Champagne: 2013 vintage could be a ‘96

The initial analysis of the 2013 crop in Champagne is almost exactly the same as that of the legendary 1996 according to Henriot’s cellar master, Laurent Fresnet.

Champagne:Marne ValleySpeaking at a masterclass on blanc de blancs, Fresnet said that the initial laboratory results from the Champagne Bureau CIVC were “practically the same as 1996.”

Despite a difficult start to the year – in common with many other areas in France – Fresnet commented that it could still be “very great…but late”.

He added though that it might not be as late as previously thought as the vines have apparently caught up very quickly.

There will be two more analyses carried out by the CIVC, one today (Thursday 5 September) and one on Monday (9 September) which will better determine the start of the harvest.

He also reported that the Pinots were in the best shape after the difficult flowering, the Chardonnay has been rather more badly affected by millerandage and so will probably see a smaller crop – not dissimilar to last year.

The 1996 vintage in Champagne was, and still is, considered one of the greatest Champagne vintages of the last 20 years. It was marked by almost perfect balance between sugar, acidity and alcohol.

Pinot Noir was also considered the star variety of the vintage, although all three grapes produced excellent fruit.

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