Champagne Boizel: 2018 Vins Clairs and Champagne Range Tasting

Founded in 1834 by Auguste Boizel, Champagne Boizel have a long and illustrious history, with a tradition of trendsetting; often being amongst the first to trial practices that eventually become mainstream procedure. For instance, the founder Auguste was one of the first producers to apply labels to champagne bottles; second generation Edouard began reducing the dosage in the 1800s, a practice which continues across champagne today; and third generation Jules Boizel released a Blanc de Blancs in 1929, a rare category at the time which is now one of the most popular styles of champagne.

The house has remained family operated throughout its history and, following the retirement of Christophe in 2018, is currently managed by sixth generation brothers Florent and Lionel. We met with Florent Boizel at the house in Épernay earlier this year to taste the 2018 vins clairs and sample the champagne range.

“We own just 7 hectares and need 65 hectares, so the majority of our grapes are purchased,” Florent told us. To achieve this, Boizel have a close relationship with their growers, some of whom have been selling grapes to the family for more than 40 years. As a rule, Boizel use only the first pressing of the grapes (the cuvée) and typically do malolactic fermentation on all of their wines.

Most of the wines are fermented in stainless steel tanks, with just 160hl fermented in oak barrel, to “add a little spice”. In 2018, barrel fermented wines were used in the Brut Réserve NV blend for the first time. The total contribution however, is just 2.5% of the assemblage, and only older barrels were used as Florent “didn’t want too much effect from the oak”.


2018 Vins Clairs

Florent believes 2018 is a good vintage, although suggested that it is “perhaps not a vintage that will keep for a very long time”. We tasted an example of all three grape varieties, of which Florent said the black grapes, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, were the best for Boizel. Particularly impressive was the rare Pinot Noir from Premier Cru rated Vertus, a village that used to be Pinot Noir dominant, yet is now 90% planted with Chardonnay vines, and is gradually going back the other way.


CHARDONNAYCôte des Blancs | Grand Cru: Chouilly
Lots of clean apple fruit with hints of spice. Has lots of great texture, toasty notes and pineapple. Very clean, fresh and pure.
CHARDONNAY | Côte des Blancs | Grand Cru: Le Mesnil-sur-Oger
Has a lot of green apple, then on the palate you get all the power of the terroir. Nice fleshiness of peaches and apricots. Has great power and freshness.
Lots of spicy cherry and redcurrant. Really good freshness, clean and precise strawberry and redcurrant with some hints of rhubarb.
PINOT NOIR | Côte des Blancs | Premier Cru: Vertus
Loads of great texture and dark fruits like black cherry, blackcurrant and hints of rhubarb. Very crunchy and tight. This is showing great, will end up in BdN and Grand Vintage.
PINOT NOIR | Montagne de Reims | Grand Cru: Mailly
Historic source for the house. Has lots of upfront strawberry and redcurrant. Very vibrant on the palate, has great concentration, freshness and vivacity.


Finished Champagne

Boizel have a diverse range of bubbles, around 10 different cuvées in total. Production is dominated by the non-vintages, 66% for the Brut Réserve NV and 20% for the Rosé NV. Florent likes to have a high reserve wine content in the non-vintage range, currently utilising a minimum of 30%, however, they only keep reserve wines up to a maximum of 4 years. The current Brut Réserve NV and Rosé NV releases are based on 2014, each with equal parts 2012 and 2013 reserve wine.

Interestingly, Boizel produce a Blanc de Noirs NV, which is not seen at many houses. Three of the best Pinot Noir villages constitute the blend: Mailly (40%), Cumières (40%) and Les Riceys (20%). Their main vintage champagne is called Grand Vintage. The house like to present their vintage champagnes mature, ageing them for 7-10 years on the lees; and are keen on expressing the character of the vintage, hence the blend can vary considerably year upon year. They are currently selling Grand Vintage 2008, which was aged for 9 years on the lees and released last year.

Boizel also have a prestige cuvée range, Joyau de France (Jewel of France), which constitutes three vintage champagnes, including a Blanc de Blancs and Rosé. Each undergoes significantly longer lees ageing and typically has a lower dosage, around 5 g/l. The Joyau de France champagnes are consistent with the house style: traditional, mature and rich in character, with a Pinot Noir dominant personality.


