23. maj 2017

Welcome to our vineyards : 2017 this far is Fast Forward

This far 2017 looks like another early year in Champagne.

The first leaves were out around April 10th. Growth has been on ever since. At the moment we watch the buds unfold to reveal their complex inner construction that will develop into leaves, grapes and tendrils.

Luckily for us, only a few buds seem to have been hit by the spring frost of late April that has devastated vineyards all over Europe. In Champagne, the damage is evaluated to a loss of around 20-25 %, obviously with big individual differences. We were more worried about insects eating buds which seemed to happen disturbingly fast. Now their damages are visible, it is one of many nuisances of all sorts to cost us potential grapes.

Dry and warm
Since April, the weather has been very dry and quite warm. We have removed the grass between the vines in most fields to avoid too much competition for water between the vines and the grass.

The warm weather with temperatures well abov 20 degrees Celsius most days for some weeks has made it necessary to begin lifting the wires around Ascension Day. It could be another early year, we have begun our comparison with mathcing jobs and dates in 2007 and 2011, both had grapeharvests in late August.

Assortment of Champagnes
The pink of buds and their interior at this crucial moment you will retrieve on the label of our Rosé de Saignée. It is a 100% Pinot Noir champagne, the taste is as powerful as this red grape allows with all the black fruits, you could ever want. It will fit anything from your aperitif to your main course and even a dessert like fruit salad.

We suggest our non vintage champagne of some age - Tradition - based on mainly Chardonnays. You will find it in Rosé and Demisec versions as well. Our two current 100% Chardonnay vintages are both from early years : The Blanc de Blancs from 2011 and the Selection from 2007.

Finally, the Noirs & Blancs is a non vintage champagne of some age, based on 70 % Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay.

Franco-Danish sustainability
As we have come from different worlds - France and Denmark - our daily work is to bring these origins and views together in our Tange-Gérard champagnes and in our daily work where we have made sustainability a key word of the management of our company. Last summer we were quite proud to receive our "viticulture durable" certification and we continue along this path. The bubbles, we enjoy them as much as ever, and our shared hope is to let them make your world spin in an easy-going, funny fashion too. Even just for a while.

Please mail us if you want to know more. Enjoy, Alain Gérard and Solveig Tange.

27. jan. 2017

Ok, it's been a while with 2017 already...

... but we still like to say Happy New Year to all of you.

One year has gone by since we told you about our plans to become certified as sustainable winegrowers. This is why we are quite proud to announce that we are now number 84 in Champagne who may use the logo at the right:: The symbol of sustainable winegrowing in our area. This is the first time we use it.

So what's in it for you?

The range you know plus a new one
Well, already this year we expect to see the range of good champagnes, that you already know, followed by a new serie of cuvées, made of our own grapes exclusively. The first of these champagnes is from 2013, and it represents the start of our conversion from conventional to sustainable winegrowing as it is the first season where we pruned all vines ourselves to get less and better grapes. More about the new Tange-Gerard champagne will follow later this year.

A first step with sustainability
You may want to know a bit more about sustainability. We have always experimented with methods and materials, and since 2012 we have gradually changed the direction towards ecology. In 2016 we applied for and later qualified to be certified sustainable winegrowers after providing documentation for our practices and choices made and an almost full day examination.

As we see it, sustainability is part of a process that will lead us to full ecological production (read more in the new sustainability section). This far, we have gradually stopped using chemi-cals in many areas and will continue to do so as our economy and organization allow. Every year we introduce practices to reduce our impact and print on our environment.


The importance of people meeting
The other important element of our company is the people. We have become increasingly aware about the value of different horizons. Not the least in a modern society that seems to become more stratified and individualistic as years go by. At our place, we don't meet the others, but each other. Foreign and French, young and old, unemployed and students, countryside and town. This makes us proud and its not even our invention:

"That's the only way I know how to receive people," says Annie, who is currently in charge of the cooking and the greeting at harvesttime. We believe that you cannot overestimate the importance of such a warm welcome combined with French countryside cooking and of course a quick one.

