Tuesday, September 23, 2008

More Harvest Photos

I spent the weekend poking around more cellars, checking out the results of the harvest. The weather was absolutely gorgeous this weekend, even if it did get a little nippy. Only in Champagne can it be 20 degrees (almost 70°F), brightly sunny, with a clear blue sky, yet you’re still left wishing you brought along a thicker sweater.

At Jean Milan in Oger, Henry-Pol Milan told me that the ripeness was pleasantly high, averaging about 10 to 10.2 degrees of potential alcohol, with a total acidity of a little over 8 grams per liter, which is just about classic. In addition, the quantity was healthy as well, and he’s predicting an average of about 14,000 kilograms per hectare for this harvest. “Last year we had a lot of quantity,” he said, “but this year combines both quantity and quality.”

Up in Verzenay, in the Montagne de Reims, Jean-Luc Lallement reported similar numbers: an average of about 10 degrees alcohol and total acidity around 8.8 or 8.9. The yield was smaller, as he grows mostly pinot noir, and he estimates around 12,500 kilos on average, with the most stingy parcels giving about 7,000 kilos per hectare. Lallement started picking on the 16th, and will probably continue through next weekend. “There’s plenty of sun, and the grapes are continuing to rise in sugar,” he says.

A quiet moment before the harvest in Philipponnat’s Clos des Goisses—the netting at the left is there to catch people if they slip and fall (and this isn’t even the steepest part)


Pressing chardonnay at Champagne Jean Milan


Victor and Louis, the future generation of winemaking at Champagne Jean Lallement in Verzenay

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