Les Murgiers Extra Brut (2013 base)
65% Pinot Meunier/25% Pinot Noir/10% Chardonnay. 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--on the Right Bank of the Marne River west of Cumière. This is prime Pinot Meunier country: Meunier thrives in the clay-rich, sandy soils of this zone of Champagne. In fact, this 2013-based version is still a three-grape blend, but starting with the next 2014-based iteration, Murgiers is 100% Meunier. 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 base here is 2013 with reserve wines from 2010, 2011 and 2012 making up 30% of the blend. 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 down 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 January 2017 and finished with a 5-gram/liter dosage. Les Murgiers is bottled in a Brut Nature (no dosage) version.