1. feb. 2016

Happy New Year: Sustainability


Happy 2016.

In Champagne the year remains new for a while, and as for the happiness we may as well choose to believe in it. As messy and grim as it looked in the end, the old year did not only provide us with terror in Paris but also with a global deal on climate. Partly voluntary but a deal is still a deal.

It is about time. Maybe too late, nobody knows really. The agreement is still rather fresh, and nothing is easier than to doubt its value. But it does not bring anything not to believe at all. Or to wait for everybody else to do something first. Everybody can make a difference, in certain areas Denmark has been an example of this.

Work with warming
In Champagne, researchers have worked with warming for a long time. Back in 2003 the Comité Champagne published a detailed statement of the CO2-emissions of the region as the first of its kind. In the following 10 years, the total emission of CO2 was reduced with 7%, the target is to reach 25% before 2020.

However, it is a long way from research of scientists to the winegrower and his or her daily work in the vineyard. And there are not too many easy solutions either. For instance CO2-emissions. Every year we prune thousands of vines and burn the off cuts directly in the vineyards. This sends out CO2 (7% of the total CO2-emission in Champagne in 2013). Nowadays it is possible to recycle the off cuts and turn them into fuel or even boxes, soon to be available in a version with 30% wood from the vines. So what are we waiting for?

The alternative to get rid of the branches is to crush them with a tractor. Eventually, the pieces will turn into mulch. A nice green solution apart from the fact that the tractor emits CO2 as well, as it takes quite some time to crush. We have diseases that spread in the vineyards (especially Esca attack the vines lethally and cannot be treated in any way), and one way to avoid the spread is to burn everything. Not good for your CO2-emission we confess. But it is necessary to make some choices for everybody.

Sustainability certificate
In 2016 we hope to retrieve a sustainability certification. We have been on the way for a while. New methods are implemented like plowing the soils instead of using herbicides and usage of ecological fertilizers instead of conventional. Other parameters are reduced usage of chemicals, recycling and evaluation of our work environment. We have kept records of the work done in the vineyards day by day and season by season for years already.

The latest year, 2015, was the warmest ever to be registered in France. The heat wave with almost no rain provided us with fewer but also even better grapes qualitywise than usual. In other words the best start a wine can get. Will the vintage of 2015 become a champagne like those we may expect with warmer weather then? Already the climate in Champagne is now 1,2 degrees Celsius warmer than 30 years ago. Basically, we cannot know but warm or cold: The climate has its decisive role for a champagne today as well as it did before. 2015 is not exception from this rule.

We would like to thank you for good questions, kind words and personal contact in 2015 Hopefully a great 2016 awaits you, with fine bubbles in your glass. Maybe we'll meet (again).

Solveig Tange & Alain Gérard, Soulières 31st of January 2016.


Tange-Gérard suggest non vintage champagnes of a certain age (Tradition and Noirs & Blancs) and vintage Blanc de Blancs champagnes from 2006 and 2009. We suggest two kinds of rosé champagnes - Rosé de Saignée and Rosé d'Assemblage as well as a sweeter Demisec champagne. All nice and tasty but don't take our word: We invite you to visit and try for yourselves.

Our doors are open whenever we are there. Please send a mail if you want to know more. Be sure to enjoy, Alain Gérard and Solveig Tange.

24. dec. 2015

Noël - X-mas - Jul


A merry christmas to everybody who celebrates it, and happy holidays for everybody else.

Snow is rare this very warm year. Vineyards of 17 degrees Celsius as late as December 17th. Further north, in Denmark, temperatures are more like early spring than heart of winter.

We will celebrate anyway, with angels of light seen in the low skies over the christmas market of Reims, and a few bubbly bottles.

This year we'll go for this type.

 
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Tange-Gérard suggest non vintage champagnes of a certain age (Tradition and Noirs & Blancs) and vintage Blanc de Blancs champagnes from 2006 and 2009. We suggest two kinds of rosé champagnes - Rosé de Saignée and Rosé d'Assemblage as well as a sweeter Demisec champagne. All nice and tasty but don't take our word: We invite you to visit and try for yourselves.

