Académie du Vin de Bouzy – Printemps des champagnes 2017

2017 PRINTEMPS DES CHAMPAGNES TASTING

On the 25th of April, in one of the famous champagne bar in Reims, the 17 winegrowers of the group called Académie du vin de Bouzy got together to offer to the professionals from all over the world their Bouzy wines. A unique opportunity for the wine lovers to discover and rediscover the rosé champagnes of this great winemakers as well as their famous red still wines : the Bouzy Rouge i.e Red Bouzy wine.

L’ Académie du vin de Bouzy association

In order to understand the origin of the association called L’ Académie du vin de Bouzy, it is important to go back in time. It is in 1929, during the difficult period between the two world wars, that the winegrowers are forced to commercialize directly their production. Indeed, with the crisis the Champagne Houses stop to purchase grapes leading the producers of Bouzy to directly market their red wines and their champagnes. Since that time, the Bouzy Rouge have been carried out by its winemakers, bringing that highly individual wine to an indisputable quality.

It is in 1992 that 17 winegrowers decided to create an association in order to maintain the tradition and know-how of this exceptional wine : L’Académie du vin de Bouzy was born. Together, the producers work hand in hand to bring even further this unique Coteaux de Champagne respecting the character of its crus and terroirs, searching for the best harmony between the plants and the soils, tasting together the different results… An association that beyond the technical reflection, promotes beautifully their philosophy and their wines.

Bouzy : an exceptional cru of Champagne

Located South East of the Montagne de Reims vineyard, Bouzy is a village classified 100% Grand Cru and worldwide known for the quality of its Pinots Noirs who produced highly individual champagnes as well as premium Coteaux Champenois – still wines – called Bouzy Rouge. With more than 380 hectares, the surface area of this exceptional vineyard is divided among the different grape varieties allowed in the Appellation : 329,60 hectares of Pinot Noirs, 46,70 hectares of Chardonnay and 0,60 hectares of Pinot Meunier as well as 0,30 hectares of other grape varieties. Part of the Côte des Noirs where the Pinot Noirs is the predilection grape variety, Bouzy benefits from deep soils with fine limestone and clay lying on chalky subsoils.

The vineyard of the village is a reference in Champagne as Bouzy wines differentiate themselves especially by their delicacy and their bouquet. Historically served at the king coronation in Reims, the red wine from the Montagne de Reims is part of the heritage of the wines of France. Pure expression of the Pinot Noir, the Bouzy rouge and its ruby color offers inimitable character with a large palet of aromas – strawberry, morello, redcurrant and even peach or elderberry – highlighted by the typical vivacity of Champagne.

One Appellation, one Cru, many identities

We start the tasting with Benoît from Champagne Benoît Lahaye. The Lahaye family has been producing champagnes since the nineteen-thirties in the village of Bouzy. Now run by Valérie and Benoît Lahaye representing the 4th generation, the estate covers a total of 4.4 hectares spread over the villages of Bouzy, Ambonnay and Tauxières-Mutry. Tasted during the event, the 2015 Bouzy Rouge Vin Clair – 100% Pinot Noirs vinified 1 month in jars – is frank, precise and aromatic with fresh grape flavors whereas the 2014 Bouzy Rouge offers smoky, raspberry and cherry notes. Finally, the Rosé de Macération champagne – 100% Pinot Noirs vinified in jars and with a 2 to 3 day maceration – is rich, supple and fresh expressing intense and harmonious fruit aromas – blackcurrant and strawberry.

Since 2007, Arnaud from Champagne Arnaud Moreau took over the family estate. 3rd generation of grower, he look after more than 4 hectares exclusively located on the prestigious terroirs of Bouzy and Ambonnay – two villages of the Montagne de Reims area that are both 100% Grand Cru. The cuvées are complex and voluptuous like the blending Rosé – 2011 bottling, 30% Chardonnay and 70% Pinot Noir including 10% of Bouzy Rouge -: a generous and expressive cuvée with ripe fruit notes. The 2016 Bouzy Rouge expresses stewed fruit and Morello cherry flavors with a complex character. As for the 2016 vin clair – future blended rosé with 30% of Chardonnay and 70% of Pinot Noir, including 10% of Bouzy Rouge – is harmonious and fresh offering red fruit aromas.

