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10. okt. 2016
Champagne : the singles - Solliage
As all first timers the work, the pride but also the anxiety follow along the steps of it leaving home to settle well somewhere out there in a cave with you.
Solliage is pure 2013. This year was a late starter.
The year in our vineyard
Spring arrived late in Champagne in 2013. The winter never seemed to finish. In April our vines were three weeks behind their usual stage this time of the year. Later, the flowering in early July took place under the same hideously cold conditions. This caused phenomena like millerandage and coulure that would leave us with fewer and smaller Chardonnays than usual.
Then a sudden change brought warm temperatures for the next two months with more sun than ever measured in 20 years and no rain. Thus, the pollination ended much better than it started. A bit of rain in September enabled the grapes to put on some weight very much needed. But the vines never caught up with the time lost in spring: Late buds, late flowers would inevitably mean late harvest.
These grapes were simply shiny: Yellowish due to their high level of maturity and in perfect health. The fears we had to find them in a state of deterioration because of possibly wetter weather in October turned out to be of no relevance : Like anything else this unusual year, the traditional moist of the month seemed delayed as well, likely saving the grapes from the fate of fungi.
However, the logistical challenge to pick enough grapes to fill one press within our target time became possible also because of our dedicated team who made our target theirs.
The vendange and the vinification
The Chardonnays of the cuvée originate from three different plots: A bit from the plots of Crochettes and Belles Feuilles in Soulières and more from the low part of the Chardonnays field called Vieilles Grand-mères in Loisy-en-Brie.
A first impression of the young wine showed a certain fattiness (richness) caused by the ripeness of the grapes. Furthermore, an impressive amount of acidity with green fruits, lemon and more exotic tamarind confirmed our general impression of 2013 as a year of exotic fruits on the nose and palate in general. It was decided not to perform the malolactic fermentation (malo) to leave the wine as close to its primary properties as possible.
The taste of Solliage
Four years after bottling, the cuvée Solliage still contains a high level of acidity that we interpret as an expression of the year: Very cold, then very warm, then cooler and eventually perfect dry and cool conditions for the harvest. A year that took its time, a champagne that seems to follow the same trend.
The mousse is very alive with many small and fine bubbles that are somewhat different to our other champagnes. 2013 was our first year dealing fully with all the vineyards, and we decided to have grass growing between the rows. The vines were forced to share water and minerals which showed in the must with less nitrogen and consequently a different pattern for the fermentations.
In the mouth, first, the lemony acidity seems omnipresent, but then you may discover deeper layers with pears and hazelnuts and sweetness like what we call viennoiserie. The richness of the grapes of origin has now become fat, abundance in your glass. The long finish hits notes of lemon with minerality and again some sweetness.
In the years to come, we expect the acidity to diminish to let other tasty experiences take over. Under the correct conditions you can keep this wine for several years.
Please don't hesitate to stay in touch and ask about the development of the champagne.
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