Our doors are open whenever we are there. Please send a mail if you want to know more. Be sure to enjoy, Alain Gérard and Solveig Tange.



30. aug. 2015

Welcome to coming up grapeharvest in Champagne


Grapeharvest in Champagne will be on from September 1st. At Tange-Gerard, we will begin on September 10th.

Our team is ready. So are the grapes. And they are looking good, as any other year in Champagne. However, the summer of 2015 is not like any other. Warmer and drier than ever before as far as we are concerned.

In our plots we have had to deal with the drought, as the grass in the plots competes with the vines to reach the underground water. In some plots the grapes are smaller because they suffered to the heatwave as they flowered. No or little rain also mean that the plots show absolutely no sign of diseases like mildew, botrytis or oidium, always followed carefully in Champagne.

Thus we expect lower yields than last year and of good quality. The acidity could be low, for example the malic acid is measured low in samples. The sugars on the other hand high since the good weather continues for the moment.

These grapes will allow us to elaborate wines into the champagnes, you already may know. Our non vintage champagnes of some age (Tradition and Noirs & Blancs) and vintage Blanc de Blancs champagnes from 2006 and 2009. We suggest two rosé champagnes (Rosé de Saignée and Rosé d'Assemblage) as well as a sweeter Demisec champagne.

Everything is nice and tasty but don't take our word for it: We invite you to visit and try for yourselves. Please send a mail if you want to know more. Be sure to enjoy, Alain Gérard and Solveig Tange.



27. jul. 2015

Welcome to our world of champagne


A cold spring followed by a warm and dry summer. This is what the grapes looked like in late July.

At this time we noticed the very first, very early change of colours. These Pinot Meuniers still have weeks of work though before the dark almost blackish blue they will have reached as we approach the vendanges.

When the grape clusters begin to mature, the vines usually begin to slow down their incredible growth marathon, performed ever since the leaves came out in mid April. Now the vines will grow less and instead concentrate on the maturation of grapes.

Thus we will have less work outdoors and in the weeks to come begin to think about the grapeharvest.

We will pick 30.000 kiloes of grapes, which will enable us to elaborate wines into champagnes, both the types you already may know and a new one.

We suggest non vintage champagnes of a certain age (Tradition and Noirs & Blancs) and vintage Blanc de Blancs champagnes from 2006 and 2009. We suggest two kinds of rosé champagnes - Rosé de Saignée and Rosé d'Assemblage as well as a sweeter Demisec champagne. All nice and tasty but don't take our word: We invite you to visit and try for yourselves.

Our doors are open whenever we are there. Please send a mail if you want to know more. Be sure to enjoy, Alain Gérard and Solveig Tange.



3. feb. 2015

Welcome to our world of champagne


Early spring is here. Birds sing, and now we benefit from the incredible increase of lux that seems to wrap everthing in a layer of golden light. Inside and outside. A bit like champagne itself :-)

We are about to finish the pruning which is the biggest manual task of the year. Doing this thoroughly and well is the basics of the quality we eventually want to share with you as you enjoy our champagne, and this is why we prefer to do most of this demanding task ourselves. The next job is to attach the vines to the wires.


Inside the walls we deal with the vins clairs of the grapeharvest in 2014. The Blanc de Blancs and the assemblage for our Tradition will be on its way. Up for tasting these next weeks are the rosés and the plot wines that we are particularly curious about.

The single plot champagne of 2014 is our second and made of Chardonnays from Loisy-en-Brie. At this moment it is a very promising still wine, complex and with a good acidity. However, it will have to spend quite some time in the caves for the prise de mousse this spring followed by several years of aging.

At the moment we suggest non vintage champagnes of a certain age (Tradition and Noirs & Blancs) and vintage Blanc de Blancs champagnes from 2006 and 2007/2008. We suggest two kinds of rosé champagnes - Rosé de Saignée and Rosé d'Assemblage as well as a sweeter Demisec champagne.