Boizel Brut Réserve NV | 15.5/20
55% PN, 30% CH, 15% PM | Base Vintage: 2014 | Reserve Wine: 30% | Lees Ageing: 3 Years | Disgorged: June 2018 | Dosage: 8 g/l | Post-Disgorgement Ageing: 9 Months
Lots of bright apple and pineapple. Some cooked apple spice with bright lemon and nice freshness to the acidity. Seems a tad hollow mid-palate and a bitter finish so probably not a great cork.
Boizel Rosé NV | 15.5/20
50% PN, 30% PM, 20% CH | Red Wine: 8% | Base Vintage: 2014 | Reserve Wine: 30% | Lees Ageing: 3 Years | Disgorged: May 2018 | Dosage: 8.5 g/l | Post-Disgorgement Ageing: 10 Months
Lots of aromatic red fruits, like cherry and strawberry. Bright green apples on the palate. Red wine is from Les Riceys and Cumières.
Boizel Blanc de Noirs NV | 16/20
100% PN | Base Vintage: 2014 | Reserve Wine: 30% | Lees Ageing: 3 Years | Disgorged: November 2018 | Dosage: 8 g/l | Post-Disgorgement Ageing: 4 Months
Peaches, apricots and strawberries. Good mid-palate texture.
Boizel Ultime NV | 16.5/20
50% PN, 37% CH, 13% PM | Base Vintage: 2012 | Reserve Wine: 40% | Lees Ageing: 5 Years | Disgorged: May 2018 | Dosage: 0 g/l | Post-Disgorgement Ageing: 10 Months
Has hints of tropical fruits, lots of fresh green apples, pear and some hints of citrus. The acidity is very bright on the finish. Would this be better with 3g/l dosage? Feels like it needs some more richness with the fresh 2012 acids.
Boizel Grand Vintage 2008 | 17/20
50% PN, 50% CH | Lees Ageing: 8 Years | Disgorged: June 2017 | Dosage: 4 g/l | Post-Disgorgement Ageing: 2 Years
Lots of apples and some hints of vanilla richness, pear and tropical notes. Very precise on the palate, the bright acid backbone has good lees texture. Bundles of apples and pear, some pineapple and a hint of spice.
Boizel Joyau de France Chardonnay 2007 | 17/20
100% CH | Lees Ageing: 8 Years | Disgorged: September 2016 | Dosage: 5 g/l | Post-Disgorgement Ageing: 3 Years
Apples and pears dominate to begin with, then you pick up some pineapple richness. On the palate the texture from lees is all there and the fruit ripeness with hints of spice is delicious. Good structure and very bright acidity.
Boizel Joyau de France Rosé 2007 | 16/20
62% PN, 38% CH | Lees Ageing: 9 Years | Disgorged: June 2017 | Dosage: 5 g/l | Post-Disgorgement Ageing: 2 Years
Has lots of delicate red fruits; raspberry and strawberry and some tropical hints. Has a lovely clean and fresh style, some vinosity and loads of strawberry and lees texture.
Boizel Joyau de France 2004 | 16/20
60% PN, 40% CH | Lees Ageing: 12 Years | Disgorged: June 2017 | Dosage: 7 g/l | Post-Disgorgement Ageing: 2 Years
Some delicate Chardonnay character comes forward at the start and then some tropical hints with bright red fruits follows.
Boizel Grand Vintage 1990 | 17.5+/20
55% PN, 35% CH, 10% PM | Lees Ageing: 11 Years | Disgorged: 2002 | Post-Disgorgement Ageing: 17 Years
Tough cork to get out! Some great aromatics with all the characteristics of bottle development, like dried fruits, apricots and lemon. On the palate it is very fresh and zesty and shows a youthful vibrancy with full lees texture and a nice saline lift to finish. Very good.

Champagne Boizel, based in Épernay, were founded in 1834


The Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier are the winners in 2018 for Boizel


Sixth generation family member Florent Boizel is the new Chef de Cave


The extensive Champagne Boizel range includes a Blanc de Noirs NV and Non-Dosé NV


Boizel’s vintage champagnes have the potential to age gracefully, as showcased by the elegant Grand Vintage 1990