The quality of the juices is great, the quantity is limited following successive hazards. In 2019, our area, the Côte des Blancs, was the most heavily impacted in Champagne. Spring frosts destroyed 20% of buds, mainly in Avize and in Cramant.
Remember, it was cold until mid-June and flowering was difficult especially for chardonnays, an early type of vine. Finally, the summer heat wave (42 °C on July 25th ) literally burnt several grapes and even some leaves, a first in 30 years as a champagne grower! At the end of August, maturation is then very fast, too fast? Sugar production is racing, while aromatic ripeness is lagging behind.
In September, the weather conditions become ideal with a lot of sun, cold nights and this northern wind that has been protecting us throughout the growing season. So we decide to wait and harvest at unexpected alcohol levels, with a nice acidity and perfectly sound grapes, a great and unprecedented balance!
The wines are now fermenting in our wooden casks, each one of them at their own pace. As every year since 1999, fermentation starts spontaneously thanks to the indigenous yeasts of each terroir. Even if some barrels will remain empty this year, the barrel room is full of beautiful aromas. We are experimenting with maturation in « dolias »; terracotta, just like oak, lets the wine breathe !
We also harvested some gorgeous pinots, they will make a beautiful Rosé de Saignée and some barrels of Vertus Rouge.