Champagne Pommery to launch single vineyard 2003 vintage

Champagne Pommery plans to launch the 2003 vintage of its single vineyard Les Clos Pompadour later this year, marking the second release in this product’s brief history.

Les Clos Pompadour

Les Clos Pompadour was first released in 2011 as a NV using grapes from the 2002 harvest in Pommery’s single vineyard in Reims

At the end of January this year, Pommery’s cellarmaster Thierry Gasco told the drinks business that he had disgorged the 2003 vintage from Les Clos Pompadour three months ago, but would be leaving the wine for a further three months in Pommery’s cellars before releasing the Champagne.

He said the wine needed a little more time maturing post-disgorgement to bring a “little bit of oxidation”, noting that the 2003 vintage was “at the beginning of its life”, and “very young at the moment”.

The Clos Pompadour is a walled vineyard in the town of Reims containing Champagne’s three major grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier.

At 20 hectares, the single vineyard is Champagne’s largest clos, according to Nathalie Vranken, wife of Paul-François Vranken, owner of the Vranken-Pommery Champagne group.

The inaugural Clos Pompadour was released in 2011 using grapes from the 2002 vintage, although, unlike the impending launch, the first release was classified as a non-vintage.

The project to isolate wine from the clos and produce a special label began in 2002 following the purchase of Pommery from LVMH in April that year by Paul-François Vranken.

As soon as the acquisition was complete, Paul-François Vranken told Gasco that he wanted to create a Champagne from the single vineyard.

Gasco told db that he had hired a local Falconer to protect the grapes from bird damage in time for the 2003 vintage from Les Clos Pompadour.

Searching for a solution to bird damage to the grapes in the city-based vineyard, Gasco remembered watching a programme on birds of prey and their ability to scare away other pests.

As a result he brought in a bird specialist who released a Falcon into the vineyard, which not only scared away the birds for the 2003 vintage, but for future harvests as the winged vertebrates memorise where predators have been previously present, according to Gasco.

Like the first release of Les Clos Pompadour, just 2,000 magnums have been made of the 2003 vintage, and it will be sold for around £250 in the UK off-trade.

Gasco pointed out that the 2003 release has “more body” than Les Clos Pompadour from 2002, primarily because of the riper Chardonnay grapes from the former vintage, which make up 75% of the blend.

Both releases have a dosage of 8 g/l and have been bottled in magnums only.

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