Five generations, five couples, five eras, five cuvées, but a single passion that continues to be perpetuated from father to son and daughter : the love of Champagne of course!
Auguste founded the House in the heart of Epernay along with his wife Julie. They took their place in the great adventure of Champagne with a passion for excellence. They succeeded in making great Champagnes and the House gradually builds up a reputation among connoisseurs in France and beyond its borders. The House was very soon exporting a large part of its cuvées.
Edouard, their son, dug out caves in the chalk of Mont Bernon in Epernay, above them building what became the cellars and the family house. He produced the young company's first Bruts and created the Grands Millésimes, a number of which can still be found today in the deepest depths of the vault named "Trésor".
The winery signed an exclusive contract with fine wine merchants Hedges & Butler, established in 1627, the beginning of a collaboration and friendship between both families that lasted until the disappearance of the English house in 1989.
Jules succeeded his father and continued to develop foreign markets as far afield as Australia. He produced a Blanc de Blancs cuvée, a very rare choice at the time. Marcel Carré joined the company, first as an apprentice at age 14, before working his way to becoming one of the most respected cellar masters, in the fifties and sixties.
René took over the helm after the war, in what were difficult times. With great energy, the former skiff champion forged ahead with the help of his wife Erica, rebuilding stocks, a quality guarantee, and creating the special cuvée "Joyau de France" the first vintage of which dates back to 1961, a legendary vintage.
After the tragic deaths of René and Eric, their son, who was already planning a future in the family business, Erica courageously took up the torch, followed by Evelyne, her daughter, and son-in-law Christophe. Although their studies were steering them in a different direction, Family, House, Tradition are obviously a passion!
Evelyne, now head of the company, chose to forge direct relationships with her French customers through mail-order sales, free phone, and a commercial website (as from 1997), all means of communication required to allow the quality and richness of Boizel’s wines to be appreciated by connoisseurs.
Evelyne and Christophe decided to draw closer with the group founded by their friends Bruno Paillard and Philippe Baijot. This dynamic group (listed on the stock exchange since December 1996), named Boizel Chanoine Champagne, grew rapidly while preserving intact both the Boizel family spirit and tradition.
Evelyne and Christophe are more passionnated than ever: from vines to cellar and throughout the world they dedicate themself to elaborating fine Champagnes and representing them and Boizel. Perhaps a sixth generation soon?
Mme. Evelyne Rouques - Boizel
A century and a half of commitment to quality: it takes hard work, great passion and time to make great wine. For 170 years now, we have been attentive to the needs of Mother Nature, with a will to understand and sublimate her.
"In Champagne, there have always been two professions: cultivating grapes and making the wine. My parents and grandparents preferred to make the wine well, leaving their friends, the growers, to cultivate good grapes." Evelyne Roques-Boizel
To select the right grapes needed for our blends, Christophe visits the vineyards throughout the year, choosing the crus and hillsides where Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier express the very best of themselves, character and finesse; he strengthens links with our vinegrowing partners, some of which have been supplying the House with grapes for several generations: warm and friendly relationships are also part of the family tradition.
The grapes come from some 50 villages, a good part of which are Grands and Premiers Crus.
Protect the aromas
We are lucky, in that our grapes, thanks to the soil and the climate, develop very fine and delicate aromas. Our work is... to do nothing which risks altering these, and everything to enable them to express themselves totally." Evelyne Roques-Boizel
At harvest time, in each village, the grapes are gently pressed, in accordance with Champagne Quality Charter criteria. Upon arrival at the Boizel winery on the Avenue de Champagne each must is systematically controled prior to vatting, the 1st pressing ( the "cuvée") and the 2nd are always separated, as Boizel only use the purest juice, the cuvée, in its Champagnes. Fermentation takes place at a controlled temperature of 18° in stainless steel vats, in order to preserve the natural aromas. Boizel is one of the houses who choose to allow its wines to undergo malolactic fermentation, thus giving it a more supple texture.
Christophe Roques-Boizel, legacee of the Boizel family know-how and Isabelle Tellier, the House oenologist, know that respecting all the qualities of the wine means choosing the right technology among the most recent.
Blending the cuvées
"This is the moment when it is important to follow one’s intuition, love for wine, and personnal taste, quite simply. No analyses can help us in this task. We have to reduce everything to what we taste, the key word here is balance." Evelyne Roques-Boizel
The still wines are tasted every two weeks, from the end of November to February, in order to appreciate the character of each wine, and choose which blend will enable them to best express their personality. The tastings for blending purposes take place in February. For each cuvee, the various crus – up to 30 for the Brut Reserve - are blended in the proportions characteristic of the Boizel style. Traditionnaly, reserve wines, which have been kept for one or two years, are included in the multi vintages cuvées. For the vintage champagnes, only the wines from that exceptionnal year are used, a small proportion of which is vinified in oak barrels.
The blends are "adjusted", according to the qualities of each year, to achieve the harmony and the complexity that characterize the Boizel style.
"Whenever I go down into the cellars, I always feel I am entering another world, where time stands still, where colours are deaf, where only the light clinking sound of bottles being turned by hand betrays a human presence. This is the very heart of the House." Evelyne Roques-Boizel
In the spring following the harvest, the wine is bottled in the chosen proportions, following the addition of sugar and yeast. The bottles are immediately taken down into the cellars, where the low temperature - 10° throughout the year - guarantees that the secondary fermentation or "prise de mousse" will be very slow - approximately six weeks. This period ensures a foam with fine bubbles and perfectly respected aromas.
Then comes the lengthy ageing period. The law imposes a 15 months minimum, but Boizel, keeps its wines in the cellar for at least three years for its non vintage. The vintage specific blends demand more time: their aromas take between five and seven years to truly come into their own.
Time and patience are the price paid for producing the magnificent harmony that champagne lovers expect from the Boizel cuvées.