"Les Rachais" Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature

2011
France
Champagne

100% Chardonnay. Les Rachais is the pinnacle of the Boulard wines, coming as it does from the original family estate parcel planted with selection massale cuttings in 1967. Francis first started making this zero-dosage vintage Blanc de Blancs in 2002, at the time under the Raymond Boulard label. The Les Rachais plot was the subject of Francis’s first experiment with biodynamic farming; so successful was the experiment that Francis and his daughter Delphine split over it with the rest of the family in 2009, taking their rights to 60 ares of Les Rachais with them. It is now certified biodynamic.

The soils here are notably sandy, with two meters of sand over limestone mother rock, Interestingly, the legal name of the vineyard is L'Heurtebise. Because this name is not unique in Champagne, Francis decided to call the wine "Rachet" in order to distinguish this special parcel. But besides being a pruning term, “Rachet” is also the name of a lieu-dit in the Aube region of Champagne, so the government wouldn’t allow it for the Boulard bottling. The compromise was the phonetically identical "Rachais".

The fruit is harvested at high ripeness in order to achieve balance with little to no dosage. The hand-harvested bunches are gently pressed, and only first-press juice is used. It is fermented spontaneously with indigenous yeasts, in small oak barrels. The wine undergoes malolactic fermentation and remains on its lees in barrel for a full year, with monthly batônnage in accordance with the lunar calendar. It is then bottled with must from the new vintage—rather than with the traditional liqueur di tirage normally used in Champagne—in accordance with the lunar calendar. The 2011 was disgorged in September and finished with zero dosage. It is typically the most powerful, complex and richly saline of the Boulard line-up.

92 points
"The 2011 vintage of les Rachais from Delphine Boulard is produced from the family’s oldest vines, which were planted in 1867. The wine is barrel-fermented and aged in cask for one full year prior to bottling for secondary fermentation. The 2011 les Rachais offers up a deep and complex nose of apple, pear, hazelnut, brioche, a fine base of chalky soil tones, a hint of buttery oak and plenty of upper register smokiness. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, focused and complex, with a fine core of fruit, lovely mineral drive and cut, elegant mousse and a long, balanced and zesty finish. The acids here are quite nicely buffered for a non-dosé wine and it is drinking very nicely today, though it has plenty of life still ahead of it. 2021-2045. "
John Gilman,
View From The Cellar
, May-June 2021
93+ points
"The 2011 Les Rachais Brut Nature is pure Chardonnay that was fermented in barrels (malolactic included) and was disgorged in December 2017 and dosed as Brut Nature. The golden-yellow colored wine opens with a pure and very complex bouquet that displays highly intense iodine, chalk and ripe fruit flavors. On the palate, this is a beautifully fine, fresh and elegant Champagne with a persistent, very complex and salty/iodine-flavored finish. The combination of finesse, elegance and mineral freshness along with complexity and terroir expression is tremendous here. The unfiltered 2011 Rachais will make hardcore Jura and Burgundy fans pretty happy. Tasted in April 2018."
Stephan Reinhardt,
Wine Advocate
, April 2018

SKU/Code: 
DB8563-11
Product Line: 
Wine
Sparkling
Sparkling White
Varietal: 
Chardonnay
Farming Type: 
Organic