All our best wishes for you in the new year.

Cheers, Alain Gérard and Solveig Tange, January 27th 2017

14. okt. 2016

Champagne 2016: Challenged by rain

In Champagne, 2016 has been marked by rain. Not least the grape harvest in late September. So what to expect from the grapes of such a year as we'll meet their tickling bubbles against our palates? We dropped the last grape in our black buckets only a few weeks ago but the final result remains difficult to predict. But as the season has been unusual ever since April, it is hard to imagine that the final bottled champagne should not be something special as well.

Now, it is not exactly hot news that growing grapes in Champagne can be a tricky affair. It has been so for centuries. Still, in 2016 it did seem more miraculous than ever to watch the balance between success and failure tilt to the positive side. In Soulières, residents must be closer to 100 years than 50 to have experienced a season with such a narrow margin. Mainly due to rain: Seemingly endless rain throughout spring gave us problems all summer. Then a few millimetres of rain shortly before the harvest made the grapes put on weight badly needed.

This allowed us to land 35 tonnes of pretty and healthy Chardonnays and Pinots. We began in the morning of September 21st and finished just before lunch seven days later. With a lot less grapes than usual but enough for the 8.000 bottles of Tange-Gérard champagne, we sell every year, and on top of that grapes for our coop. By now, most of it will have finished its first fermentation. Once stability is reached, next year, this very young wine will go through a second alcoholic fermentation in bottles to be blessed with bubbles by sugar and yeast.


Complicated season
In the vineyards this year, frost followed right after the first leaves were out. Maybe that's what disturbed the growth for the rest of the season. Or maybe the long draught of 2015 disturbed the production of grapes this year. Anyway, the big variation between the development of the plants was one factor that made 2016 such a challenge all the way.

Throughout the spring, the constantly pouring-down rain delayed the development of the vines further, it disturbed the flowering and made the fight against mildew rather constant throughout the spring to the end of July. Only in August the weather finally changed with temperatures far beyond 30 degrees Celsius. The heat saved a good deal of our grapes from the disease, but they were still small and few that we hired one third less people than usual to pick them. Five millimetres of rain few days before the start added substantially to the weight of the grapes - miraculously - now we wait to know more about their taste.


The must and the wine
We have tasted the must directly from the press. Especially Pinot Meunier is rich as our black grapes got very mature. Their future is mainly red as the colourful element of our otherwise Chardonnay-based rosé champagne. The Chardonnays were picked last, which helped to supply them with more sugar and less acidity in a fine balance between these decisive poles. It is still to early to say in which way the rain of 2016 will finally express itself in the wine. But stay tuned. The continuation will follow in a bottle hopefully near you in some years.


Current champagnes
Until then we suggest non vintage of some age (Tradition and Noirs & Blancs), vintage Blanc de Blancs (2006 and 2010), two rosé types (Chardonnay-based Rosé d'Assemblage and Pinot Noir-based Rosé de Saignée) and finally a sweeter Demisec. In 2017, we expect to present the first bottle in a coming-up series of new Tange-Gerard champagnes for you.

Harvestgreetings from Alain Gérard og Solveig Tange, Soulières, october 2016

Be sure to enjoy
:-)

21. sep. 2016

Grapeharvest 2016 is on

The grapeharvest is finally on at Champagne Tange-Gerard since the 21st of September. We expect it to last for approximately one week.

We began the picking in the Pinots of Loisy-en-Brie, and plan to pick the Chardonnays in the end. The quality of the grape so far seems fine. It was a nice surprise to experience that also quantity-wise we seemed to put more kilos in the basket than expected. The bit of rain we received lately may have contributed to let the grapes grow a bit.

Even the yields may not be quite as low as we have estimated, we will only know the final result in probably six days. And we don't expect to see usual quantities. The growth of the vines has been unusually troubled this year with frost in April followed by lots of rain and disease. This very unusual year will stay in our memories for a while despite the enourmous relief to be able to note that what we see and touch is good. As simple as that.

