14th June, 2013 by Rupert Millar
Moët & Chandon will be producing a 2012 vintage but not a 2011 or 2010 said chef de cave Benoît Gouez.
Speaking at a tasting of rosé vins clairs in London yesterday (13 June), Gouez (pictured above) said that despite the difficulties of the 2012 vintage, he would be making a vintage from the year – something he had alluded to soon after the harvest.
He said: “2012 was very difficult. We suffered everything, we had two frosts and downy and powdery mildew – you have one or the other never both – and the weather was very bad which led to millerandange and coulure.
“Yields were down by a quarter and it was a nightmare for the growers.”
He added that yields to just nine tonnes per hectare in some places. Gouez continued though that the weather broke in time for summer and lasted into the harvest period. He said it was similar to the 1952 in terms of sugar and acidity levels.
The crop was also free of botrytis and had a potential alcohol level of 10.3%. Gouez explained that he would only consider a crop worthy of vintage if the first fermentation reaches over 9.5%.
2011 by contrast reached only 9.3%. Gouez explained that the year was the “complete opposite of 2012.
“It was an early year with no frost or disease,” he said. “We were looking at a mid-August harvest but then we had a strange combination of weather.
“It became too hot and the vines shut down. Maturation stopped and then we had two months of rain in a very short period. The grapes became diluted and we got no more maturation.”
Last year, the drinks business spoke to Gouez about the 2011 vintage which, at the time, he was still considering whether or not to vintage.
He also defended his decision to send home many pickers mid-harvest in a bid to wait for better maturity though, clearly, this did not materialise and most of the 2011s will now go into the house’s reserve.
Likewise, 2010, also a tricky vintage, was marred by botrytis which limited its potential to be made into a vintage as, for Gouez, “no rot is the first step to making good wine.”