Located in the heart of the village of Bouzy since 1894, Champagne Camille Savès is now managed by Camille who represents the 5th generation of grower of her family. The estate is spread over about ten hectares in Bouzy, Ambonnay and Tours-sur-Marne – three villages classified as Grand Cru – as well as the Premier Cru terroir of Tauxières. Camille creates subtle and harmonious wines like the ones tasted during the event. First, the 2016 Bouzy Rouge Vin Clair is fruity and fresh with cherry notes highlighted by gentle tannins. The 2012 Bouzy Rouge is a round, profound and full-bodied wine with great structure and harmonious red fruit notes. As for the Brut Rosé – 60% Chardonnay, 28% Pinot Noir and 12% Bouzy Rouge -, the cuvée is delicate with butter, brioche and floral notes.

Winemakers in Bouzy for decades, independent winegrowers since 1930, at Champagne Alfred Tritant wines is a family matter. Following a sustainable approach, Jean Luc Weber takes care of the 2.5 hectares of vineyard spread over the terroirs of Bouzy and Ambonnay creating wines with great respect for quality traditions. The first tasted cuvée, the Brut Rosé – 45% Chardonnay, 45% Pinot Noir and 10% Bouzy Rouge – is generous, fruity and elegant with a great balance. The second wine, the 2016 Bouzy Rouge Vin clair is profound and precise with tannins and length. Finally, the Bouzy Rouge – 2013 Blending Coteaux – 2014 (80%) and 2012 (20%), blind selection of plots – is vinous and complex with a great structure as well as red berry and spicy notes.

For nearly 300 years, the growers of Champagne Jean Vesselle have been passing down their know-how from generation to generation. Today, Delphine and David Vesselle-Lemaire look after the 15 hectares of the estate all located between Bouzy and its surroundings as well as Loches sur Ource a village facing the Riceys, an area highly known for its rosé wines. The winegrowers offered 3 wines for 3 different Pinot Noir expressions. First, 2016 Rosé Vin clair – 100% Pinot Noir – is delicate with red fruits notes and showing a great potential. The 2006 Bouzy Rouge is fruity, fresh and tannic with an acidulous finish. Finally, the champagne called Cuvée Friandise – a Demi-Sec Rosé de Saignée – is fresh and delicate expressing anise notes like a “natural Kir royal”.

Founded in 1955, Champagne Maurice Vesselle is managed by Didier and Thierry Vesselle, two creative brothers who represent the 5th generation of the estate. Together the winegrowers take care of the 9 hectares of vineyard enhancing beautifully their 100% Grand Cru terroirs in Bouzy village. The tasting of the cuvées of the estate starts with the 2004 Bouzy Rouge : a delicate red still wine expressing blackcurrant and ripe Morello cherry notes as well as an elegant vinosity. As for the Brut Rosé Grand Cru champagne – 100% Pinot Noir, with short maceration – it offers similar ripe cherry notes from the Pinot Noir grapes but also strawberry aromas and a great freshness.

Founded in 1950, Champagne Jean-Marie Bandock is now run by Sylvain Bandock. The winegrower – 4th generation on the estate – takes care of 11 hectares of vineyard mainly located in Bouzy and farmed following sustainable viticulture principles. Jean-Marie offered 3 wines for the event. First, the 2014, 2015 Bouzy Rouge – vinified 6 months in barrels – is a subtle and full-bodied wine developing vanilla and fruity notes. Then, the 2016 Bouzy Rouge Vin Clair shows already a great potential with its spicy, Morello cherry notes as well as its beautiful finish on complexity. Finally, the Rosé cuvée – 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Chardonnay – is elegant, fruity, Bouzy typical but also chiseled with a finish similar to the vin clair one with fruitiness and freshness.

