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Bouché Père et Fils Cuvée Saphir

$120.00
A staggering 10 years on lees for this amazing Champagne comprised of 40% fruit from the 2005 vintage. 30% has spent time in oak. The wine has also spent 10 years in the bottle on lees prior to disgorgement. Lots going on here - grilled nuts, lemon curd, oyster shell, brioche and white flowers. Poised, delicate and delicious.
Bouché Père et Fils Cuvée Saphir
Wine Specs
Region
Champagne, France
Winery
Bouché Père et Fils
Winemaker
Nicholas Bouché
Bling
None yet but we like it!
Alcohol %
12
Size
750 mL

On our third trip to Champagne we unearthed Champagne Bouché Père et Fils. Champagne Bouché is based in Pierry, a Premier Cru Village located in the Vallée de la Marne, one of 9 villages from which Bouché source their grapes. All told 75% of the fruit used by Nicholas Bouché is of Premier or Grand Cru status, which allows them to produce wines of exquisite quality and fruit definition. These Bouché cuvées then spend between 4 and 10 years on lees, (Moet is 18-24 months, Dom Perignon generally 8 years).

Unusually Matt didn’t have a price list already in hand before meeting with winemaker Nicolas Bouché. So uninformed as to the pricing, Matt settled into tasting these exquisite wines and listening to the story of Bouché Champagne: four generations making Champagne, wines which are generally aged for 4 to 10 years on lees, produced from vines which are up to 60 years of age and are 75% Grand and Premier Cru. Matt groaned, thinking these will retail between $100 and I dunno what? a bottle… there was no way we were ready yet to import a house without at least a couple of products retailing for substantially less than $100 a bottle. The upshot is we don’t really know how they do it but these Champagnes are much more affordable than Matt anticipated and we are delighted to be their Australian Importer.

Time on lees – what does it mean and is longer better? The process of transforming Champagne from a still wine to sparkling occurs via the addition of yeast and sugar (sometimes blended with reserve wines) to the Champagne. After this is done the bottle is sealed and the yeast converts the sugar into a small amount of alcohol and the all important Carbon Dioxide which gives the Champagne its bubbles or mousse. Once all of the sugar has been consumed, the yeast dies. This dead yeast is then left in the bottle for a minimum 12 months before being removed from the bottle before sale. Over time the yeast decomposes in the bottle (autolysis) and sugars and mannoproteins are imparted into the wine which becomes more complex and interesting as a result; aromas and flavours develop such as – yeasty notes, brioche, florals, nuttiness, a creamier mouthfeel and much finer bead. The impact of autolysis is much more profound after the wine has been on lees for 18 months. The more time on lees, the greater the development of flavour and complexity.

That said, there’s no point taking average wine and leaving it on lees for a long time, that would be as pointless as polishing a… only properly intense and flavoursome still wine is worth salting away on lees… and this is what we love about Champagne Bouché; exceptional fruit given extended time on lees in bottle before release…

Matt's 2018 Euro Trip
Matt's 2018 Euro Trip

I was lucky enough to head off to Prowein again this year, then to Champagne and Italy. As usual Prowein was nuts, with 6800 wineries showing off their goodies from 64 countries spread out over 71000 square meters... I racked up as much as 14ks a day scooting around to meetings. Plenty of time in Champagne too, catching up with Bernard Remy, Champagne Bouche, Le Mesnil and Roger Brun. Found a spectacular producer in Grand Cru Ambonnay too... stay tuned for more on that front. The big news out of Champagne is the deeply held fear within the region that within 20 years there will be hardly any small producers left... and that perhaps this will also bear out in the Bordeaux, what with the big companies paying up to 7 euros for a kilo of grapes, vineyards now fetching 1-2 million Euros per hectare and recent changes to succession taxes. Now is a very good time to buy small producer champagne...

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Matt in Prowein & Champagne 2017
Matt in Prowein & Champagne 2017

We packed Matt off to Prowein and Champagne again this year to hunt down some quality reds from Europe and perhaps another Champagne producer or 2 to add to the 3 awesome producers we already import... Click here to see the Champagne houses we currently import and you can check out some articles on our previous expeditions via this search query. Prowein was especially nuts this year, with 6,500 exhibitors from over 60 countries showing their wares (that’s around 4,000 more producers than there are in Australia) and about 60,000 trade visitors tasting and buying.

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