Chardonnay ‘winner’ in Champagne harvest

As this year’s harvest in Champagne draws to a close, producers are heralding the quality of the Chardonnay grapes.

Harvesting in Champagne

2014 may be the source of outstanding blanc de blancs

Speaking to the drinks business on Wednesday this week, Veuve Clicquot senior winemaker Cyril Brun said that the vintage had produced “beautiful results with the Chardonnay”, with “a very good balance between the sugar and acidity”.

Meanwhile, in a note sent to db yesterday evening, Bruno Paillard from the Champagne house by the same name, described Chardonnay as “the winner of the 2104 harvest”.

Following a “bad summer” in Champagne according to Champagne De Castelnau’s Louis-Charles Pluot, with “cool and rainy” conditions, the vintage was rescued by a “very nice September, with two, warm sunny weeks”.

Nevertheless, as Paillard pointed out, it was the Chardonnay that “resisted the poor summer conditions much better than some Pinots Noirs and Meuniers” – which, in some parts of Champagne, suffered from botrytis.

Continuing, Paillard recorded, “As a result, Chardonnays are of superior quality, including in villages where they are a minority such as Reuil, Venteuil, Cumières, in the Vallée de la Marne, or Verzenay, Verzy, Bouzy, in the Montagne de Reims.”

Nevertheless, Veuve Clicquot’s Brun added that he has witnessed “excellent results on the northern half of the Montagne de Reims for Pinot Noir.”

At Champagne Devaux, chief winemaker Michel Parisot said, “Two regions stand out particularly for the quality of the grapes: the Côte des Blancs and Côte des Bar, including Montgueux, which are the two sources of vineyards for our Group Vinicole Champagne Devaux.”

He added, “The alcoholic fermentations are under process and we are looking for very good still wines.”

Summing up, he said, “It is still too early to decide if 2014 will be declared as a vintage year for Devaux, however, the characteristics of the musts and our first tastings are promising for a such decision.”

As for Paillard, he once more emphasised the superior nature of the Chardonnay from this year’s vintage.

“Obviously, it’s far too early to make a definitive conclusion about the 2014 harvest, but if carefully managed, it can deliver very good to excellent wines, and maybe even outstanding ones, particularly blanc de blancs.”

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