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Harvest - Grape Picking

So here it is – and you heard it first on Alastair’s champagne blog: 2009 looks to be an EXCEPTIONAL harvest. That means not just an ordinarily good harvest that could qualify as a vintage declaration; it means an EXCEPTIONAL harvest and that is not a word to use unadvisedly or lightly but rather reverently and deliberately, especially where champagne is concerned!

Grape picking harvest

 

This year the quantity and quality of the grapes is excellent – they are very sound and perfectly ripe. The natural alcoholic strength is about 10 degrees with excellent acidity between 9 and 10! All bodes well for the future and the continued theme of high quality contents for your personalised champagne. Thank you too to Mme Nomine for the update.

 

Grape picking

I am visiting Epernay next month and look forward to the opportunity of tasting some of the still wines (chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier) separately stored from this harvest and gently fermenting – which is a huge privilege and eye-opening experience. Amazing that the acidic sharpness – causing that cheeky tingle in the cheeks of the mouth similar to the feeling after eating fresh rhubard – mellows so much with age and blending to create lovely non-vintage champagne three to four years hence – or in this year’s case a vintage as well (but not for a minimum of five years). Not forgetting the maker’s skills, of course…

 

There seems a certain irony that this year, of all years, there is a bumper harvest in terms of both quality and quantity of grapes -when the potential revolt over yields has resulted in a permitted harvest for stock purposes of sub 10,000kg/hectare. C’est la vie!

 

And just in case you are wondering, the actual harvesting is very hard work; this is a snapshot of what it all looks like – at the vine face, so to speak:dards that is a good day’s work!