A Risen Star from Champagne's Deep South
2008 Cedric Bouchard Les Ursules Blanc de Noirs
Cedric Bouchard is one of Champagne's newest stars, anointed by Galloni's incredible reviews.
It was an incredible introduction, a producer few had ever heard of being put in the realm of Salon, Dom Pérignon and Krug. There are too many dripping lines of praise to quote them all, but this one sort of sums it up:
"These remain some of the most vivid, eloquent Champagnes readers are likely to come across and I can’t recommend them highly enough."
Thus began the rampage. In the year and a half since, demand has only risen. First there were the reviews and the initial sales. Then there was the word of mouth among Champagne fanatics, single-bottle customers coming back for 6ers and solid cases... then the collectors.
We were an early supporter, and we have gone deep every chance we could. Yet still, as with Selosse and a few other cult growers, the wines are just very hard to keep in stock. So a word to the wise, if you are interested in trying a bottle (and you should be), please let us know as soon as possible.
Today we focus on a bottling we have never before been able to acquire in serious quantity, "Les Ursules," a Blanc de Noirs (100% Pinot Noir) that is deep and pushing yet in the fantastic 2008 vintage, it carries its depth with a super-fine sharpness.
Writes Galloni: "There is a crystalline purity to this wine that is simply hard to believe."
Les Ursules is the "original" Cedric Bouchard wine, a Pinot Noir from a meticulously tended, less-than-one-hectare plot in Celles-sur-Ource, way south of Reims in Champagne's Côte des Bar. The 2000 vintage was his first release, let loose in May of 2002, and it’s the wine that sparked the fire, helping to set off "Champagne shock waves" as critic after collector after wine geek flipped for these wines.
Bouchard has built up a reputation as one of the most brilliant growers in all of Champagne. He is known for being despotic about tiny, perfect yields and subsequent wines that pack massive concentration and a staining vinosity into a rigid, taut mineral framework. It's unreal how much complexity and nuance he crams in here.
The 2008 Les Ursules is a model for his style, and Champagne expert and writer Peter Liem aptly calls the 08 both "unusually fine in texture… showing a vivid detail and precision" as well as "a rich, highly structured version" (see below for Liem's full review). This structure with precision and focus, tuned by sharp minerality and energy-packed acidity, is the hallmark of the best Champagnes coming out of 2008.
Although at first the source of trepidation for many growers, 2008 is now considered by most to be one of the two best in the last decade, along with the 2002s. Where the 02s swagger with a bit more power, the 08s so far seem to be more high-toned, and their balance of ripe fruit with driving acidity forecasts great aging potential.
Although approachable now with a bit of time open, the 2008 "Les Ursules" will definitely benefit from a few years in the cellar.
Demand for these wines continues to grow - the 2008s are likely to disappear quickly. Please give us your maximum order, and we'll allocate accordingly. To order, please email us at email@example.com or call the store at (212) 980-9463.
Director, Fine & Rare Wines
Crush Wine & Spirits
Peter Liem: “Eight months after disgorgement, this is still painfully youthful, its succulent, concentrated fruit flavors feeling tensely coiled. It’s unusually fine in texture even for this cuvée, showing a vivid detail and precision, and both acidity and minerality combine to give this a gripping focus. The flavors turn increasingly darker as this opens, picking up notes of blackberry and cassis that stain the palate with their vibrant, energetic intensity, and they persist with long, regal length and a lovely sense of subtlety and poise. This is a rich, highly structured version of Les Ursules that will need much more time to develop than previous editions did at the same stage, but it promises to be terrific.”