100% Pinot Blanc
Tasting a Champagne made from 100% Pinot Blanc is of course rare – but it’s really the style of Cédric Bouchard, which always makes me re-think Champagne.
Cédric Bouchard is one not only redefining Champagne, but he is bending the wheel in such a way - that it’s not just about being different - but making something spectacular and something which will twist you own mind and palate. Even if his Champagnes aren’t new to me anymore, I always know, that things like the traditional aroma wheel is not valid on this planet and you always have too feel the Champagne more like a character – than a liquid which you can just dissect into small aromatic notes. I have to say, that the rising familiarity with his Champagnes – is not only a comfortable zone – it’s also a style, which I feel myself much more drawn to.
I had very high expectation towards 2006 La Bolorée as the 2005 vintage simply blew my mind. ’06 is much more reserved and it was really nice at first – but nothing more. The spices or should I say herbal character were dominating too much and simply ruining the balance as it overpowered the other notes. I took a small break for 20 minutes and just rested it in an ice bucket (not so much ice…you have to keep the serving temperature around 10-13 degrees). The wine had transformed into a small miracle. The purity is now able to shine, together with an enormous energetic fruit core. The herbs are now transformed into extremely refined spices, which goes into a pot of notes, which is not something you see everyday. I had to focus really hard and found small portions of; ginger, wet rocks, slate, hay, citrus, lime and mandarin peel. Even though I have listed 7 notes – I am not even sure they are “correct” – because it’s not how this works. The note “wet rocks” and “slate” is a way of me to describe a raw side of this Champagne and it’s a reminder how young this Champagne is – but also how much terroir character it has.
But we are not finished yet. You see – one of the other miracles of resting this Champagne was bringing out the vinous side. The bar pressure is already low (4.5 vs 6.0), but as the mousse settles down you sense the sleek and silky style even more, and this is a trademark of all the Champagnes of Cédric Bouchard. The taste is magnificent, but also very demanding. The spices and the bone-dry style are making a significant and raw impact and it’s not for those who seek their palate to be tickled with a velvet brush.
This is one of the most unique Champagnes there is and I adore it. However – I have to recommend cellaring for the 2006 vintage. 4-5 years seems like a good guess.