The estate of Champagne Paul Bara is established since 1833 in the village of Bouzy. Christian Forget is the sixth generation of grower in his family and managed with great respect of the terroir and its environment an estate of 11 hectares divided on the lands of the crus of Bouzy – 10.5 hectares – but also Ambonnay – 0.5 hectaresAmong the wines, the Grand Rosé cuvée – 70% Pinot Noir, 18% Chardonnay and 12% Bouzy Rouge – expresses a delicate vinosity and great freshness balanced with a fruity character and pastry aromas. As for the 2008 Bouzy Rouge, it offers stewed, red fruits flavors as well as vinous, smoky and mineral notes. From the last harvest, the 2016 Bouzy Rouge Vin Clair shows a great potential with generous, round and supple cherry flavors.

At Champagne Baron Dauvergne, the history of the estate starts in 1923. Now farmed by Vincent Dauvergne, the family benefits from 7 hectares of vineyard of their own, expressing perfectly and elegantly the character of terroir of the Côte des Noirs and more precisely of the village of Bouzy. For the event, the winegrower first chose to present his Rosé champagne – a blending cuvée of 42,5% Pinot Noir, 42,5% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Noir Bouzy Rouge : a generous and well-balanced wine with expressive red fruit and vinous character. The 2016 Bouzy Rouge Vin clair already develops smoky and acidulous notes for a future wine with complexity and elegance. Last but not least, the Bouzy Rouge offers discreet woody and small red fruit notes with a delicate minerality.

Since 1874, Champagne Barnaut estate has been settled in Bouzy. Today, almost  a century and a half  later, the tradition and philosophy of the House is perpetuated by Philippe Secondé, the fifth generation at the Domain. The 16.5 hectares of vineyard exclusively located in Bouzy are farmed following an highly sustainable viticulture approach. As for the wines, the 2016 Rosé de macération vin clair is lightly and elegantly bitter with fruity character. The Authentique Rosé champagne – 15% Chardonnay and 85% Pinot Noir – is generous and expressive with a lot of finesse and with cherry liquor notes. On the Coteaux side, the 2008 Bouzy Rosé “Clos Barnaut” vintage offers freshness and density with delicate fruitiness and minerality whereas the 2004 Bouzy Rouge is frank with spicy, stewed notes as well white pepper and Morello alcohol aromas.

Since the XVIth century, Champagne Herbert Beaufort has been established on the lands of Bouzy. The estate is now run by the fourth generation represented by Henri Beaufort who look after the 13 hectares of vineyard mainly located in the Grand Crus of Bouzy, Ambonnay and Tours sur Marne but also in Mareuil sur Ay – 1er Cru. To start the tasting, Henri offered to the visitors his Rosé Cuvée Yllen : a 100% Pinot Noir Grand Cru rosé de saignée developing generosity and roundness as well as red fruit notes – redcurrant and wild strawberries. The 2016 Bouzy Rouge Vin Clair is voluptuous and tannic with red fruit and Morello cherry aromas. Finally, the 2012 Bouzy Rouge vintage offers concentrate black fruit notes and a precise finish with refined tannins.

Founded about fifteen years ago (in 1994), Champagne Brice is guided by Remi and Jean-René Brice. The two brothers works hand in hand, taking care of the 8 hectares of vineyard. But the estate also relies on its supply of grapes coming from about 20 hectares spread over the crus of Aÿ, Bouzy, Cramant and Verzenay. Remi and Jean-René presented 3 wines : first, the 2016 Bouzy Rouge Vin Clair already develops elegant tannins and a pleasant freshness. The 2012 Bouzy Rouge – a 100% Pinot Noir still wine from massal selection – is structured with delicate tannins as well as ripe fruit and jam notes. As for the champagne, the 2012 Bouzy Rosé Vintage – 85% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Noir Bouzy Rouge – expresses vinous, menthol and green almond aromas.

