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.