Thus with a smaller team than usual, we look forward to examine more closely what we will land in our buckets. Those grapes are the end of the growth of 2016, and they are also the beginning of the champagne 2016 of which we expect something different. Just like the year itself.

But that will be for later. At the moment we suggest non vintage champagnes of some age (Tradition and Noirs & Blancs) and vintage Blanc de Blancs champagnes from 2006 and 2010. 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: Our doors are open whenever we are present so why don't you pay us a visit and try for yourselves? Please send a mail if you want to know more. Be sure to enjoy, Alain Gérard and Solveig Tange.



16. sep. 2016

Getting there: Grapeharvest 2016

Enjoy: Time is almost up in Champagne, and you may expect something good. At Champagne Tange-Gerard we will pick the first grapes of 2016 on September 21st.

At the moment, the grapes are reaching the maturity needed: Sugars go up and acidity the other way, though not too fast. On top of that the grapes are extraordinarily healthy due to the abundance of sun since late August.

Though our yields will not be the same quantities as usualsince their growth has been unusually troubled this year with frost in April followed by lots of rain and disease. This very unusual year will stay in our memories for a while despite the enourmous relief to be able to note that what we see and touch is good. As simple as that.

Thus with a smaller team than usual, we look forward to examine more closely what we will land in our buckets.

Such will be the end of the growth of 2016, and the beginning of the champagne 2016 of which we expect something different. Just like the year itself.

But that will be for later. At the moment we suggest non vintage champagnes of some age (Tradition and Noirs & Blancs) and vintage Blanc de Blancs champagnes from 2006 and 2010. 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: Our doors are open whenever we are present so why don't you pay us a visit and try for yourselves? Please send a mail if you want to know more. Be sure to enjoy, Alain Gérard and Solveig Tange.








22. jul. 2016

Sustainability

In July 2016 Champagne Tange-Gerard obtained the status of sustainable winegrower.

This has implications for the way we work in the company.

In the vineyards, sustainability covers these areas:

You and the vineyards: Thumbs up for this attitude


Many good people has come to work with us. They ask smart questions that make us all learn more. Please click this FAQ to know more as well.



Sustainability sitemap: Overview of all sustainability pages

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21. jul. 2016

Sustainability : The spreading of fertilizers

We spread the organic fertilizers in late winter.

Organic fertilizers work much slower in the soil than conventional ones. They deteriorate much slower which means that the elements will be available to the plant maybe only several months after spraying. The idea is to keep the levels in the soil and make sure nutriments are available in the period of growth

Frozen rather than muddy
For us, it is practical to spread the fertilizers in the winter because the ground is likely to be dry and hard.

As we plough the vineyards, the rows may otherwise be quite muddy.

Our little machine moves forward due to its caterpillar tracks so they will move anyway. But it is physically harder to manoeuvre it.

Nourish the soil
The idea of fertilizers is not to nourish the plant directly.

Instead we supply elements and minerals that will nourish the soil based on our soil analysis.

When the soil is healthy and sufficiently rich, it constitutes the best possible environment for the vines to remain strong and vigorous as they grow.

Several decades ago pulverized city garbage (known as gadoues, composts urbains) was spread in vineyards all over Champagne because it was thought to nourish the environment. This has left a heritage of tiny plastic pieces in the rows. Obviously, this practice has been banned years ago, but as plastic decomposits slowly, the traces stay.

Grind and spread
We use a machine, specially conceived for the vineyards, to spread the fertilizers.

For the purpose of this job, we equip the machine (le chenillard) with a spinning sprayer. The funnel is filled with the fertilizers, and as we move the machine forward, the pellets are sprayed over 4 rows.

A maximum average of 50 kilos per hectare of nitrogen is allowed within the regulations of sustainable winegrowing. However, we tend to put less.

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How to nourish the soils