April tastings in Champagne? Our doors are open in Soulières. Please send a mail or phone at +33 (0) 9 82 34 08 66 if you want to know more. Be sure to enjoy, Alain Gérard and Solveig Tange.

 
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31. dec. 2014

The last hours of 2014

 
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31st of December.

The last day of 2014. The first day of 2015 moves closer.

We like to share the last hours of the old year with people who are dear to us.

This New Year's Eve we will spend with good friends from many different places and horizons.

Some like champagne, others never drink alcohol. We will eat something we have never tried before. We may play music, sing and dance. Talk until words run out.

We will certainly think of people with whom we shared a tiny bit of the road in 2014. Some are not with us anymore. Others are, and we would have liked to join forces with them a bit more in 2014, but as long as we are all here, it is never too late. Maybe in 2015?

The simple shortcut between people is the one between our hearts. And sometimes champagne makes it fun.

10. okt. 2014

2014: Harvest of heat and heavy buckets

Grapeharvest is over. This year we were amongst the last to finish in Vertus. The warm weather combined with very healthy grapes without the slightest hint of disease gave us the courage to leave them alone just a little longer.

You need to keep cool though if you decide to postpone your take-off several days, when everyone else has begun working. Will the good weather continue? Will the grapes rot due to rain? Will the maturation stop and the sugar levels fall rather than grow? On the other hand your potential reward makes the extra excitement worth it. This is the scale where you find catastrophe in one far end and perfection in the opposite. If you find the right balance, your wine, your champagne-to-be, may change class from genuine or good to excellent or even that very special something we dream about.

In 2014 we began the grape harvest on September 17th and finished on September 23rd. All together 47 tons of which we keep only a minor part that will give us around 6-8.000 bottles of different types of champagne. The rest is sold. Now, as we wait for the wine, let's talk a bit about the grapes of the year.

Extra excitement, richer reward
Everything good in Champagne begins with healthy, sweet and acid grapes. As long as this health and acidity keep up the good levels and the weather on top of this stays fine, already good grapes can only be better, as the green leaves get more time to pile up sugar.

The first four days of the harvest the sun kept us very warm indeed with up to 27 degrees Celsius each afternoon. The harvest weather of 2014 became a challenge due to sweat caused by the heat rather than rain. No one here remembers to have experienced anything warmer than this.

More heat, lesser leaves
It was already warm in June as the vines were in flowers. This period is often disturbed with rain, wind and coldness, Well not this year, in 2014 the period of flowers was really fertile and many grapes developed in our plots. Summer followed the grey way we know so well, and both July and August gave us heavy rain several times. In September, first sun and heat in abundance made these many and big grapes mature to perfection. Second, long walks with the hedge shears to remove shady leaves secured the ventilation that is your best means to resist disease the last weeks before harvest.

On our third day of harvest we managed to pick enough Chardonnay-grapes to supply us with another plot-wine. In earlier harvest years we have sorted the grapes on the plants in front of us to collect only the best quality. But in 2014 all grapes were the best, and "qu'est-ce qu'elles sont belles, les grappes" the refrain heard over and over again from the 12 pickers in the rows.

Plot-champagne 2014
These fancy grapes have now made it the next step. All is fine, but it is too early to allow ourselves too many words and opinions about them. We economize the words a bit and content ourselves to point out that the first alcoholic fermentation will soon be over. The champagne is still a loooong way ahead of us. Do not expect news before many months from now.

We continue sales of our assembled champagnes Tradition and Noirs & Blancs, of our vintages Blanc de Blancs (vintage 2007) and Selection (vintage 2006) as well as the rosées of mainly Chardonnay (Rosé d'Assemblage) and 100% Pinot Noir (Rosé de Saignée). Please don't hesitate to contact us for more information at champagne-tange-gerard@orange.fr.


Harvestgreetings Solveig Tange & Alain Gérard, October 2014.