Francis Boulard Eng
Champagne Francis Boulard
Champagne Francis Boulard is a biodynamic Champagne producer in Cauroy-les-Hermoville in the Vesle Valley, northern Champagne. The owner, Francis, is a staunch advocate for natural wine production. Francis led the family’s traditional Champagne house toward organic methods for years until in 2009 he bought 3 hectares of the family’s vineyards and started his own winery, Champagne Francis Boulard.
Boulard has three hectares of vines. Most of the vineyards are situated northwest of Reims on the slopes of Saint-Thierry, which is playfully called “la Petite Montagne de Reims.” The vines of Saint-Thierry are Chardonnay and Pinot Noir of over 40 years age. The soils are sand and sandstone. Vieilles Vignes Blanc de Blancs, Les Rachais and Les Rachais rosé come from Saint-Thierry.
Boulard also has a small plot in the Marne valley, in the small village of Paradis west of Montagne de Reims. 40-year-old Pinot and Chardonnay vines grow on south-facing slopes. Soils are clay and limestone. About 40 kilometers away on the eastern side of Montagne de Reims is the Grand Cru vineyard of Mailly-Champagne. Mailly-Champagne’s soils are clay and limestone and its vines are around 30 years old.
Boulard’s aim is to producer clean and transparent wines that show their terroirs clearly. Different plots are vinified separately which allows their terroirs to be expressed in the wines. Grapes are harvested as late as possible when the sugar content of the grapes is at its highest and the acidity is tamed. Fermentation happens in wood vats of various sizes using only wild yeasts. The largest fermentation barrels are 2000 liters and the smallest are about 12 year-old barrels of 300 liters. The wine is rested on its lees and batonnage is done according to the lunar calendar about every 10-12 days. Disgorgement and bottling is done on site.
Biodynamic principles guide everything at Champagne Boulard. Francis Boulard believes that biodynamic methods are the key to bringing out a complex palate and minerality in his wines. Following the cycles of the lunar calendar means work in the vineyard can be paced in such a way that the work affects the natural balance of the vines as little as possible. This kind of production is reminiscent of the way that Francis Boulard’s grandfather and great-grandfather would work their vineyards.