Cedric Bouchard sparked a quiet revolution when he began his domaine in the late 1990s with less than a hectare of vineyard in the Cote de Bar, the southernmost area of Champagne that borders Burgundy and is closer to Chablis than to Reims. The Kimmeridgan chalk-clay is the same as in Chablis also but the dominant grape variety is Pinot Noir over Chardonnay. Cedric has turned the conventions of Champagne upside-down, and if anything more closely follows the production techniques of Burgundy. Yields are dramatically lower than the average in Champagn , lower even than Grand Cru Burgundy. He picks late for ripeness and does not chaptalise (add sugar to raise the potential alcohol - common in Champagne) and after maturation he adds a very low dosage - his wines therefore have lower pressures than normal giving them a seductive mouthfeel. Finally, rather than blending he releases all his wines as single vineyards (lieux-dits) and typically as single vintage wines.
Cote Val Vilaine is a champagne with excellent weight and balance exuding delicate fragrances of flowers and beguiling red berry and plum fruits with hint of nutmeg and a mineral imprint from the calcareous-clay soil. Made from just 1.45ha of 35yo vines, and yields of just 26hh now, it comes from the 2016 vintage, was cuve aged, and disgorged without dosage in April 2018. A very low 17g/l dosage for the secondary fermentation gives a low pressure and gentle mousse which is perfect for the weight of the champagne.