Les Murgiers Brut Nature (2014 base)
100% Pinot Meunier. Les Murgiers is the beginning of the Boulard range. Boulard organically farms plots in a cluster of three Vallée de la Marne villages--Cuchery, La Neuville-aux-Larris and Paradis—north of the Marne River in the tiny Belval valley, well west of the Grande Vallée (same area where vigneron Franck Pascal is based). This is prime Pinot Meunier country: it thrives in the clay-rich, sandy soils of this zone. In fact, Les Murgiers used to be a Meunier-based wine that included Chardonnay and Pinot Noir; but starting with the 2014-based wine, Boulard has converted it to 100% Meunier, which they feel is the best reflection of this terroir. The name of the wine is a reference to the traditional, low-slung vineyard walls (alternatively spelled murgets, murgers, meurgers or meurgiers), made from the wide, flat river stones dug up to make way for planting.The current Brut Nature bottling is based on 2014 wine with 20% reserve wines from 2011-2013. As for all Boulard wines, the grapes are harvested by hand and pressed gently; only first-press juice (la cuvée) is used. It is fermented spontaneously in well-used, neutral oak vessels ranging from 20-hectoliter vats to 5-hectoliter half-hogsheads to smaller Burgundy and Champagne barrels. The wine undergoes malolactic fermentation and remains on its lees with regular stirring (bâtonnage) but only on fruit and flower days per the lunar calendar; it is bottled without fining and with a minimal amount of sulfur. The wine was disgorged by hand in June 2017 and finished with zero dosage. Les Murgiers is also bottled with a small dosage in an Extra Brut version of the wine.