"Les Rachais" Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature


100% Chardonnay. The original Boulard family vineyard is in the village of Cormicy, at the northernmost limit of Champagne in a sub-zone called the Massif de St. Thierry, well northwest of the city of Reims. The Boulards have 1.6 hectares of vines here. "Les Rachais" is the heart of their tiny production, coming as it does from a 0.5-hectare parcel planted by Francis Boulard back in 1964 with massale selections of Chardonnay. As the vigneron of his family's Domaine Raymond Boulard wines, Francis converted Les Rachais to biodynamic farming in the 1990's as an experiment. His commitment to this way of farming was so strong that he split with the family over it in 2009. He and Delphine claimed their rightful half hectare of Les Rachais; she of course is still working the small parcel in the same way. The soils are deep, sandy limestone over hard limestone rock and the exposure is southern.

As for all Boulard wines, the grapes are picked late with high ripeness in order to achieve balance with minimal to no dosage. The bunches are gently pressed with a minimal amount of sulfur, and only the first-press juice is used. It is fermented spontaneously with indigenous yeasts in and continues aging in used Burgundy barrels. The wine undergoes malolactic fermentation and a monthly batônnage in accordance with the lunar calendar. The wine is bottled in June without fining, filtering or additional sulfur and with must from the newest vintage (rather than with a traditional liqueur di tirage). The bottles are aged for years sur lattes; they are riddled and disgorged by hand, in 2021 in the case of the 2014 vintage.  

*An interesting side note: the original legal name of the Les Rachais vineyard is "L'Heurtebise". Because the name Heurtebise is not unique in Champagne, Francis decided to call the wine "Rachet" in order to distinguish the Boulard parcel and wine. 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 label. The compromise was the phonetically identical "Rachais".

94 points
"Entirely Chardonnay from the 2014 vintage, the NV Champagne Les Rachais Brut Nature pours a bright, golden straw color, and is more generous and rounded in its profile compared to the 2019 Vieille Vignes, with aromas of candle smoke, grapefruit rind, jasmine, and pineapple. Medium-bodied, with a pillowy mousse that rounds out the mid-palate, it’s inviting and savory, with a touch of green almond on the finish. It is singing and ready to enjoy now or drink 2023-2030."
Audrey Frick,
Jeb Dunnuck
November 2023

Product Line: 
Sparkling White
Farming Type: