it’s worth every penny. Production is small—usually a few hundred cases of each wine, and people are catching on quickly. There is a good chance that Bouchard’s wines will become much more expensive in the next 10 years, and even more difficult to find. If you haven’t done so already, it might be worth trying one now while it’s relatively easy.