Established for more than a century in Bouzy and now managed by the 4th generation represented by Jean Etienne and Jean-Emmanuel Bonnaire, Champagne Paul Clouet was founded in 1992 by Marie-Thérèse Clouet. The estate covers a total of 6 hectares divided on the terroir of Bouzy and Chouilly – Côte des Blancs. The tasting of the wines from the Domain starts with the Brut Rosé cuvée – 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. A champagne expressing generous hazelnut, butter and fruity notes. Regarding the still wines, the Bouzy Rouge – Pinot Noirs from the plots called Les Clos, Les Hautes Brousses and La Poivresse, base 2013 –  is tannic and fresh with elegant blueberry notes. From the last harvest, the 2016 Bouzy Rouge vin clair is acidulous with wild strawberry flavors and showing a great potential.

The vineyard of Champagne Gaston Collard has been acquired in1937. Second generation, Cyril Collard is back since 2012 and managed with a lot of respect his vineyard of 1.75 hectares exclusively located on the terroirs of Bouzy Grand Cru. As a true wine lover, the winemaker creates elegant and harmonious wines just like his 2013 Bouzy Rouge : a tannic and well-balanced Coteaux with a lot of finesse and red fruits notes. The 2014 Bouzy Rouge is precise and frank with refined cherry aromas. As for the 2016 Bouzy Rouge vin Clair, it is a full-bodied wine with a great finesse and a lot of potential. Finally, the Rosé de macération champagne – 100% Pinot Noir from 2012 harvest, 2013 bottling – is elegantly fruity with bitter taste of grapefruit and pear notes.

At Champagne Delavenne Père & Fils, the family estate has been producing its own champagnes since 1884. Today, the 4th generation represented by Jean-Christophe and Maelle Delavenne took over the Domain. The winegrowers benefit from not less than 8.5 hectares of vines spread over the crus of Bouzy but also Cramant. Regarding the wines, the Blending Brut Rosé cuvée – 43% Pinot noir, 40% Chardonnay and 17% Bouzy Rouge – is well-balanced and round with generous fruit and mineral notes. The 2012 Bouzy Rouge expresses light tannins and vibrant cherry aromas whereas the 2015 Bouzy Rouge Vin Clair is subtle and tannic with spicy but also red berry flavors.

At Champagne Pierre Paillard, it is not less than 200 years of know-how perpetuated by the 8th generation represented by Antoine and Quentin Paillard. The two winegrowers work hand in hand with their father, taking care of the 11 hectares of vineyard exclusively located on the terroir of Bouzy. The wines of the estate express a lot of freshness and reflect perfectly the chalky minerality of the cru like Les Terres Roses cuvée – 65% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir with a 6% addition of red wine, based on 2012 -, a generous, aromatic and well-balanced rosé with fruity character. The 2012 Bouzy Rouge Les Mignottes offers finesse and balance with red fruit notes. Finally, the 2015 Bouzy Rouge Vin Clair “Mignottes” is mineral, frank and delicate at the same time with fresh red fruit flavors.

Located just a few street from there, at the Georges Rémy estate the history in Bouzy dates back to 1812. At the head of the House, the winegrower from the same name, Georges Rémy, offers exclusively red still wines… – for now … – from his precious terroirs. Representing the 3rd generation of grower in his family, the winemaker look after 4.6 hectares spread over the villages of Bouzy, Ambonnay, Louvois and Tauxières. The tasting starts with the 2014 Bouzy Rouge “Les Vaudayants”, a generous, tannic and perfectly balanced red wine with a lot of  fruitiness and finesse. From the same harvest, the 2014 Bouzy Rouge “Le Chapeau de Fer” is harmonious and well balanced expressing the beautiful minerality of its terroir as well as spicy notes. As for the 2015 Bouzy Rouge Vin Clair “Les Vaudayants, it already offers power with well present tanins as well as crunchy red fruit aromas and an elegant freshness.

Once again this year, the winegrowers of the Académie du vin de Bouzy offered an exclusive tasting of their still wines and their rosé cuvées. The friendship of the members appears through the friendly atmosphere of the event but also through the collaboration of each of them to bring even further their Bouzy Rouge wines.

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