At the Boulard estate, all the tractors have been taken away from the vineyards in favour of horses to protect the soil.
Francis Boulard Champagne is now run by his daughter Delphine. They have a three hectare estate in the Massif de Saint-Thierry nicknamed La Petite Montagne de Reims. This tiny domaine is run using age-old methods that are in line with nature and its seasonal rhythms.
At Francis Boulard Champagne, they grow a mixture of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. Vines are pruned short so as to limit the yield. Cover crop helps keep the soil alive and healthy. All synthetic chemical treatments are avoided in favour of biodynamic techniques to resist fungal attacks. Aside from a small amount of sulphur and Bordeaux mixture, they are treated with plants like field horsetail, water willow, nettles and silica. The fermentation process is carried out entirely naturally. Only the indigenous yeasts are used, in either wooden vats, half hogsheads or 300 litre oak barrels.
Francis Boulard Champagne is artisanal is its finest sense. The wines have a superb sense of place. The palate is delightfully full and textured, yet taught. The Murgiers is a rare Champagne as it is made almost entirely from Pinot Meunier. Meunier is often thought of as the lower quality grape of the three grapes used in Champagne. However, this is not the case with Murgiers. It is without doubt one of the most characterful, high quality and enjoyable Champagnes we have ever tasted.