M. & S. BOUCHET fleur bleue grolleau 2018
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grolleau. don’t know it? not to worry—most don’t. it’s mostly stationed in the loire valley, where it is quickly losing ground to the likes of cabernet franc and gamay. it’s not far-fetched to call this a dying breed, but not if the bouchet family can help it! their grolleau is full of juicy savor and brilliant depth, and if other farmers could extract this level of complexity and enjoyability, this variety would make a rapid resurgence. today’s 2018 “fleur bleue” reveals a deep, opaque purple-black core that moves out to a thin, vivid pink rim. the nose opens up with a mixture of brambly black, blue, and red berries that are carried by a soft bed of crushed rocks, damp violets, rose petal, wild herbs, leather, and a touch of delicate baking spices. damson plums, huckleberries, and cherries rush across the palate in one smooth, acid-driven wave and leaves you feeling refreshed—it’s about as natural and enlivening as a wine can get.
about the producer
M. & S. BOUCHET
what is the one thing that drc, leroy, huet, and nicolas joly hold in common? they all learned through françois bouchet, “the godfather of biodynamics.” this rarefied bottle shows you the extraordinary movement that has been nearly 60 years in the making.
all but hidden from the outside world, this mysterious six-hectare estate is nestled on an obscure loire tributary, yet its founder françois bouchet influenced the most powerful names in wine: romanée-conti, leroy, huet, nicolas joly...the list goes on and on. so what exactly was his influence? biodynamic farming.
upon transitioning a small parcel of vines in 1962, françois became the og of biodynamic viticulture. through his many consultations and groundbreaking book, his methods were rapidly disseminated and fervently studied by france’s iconic estates. without this massive, in-the-dark undertaking, the biodynamic cult estates listed above wouldn’t be what they are today. period. although françois has left this world, matthieu and sylvanie bouchet proudly carry on his legacy by crafting micro-production, one-with-nature wines of absolute purity. and, the renewed life they’ve given to loire’s indigenous grolleau grape is a vital breath of fresh air. coming from ancient vines entirely untouched by industry, aged in century-old barrels, and bottled without any fining or filtration, this is as clean, harmonious, and absolute as wine gets—remember, you’re tasting the origins of biodynamic wine! quantities are severely limited: only 500 cases were produced in 2018 and only 50 of them made it to america.
it all started in 1955 when françois began experimenting with a small, neglected plot that was owned by his great grandmother. over the next seven years, his progress towards biodynamics was solely based on trial and error. his pioneering work caught the attention of domaine huet and from that point forward, it ignited. truly, the landscape of natural farming would be a shell of its current self without the agro-prowess of françois. his experimental work in biodynamics helped better define a farming method that was largely misunderstood at the time and as decades passed, winemakers from all over france felt compelled to convert their own vineyards.
current proprietors matthieu and sylvanie bouchet have essentially left the estate intact from françois’ heyday. they’re biodynamically farming the same old vines (many of which exceed 80 years), naturally fermenting the wines in old wooden tanks, and aging them in the same french barrels that françois used decades ago. in their carved-from-tuffeau cellar, the wines are never racked and are always bottled unfined and unfiltered with trace amounts of sulfur. although they are located in the loire valley’s saumur, matthieu and sylvanie choose to label their wines as “vin de france” so they have more creative control.