There’s no such thing as a free lunch!
It is not often that there is anything for free or doesn’t come with some sort of sting, bite, lure or call to action. So I have decided to keep ones customers’ minds focussed on our products by sending out some thoughts, snatches of conversation and gleanings from the press on the subject of champagne.
There has been considerable discussion about the consequences of climate change on the Champagne region or the opportunity that now presents itself for owners of sheltered grass uplands in southern England. In Champagne we will have:
· Hotter days
· Higher temperatures
· Warmer nights
· Earlier harvest means less time for sugars to develop?
· Less acidic
· Scorching of the fruit
The CIVC statement is that global warming is a fact and that the temperature in the Champagne Region has risen by 1.1 C. The historic cool wet climate of north eastern France is essential for the production of crisp and elegant flavours of Champagne. Because the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier grapes do not ripen quickly and the resultant thin green still wine needs to be bolstered by the methode champenoise to compensate for unripe grape harvests. Now however the vignerons are concerned that their vines are maturing too early producing grapes with acid levels that are too low.
The low acidic levels mean that the wine has less of a crisp’ thirst quenching nature and will age less well. Dosage, the adding of sugar solution, prior to bottling for the second time is becoming less necessary and ‘Nature’ or zero dosage is not just a marketing ploy. In general the world of champagne is becoming sweeter, rounder and less pointy. Blending will delay or hide it for a while but eventually the truth will out. Extreme weather patterns like frost, hail, storms, fire and drought will damage a crop and cause major disruption but incrementally the overall picture is slowly shifting.
A word or two were exchanged with Ms Blin about this and that. Firstly why there are no Grand Cru vineyards in the Aube whereas there are 17 of them 100km to the north. The answer is because the people who make the rules are from the North. They don’t want any more competition.
Are there any winemakers of note in the Aube. Amongst a welter of names the ones that seem to have the largest following are Michel Loriot, and Francoise Bedel. These are the sort of vineyards that we would have on our list if only the Aube had Grand Cru representation.
Novel Grapes that may be used in the production of champagne.
Is an under used white grape that grows well in Alsace and a variety of other locations. It is grown in the Aube to make a champagne that is 100% Pinot blanc
They are the same grape, but the wines have traditionally been made in different styles. In northern Italy the tradition was always to pick the grapes early before they developed too much of their pinkish grey colour - creating a light crisp unoaked wine with green apple and pear flavours. In Alsace where Pinot Gris is also grown, it’s left to fully ripen in the long and dry autumns to produce a richer full bodied white wine with stone fruit and spice notes.
Arbane has a long history of cultivation in the southern Champagne wine region, particularly around the commune of Bar-sur-Aube
Petit Meslier is a rare white wine grape that is a minor component of some Champagne blends. It is valued for its ability to retain acidity even in hot vintages. Petit Meslier is the result of a cross between Gouais blanc and Savagnin.
Just a few notes to keep the wheels turning.