The Calendar of a Complicated Vintage from Chassenay d’Arce

26th September 2016


Chassenay d’Arce, Maison de Vignerons de la Côte des Bar, is in full swing. It is the other all important location in Champagne, where Pinot Noir reigns supreme.

The start to the crush in the middle of September has provided good quality fruit. The Pinot Noir variety has achieved an average alcohol level of around 10° and acidity levels close to 10.75 g/l. The grapes are healthy and the first must tasting indicated a high standard of quality, which means the wines should be well balanced.

In terms of quantity? If the bunches are the right weight – on average 130 g – the harvest is irregular because of adverse weather conditions. As a result, the crop is unfortunately half the size of an average year.
Frost, rain, hail, heatwave… the calendar of a complicated vintage.

2016’s mild winter ensured a budburst within the average period of the past ten years. It was followed by a cold springtime and as of the 18th of April, several episodes of frost harmed many vines. The one on the 27th of April was dramatic as it caused serious damage. Some spots were entirely frozen. The worst affected parcels took over two weeks to start growing again. On the 17th of May, there was hardly any vegetation in some plots. Then twice as much rainfall as usual for the season and cool temperatures from April to June, slowed down the cycle of the spared vines by about a fortnight. Due to this significant rainfall, the area’s winegrowers had to fight against highly present mildew, affecting once again, the harvest’s potential.

On the 7th of June, hail also further destroyed the harvest in some sectors. Fortunately, as of full bloom, observed on the 25th of June, showers were intermittent and temperatures became festive. The start to the veraison of the grapes was noted on the 9th of August. The fruit ripened quickly as it still benefited from summer conditions, thereby increasing by 1.5° per week. The sanitary conditions were excellent. Unfortunately, one last climatic variation occurred between the 24th of the 27th of August, as the heat wave burnt part of the harvest, reducing once again its size.

Glass of Bubbly

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