By champagnediscovery, Oct 17 2016 10:09PM
Following on from our previous article regarding the difficulties faced by farmers and producers this year, we were in Champagne at harvest time to see for ourselves the effect the year’s weather had on the grapes. We were able to gain first-hand experience from a number of vignerons and be guided around vineyards to ascertain the extent of the problems 2016 has brought.
Jean-Marc Sélèque and Cyril Janisson of Janisson-Baradon are based in Pierry and Epernay respectively, both situated on the Côteaux Sud d’Epernay. Each reported a considerably smaller crop than normal but was pleased overall with the quality the grapes were showing. This sentiment and experience was echoed on the Côte des Blancs when speaking to Etienne Calsac and Agnès Corbon from Avize along with Adrien Dhondt of Dhondt-Grellet in Flavigny.
Moving south to the Côte des Bar it was clearly a different story altogether. Predicted losses in the region of 60-80% were in some places optimistic with rumours that one prominent producer would not be opening the press.
We visited Charles Dufour; a young vigneron farming organically in Landreville. He took us to his wonderful plot “Le Champ du Clos” in the Ource valley. Here, Charles picked less than a bucket of grapes for testing. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc all showed a variety of damage sustained as a result of the climatic events of the year. One bunch alone suffered from mildew, botrytis and sunburn! Despite expecting a seriously reduced harvest, he was however confident in the quality of the grapes and therefore the resulting champagnes. It was much the same story for Olivier Horiot in nearby Les Riceys and for Aurélien Gerbais of Pierre Gerbais in Celles-sur-Ource; all of whom craft wonderful champagnes (and still wines) - there is still much to be optimistic about.
So pretty much as expected, this year promises plenty in terms of quality. 2016 certainly has the potential to be a very exciting vintage and one well-worth keeping an eye on…..there just won’t be masses of it!
Lee and Gita