Francis Boulard Fille
Facts and wines
Champagne Francis Boulard & Fille is a micro-domain of just 3 ha., but it is, on the other hand, champagnes of the highest quality. There is great variation in the character of the wines, from light and clean to full and complex, due to the domain's different terroirs and grape types (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier). The house was founded by the ambitious Francis Boulard (and his daughter), who in 2009 broke away from the larger family domain Domaine Raymond Boulard to focus on organic and traditional production with field care and cellar work in the Haute-Couture category. The house "Champagne Francis Boulard & Fille" is a small family domain of just 3 ha., located in Cauroy-les-Hermonville, a small town in the Massif de Saint-Thierry area, north of Reims. Father Francis and daughter Delphine produce just 30,000 bottles a year, but what bottles! These are some of the most refined and purest terroir wines ever produced in Champagne.
- Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature VV 100% Chardonnay
- Champagne Grand Cru Grande Montagne Extra Brut 2009 100% Chardonnay
- Champagne Les Murgiers Extra Brut MG 100% Pinot Meunier
- Champagne Les Murgiers Extra Brut ½ bottles 100% Pinot Meunier
- Champagne Rosé Extra Brut 2012 70% Pinot Noir 30% Pinot Meunier
- Champagne Les Rachais 2011 Brut Nature 100% Chardonnay
HAUTE-COUTURE PRODUCTION, ECOLOGY, BIODYNAMICS AND MINERALITY.
The goal for Francis and Delphine Boulard is to express the numerous nuances encapsulated in the terroirs and the grapes. This is done with the help of field care and cellar work in the Haute-Couture category. Every vine, every bunch of grapes, every barrel and every bottle gets Francis and Delphine's full attention and is tended to as needed. Here you are as far as you can be from the industrial mass production that characterizes most of the Champagne region. The cultivation is organic and biodynamic and follows the lunar calendar.
Everything is done to support the living ecosystem in the fields: no herbicides and pesticides, natural compost, use of plant preparations. The fields are plowed 4-6 times a year, to keep weeds away - with the use of horses where the tractor cannot drive. In periods, the grass is allowed to grow freely, so that it can soak up any excess rain and protect the soil from erosion. This also creates healthy competition for the vine plants, which must therefore seek water and nourishment further down in the underground. This favors the anchoring of the canes in the soil and thus a clearer mineral character and a greater complexity.
TRADITIONAL, NON-INTERVENTIONIST VINIFICATION
When you have worked hard for a whole year to harvest perfectly healthy grapes, it is paramount that these are treated gently and gently on the way to and in the cellar. Here, Francis Boulard is a supporter of non-interventionist vinification. Or as he puts it with a slight understatement: "our work in the cellar basically consists of pouring some must into some barriques". In other words, the wines must be made themselves - but under close supervision, so that bacterial problems, oxidation or anything else that could destroy the wines' pure and precise taste do not arise. In practice, this means that no industrial yeast is used – exclusively the grapes' own yeast – and that the use of sulfur is kept to a minimum.
All wines ferment in old oak barrels and undergo a malolactic fermentation, which rounds off the taste and creates additional complexity and vinosity. Subsequently, it is a long aging on the lees ("lies fines") of several years, which prepares the wines and refines the bubbles, before the bottles are ready for sale. In line with the family's desire to "let the terroirs speak" instead of obscuring their identity, the wines receive no or only a light dosage of a maximum of 5 grams of sugar per litre. Concentrated grape must is used instead of beet sugar in order not to mix in foreign substances and thus denature the wines.
To sum up, you can say that the quality of Francis Boulard & Fille is based on some really good grapes, which come from really good terroirs that are naturally nurtured. The enormous dedication and the sum of all the tiny measures and decisions in everyday life, as well as a constant search for perfection, is what elevates the wines to the elite level.
HIGH AMBITIONS AND A NEW START AT THE AGE OF 57
The wines are at the level they are today because Francis Boulard is an ambitious man who is not satisfied with just the "good". Francis ran until 2009, together with his brother and his sister, Domaine Raymond Boulard. The domaine was named after their father, who began bottling champagne back in 1952 to sell under his own name.
INSPIRATION FROM GRANDFATHER
For many, ecology and biodynamics represent the latest modernity. Francis Boulard likes to say that his love for the profession stems from his grandfather Julien, who, among other things, let him drive the plow horse "Bijou" When Francis was about 14 years old. The grandfather cultivated his fields in a natural way – the only one known until the years after the Second World War – following the phases of the moon.
Today, it is daughter Delphine Boulard who has taken over the day-to-day running of this Domaine, where she continues the style with great success.