"Champagne is the wine of emotion and shared pleasure." - Evelyne Roques-Boizel
Evelyne Roques-Boizel had absolutely no intention of leading her family's Champagne house but at 22 years old she was confronted with a tough choice. Should Champagne Boizel be sold after her brother and father passed away within two years of each other or should Evelyne and her husband Christophe take charge? Showing grit and determination, Evelyne and Christophe opted to keep Champagne Boizel in the family and to continue the family legacy that began in 1834 with another tenacious young couple, her ancestors Julie and Auguste Boizel. By all accounts, the correct decision was made and Champagne Boizel remains a family endeavor.
Evelyne recently visited New York City to share the impressive fruit of her family's labor with a small group of wine writers at a luncheon hosted by her importer, Palm Bay. Elegant and down-to-earth, Evelyne had a twinkle in her eye as she shared priceless stories of her early days leading Champagne Boizel. When she needed guidance with her first harvest, beloved family friend and Champagne icon Christian Pol Roger sent over his enologist! Creating a fine Champagne is a combination of passion and smart choices in the vineyard and in the winery. Boizel selects the best crus and exclusively uses juices from the first pressing of the grapes to ensure freshness and finesse. Boizel is also committed to long lees aging for a minimum of three years, and up to 15 for the finest vintages, so that each Champagne can reach its full potential.
Champagne is big business and many of the larger and well-known brands are owned by large corporations. Yes, these larger entities also produce lovely bubbly but there is something endearing about a family-owned winery that has produced Champagne for more than 180 years, moving forward amidst life's challenges. Champagne Boizel is a poignant reminder of the human factor in winemaking and how much work and commitment is required to produce these drinkable works of art. If you're looking for a superbly crafted bottle of Champagne that conveys the soul of a family and their land, pop the cork on one of these beauties from Champagne Boizel.
Champagne Boizel Brut Réserve NV ($44)
Fresh and zippy blend of Pinot Noir (55%), Chardonnay (30%), and Pinot Meunier (15%). Energetic bubbles with balanced flavors of lemon curd, pear, and brioche. An intriguing introduction to the Boizel style.
Champagne Boizel Rosé NV ($60)
Pretty in the glass and ooh la la on the palate. Pinot Noir (50%), Pinot Meunier (30%), and Chardonnay (20%) blended to perfection. Flirty and fresh with crisp flavors of strawberry, rhubarb, and raspberry with a mineral backbone. Makes me want to spin around like a ballerina!
Champagne Boizel Blanc de Blancs NV ($85)
100% Chardonnay and absolutely elegant. Dashing, precise, and crisp like Fred Astaire. Beautiful interplay between chalky minerality and pristine citrus flavors.
Champagne Boizel Ultime NV ($90)
Zero dosage (no added sugar) but not lacking in fruitiness and vigor. Boizel believes that zero dosage Champagne requires a bit more aging to compensate for the lack of sugar, so this bubbly had a beauty rest of six years sur lie in the bottle. That prolonged interaction with rich yeast and sediment makes this bubbly so rich and robust, sugar is not missed. Hints of candied ginger, lemon zest, and toasted brioche - intense and intriguing. Blend of Pinot Noir (50%), Chardonnay (37%), and Pinot Meunier (13%).
Champagne Boizel Grand Vintage 2007 ($100)
Grand Vintage is only produced in the best vintages and Boizel describes 2007 as "an atypical weather year that raised hopes for the best and then fears for the worst, nature was finally merciful for the 2007 harvest." Ten years old and maturing gracefully, Grand Vintage shows how a well-crafted Champagne can become more intriguing over time. Sophisticated and sexy, Grand Vintage balances youthful acidity with the savory and nutty flavors that develop with the passage of time. Blend of Pinot Noir (50%), Chardonnay (40%), and Pinot Meunier (10%).
Champagne Boizel Joyau de France 2000 ($150)
Evelyne described Joyau de France as the flagship of the Boizel collection. First developed by her father in 1961, Joyau means jewel and like a fine gem this bubbly balances extravagance with sophistication. Mostly Pinot Noir (65%) with Chardonnay (35%), Joyau is aged an astounding 14 years sur lie. Powerful yet graceful, this compelling Champagne has developed intriguing herbal and savory flavors while maintaining exuberant acidity and luscious fruit.
If your travels take you to Champagne, consider a visit to Boizel. Their new tasting room opened this summer and the cellars will open to the public this winter. Cheers!