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One Brilliant Bottle

organic/biodynamic/natural wines in Vinland

Inflorescence La Parcelle

France (Champagne)

pinot noir

There is much to celebrate. The Yuletide of course. Good health and good friends. Older son home for the holidays. The band he and his brother started, Mercy the Sexton, has just released a new CD. Clink glasses!

In the glasses are the contents of a bottle of ‘grower champagne’. It’s one I’ve been saving since bringing it home from The Sampler wine shop in London several months ago.

Cédric Bouchard is the man behind the bottle. Experimenter, rebel. A fresh voice in a region noted more for its glitz and staying power than its innovation. He produces first and foremost a wine of place and time — single varietal, single vineyard, single vintage. Nothing like the cross-vintage blends for which the region is famous, the bottles of the Champagne we all know, the Grandes Marques.

He produces his wine under two labels: Roses de Jeanne, from his own vineyards, and Inflorescence, from those owned by his father. In total there are just three hectares.

Small, but cared for with meticulous organic detail. No chaptalization, no dosage. In the case of this Inflorescence, 80 months on the lees before release. The result: a wine of great character, expressive of the terroir (a concept rarely heard in Champagne). A wine expressive of the chalky soil, the climate, the fragrances of the earth and its vegetation.

Production is miniscule compared with the big names in the Champagne firmament. The wine is not widely available. It is not cheap. (Then again, neither is champagne generally.) In fact this bottle took me to the very limit of my price range. Appropriately enough for this the 52nd weekly wine in my year-long venture.

Infloresence La Parcelle NV (2002)

Pungent. Because there is room to swish and swirl, the focus is not sprightly bubbles, but aromatics. Citrus, minerals, spice/floral, above all apples. There’s the taste of minerals and apricots. Fresh, clear, still a hint of yeast. Harmonious. Hours later, with the little that is left in the bottom of the glass, a touch of something aged and honeyed. To the end there is the feeling of being on a journey, that the vignernon has led the celebrator somewhere interesting, that it has been consistently lively, senses-enriching, never without surprise.  $$$

A wine to celebrate, a wine to celebrate with.



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