Harvest at Champagne AR Lenoble

24th October 2016


The harvest ended last month for Champagne AR Lenoble and they report they are relieved to have brought in superb grapes, a quality that was totally unexpected just a few weeks earlier following such an extreme climatic year.

Champagne suffered frost and hail in the spring then humidity during flowering in June. The heat wave in late August (four days with temperatures of 40 degrees at night) created heat damage in certain plots. The drought stress of 2015 undoubtedly contributed to the underdevelopment of certain clusters.

Nature often prepares us for the worst but during early September, a crucial period for the quality of the grapes, she showed us her tender mercy. The end of maturation period of the grapes took place under the sun, without great heat and with cool nights which helped to preserve acidity.

Both Meuniers and Pinot Noirs showed higher degrees (around 10.5) with some interesting aromatics to be confirmed in due course. Chardonnays showed a nice balance between sugar and acidity, bright acidity with musts that hinted at some very nice wines to come.

All pressing at AR Lenoble is done inside our winery in Damery using three traditional Coquard presses. The same family from Poland has been pressing grapes for us for more than 36 years. Stefan was the son of a fellow doctor who worked with Anne and Antoine’s father Jean-Marie Malassagne, himself a prominent obstetrician gynaecologist in Reims, who was looking for work during the harvest in 1980. He and his family have been coming back to manage the pressing house every year since!

At AR Lenoble, we prefer to keep our opinions to ourselves at the end of the harvest regarding the potential of a 2016 vintage. We would rather wait to taste the vins clairs over several months starting in January 2017 before making any decision. While the tasting of any Champagnes resulting from the 2016 harvest will have to wait until at least 2020.

Glass of Bubbly

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