An article on Cédric Bouchard...

Just wanted to flag up that one of my articles—on Cédric Bouchard’s Champagnes—is free-to-view on the Wine Advocate website. This was one of the pieces I enjoyed writing the most in 2019.


Really dove into these wines after you IG live video and have spent the time since amassing as much as I can (which can be quite difficult in the US when many stores will only sell single bottles of an allotment). Looking forward to following them over the years and the next few vintages, particularly the more difficult of recent to see how they perform in “off” years.

Glad to hear it! Don’t miss the 2012 Ursules…

I think with producers operating at Cédric’s level, which is to say not very many throughout the world, vintage variation results in more significant differences of character than quality.

Nice article, lots of detail that I hadn’t seen before William. I’ve been enjoying these since the 2009 vintage, though didn’t really start diving in until a few years later. Lovely wine.

Great article William.

I’m a fanatic for their wines. Style is totally in my wheelhouse

Outstanding article William. Interesting approach, skillfully written. Thanks for posting the link.

Great writeup William. Enjoyed reading it. Top 5 champagne producer for me!

Now I just need to find the 2012 domestically…not a lot out there outside current releases (though the 15’s have been spectacular young across the board).

Nice piece, William. I really like the wines, but struggle with two things: I have not found meaningful differences between the cuvees, and I’m not sure how they age. Would be interested in your thoughts.

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Well, I would reprise my comment on vintage variation not having a huge impact on the wines’ quality with reference to the different lieux-dits… Given Cédric’s maniac viticulture, these are nuances of site more than quality, and that’s why I struggle to pick a favorite in the range (Val Villaine gets my vote as “most improved”). Comparing 2012 Côte Bechalin with Ursules recently, for example, one tastes the sunnier south-westerly exposition of Côte Bechalin in the more exotic fruit tones; whereas north facing Ursules is more incisive and less broad, with crisper orchard fruit aromas. This is more akin to what one gets in Burgundy: think of the more floral, giving profile of Dauvissat’s Vaillons versus his more tightly-wound, chalky Séchet; or the more gourmand, voluptuous style of Rousseau’s Clos de Bèze vs the somewhat more reserved, less extrovert Chambertin. Even if one might prefer one cuvée over another, this will depend on personal taste or if a vintage really favored a particular site. It’s nothing like comparing a typical Grande Marque’s basic NV Brut with their top prestige cuvée.

My answer to your second question leads on from the first: Cédric’s Champagne evolve much more like still wines than most Champagne. A lot of the radical transformation that happens in most Champagne is related to Maillard-like reactions between sugars from dosage and amino acids from sur lattes aging: this is why ten years on cork, which results in a gradual evolution in a bottle of e.g. Coche-Dury Meursault, results in an entirely different aromatic expression in a bottle of Comtes de Champagne. Since Cédric isn’t using any dosage, and nor is there residual sugar in his vins clairs (in itself quite rare, and one of many reasons why tasting vins clairs is in my opinion far less informative than some commentators make out), so in my experience, going back to his very first disgorgements, the evolution is very gradual and quantitative rather than qualitative. That’s not to say the wines don’t improve with time, because they do, but it it not a step change. Indeed, given that his '15s and '16s are a lot better than his '05s and '06s, and that the latter are still cruising along today, I suspect these wines will be very long lived indeed.

Thanks for the specific examples in this response William. Often I find vineyard comparisons vague or downright incomprehensible, but these are crystal clear.

Very informative, William. Thank you!

Great article, William. Is the “Inflorescence” line the second brand with Roses de Jeanne its first?

I believe wines from his father’s vineyards were bottled under the Inflorescence label, which is no more after 2013. I’m not sure If that means he now owns the vines or if the moniker was just dropped.

This producer was my gateway drug to champagne. Great stuff…

Correct! He now owns the vines and beginning with the 2014 vintage all the wines are under the same label.

Great post. Quick question, have there been any cases of Pre-ox of his wines?



Great article; really well done. It reminded me of how much I enjoy Cédric’s wines, what a great man and soul he is, and how long it has been since I visited with him. The ageability and improvement potential of his wines is an interesting one. Early on, I think there were two clear camps on this. One side thought the wines would age very well and make a marked improvement. The other side (which I was on) thought these were mostly early drinkers that would not improve with time and likely would not age all that well. A dozen or so years later and I think both sides were wrong and the real answer is in the middle which I think you alluded to above.

The wines actually have aged quite a bit better than I thought, but I dont’ feel they have improved. For me, in general, with time they have softened up a bit and lost some brightness, but nothing drastic. My preference for these wines is still to consume them within a couple years of release as I love the elegant, delicate, bright fruitiness they show in their youth (or the bright, seductive, mysterious darkness that the Creux d’Enfer shows in some vintage). I’ve also found that after being opened for a few hours, the wines really lose a good deal of their elegance and fruit. I have never figured this out. It isn’t related to the loss of bubbles, but following Bouchard’s wines across a long dinner or a couple days is never a positive to me. All of this is still a head scratcher to me and I can’t logically wrap my arms around what is happening. He definitely does things a bit differently from most so that may ultimately be the reason for a lot of this.

*Edited because I left out a period in the 5th sentence of the 2nd paragraph

Appreciate your input too Brad. I’ve only had recent releases from Bouchard, but given the immense pleasure I get out of them now, I don’t know that I see a personal benefit of holding them more than a couple of years.

Look forward to hopefully getting my hands on the saignee some day, even if it takes a trip over to Champagne.

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