Sunday, April 5, 2009

Planting Ungrafted Vines


It's been a crazy week for me, with little time for blogging. Thank you for all of your e-mails and comments regarding ChampagneGuide.net, and thanks to everyone who's subscribed. I'm looking forward to developing this site.

In the meantime, I've been working on a project with my friend Dave, which involved many visits and tastings here in Champagne over the past week. Among the people we saw was Alexandre Chartogne, who showed us this collection of cuttings that he's preparing for planting—it's chardonnay from a sélection massale of 50-year old vines in the vineyard of Chemin de Reims, Merfy's most renowned site (and one of the sources for Chartogne-Taillet's prestige cuvée, Cuvée Fiacre). Chartogne is going to plant these on their own rootstocks, without grafting, but not only that: he's planting them en foule, in the old system of layering that was practiced in Champagne before phylloxera. Could this be the beginnings of a chardonnay counterpart to Bollinger's Vieilles Vignes Françaises? We'll see. Obviously, planting ungrafted vines here in Champagne is a risky and potentially costly proposition, so wish him luck!

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