Grape picking in Champagne is now complete, having commenced on 8 September in the most precocious vineyards and on 20 September in the slowest ripening plots.
In the period April to end July, the growing season was running some 10 days ahead of the ten-year average. August then brought unusually cool and wet conditions, which slowed down ripening, so the eventual harvest dates were no earlier than normal. There was meanwhile a marked difference between day and night temperatures, and this continued through to harvest time – perfect for the final ripening of the grapes.
True to the spirit of a year that suffered no major weather events, the 2014 harvest was gathered in under mainly sunny skies, with temperatures mostly seasonal after a chilly start to the day.
August rains caused the berries to swell mightily, which significantly increased the weight of the clusters without compromising the health of the grapes. The vineyards easily achieved their 10,100 kg/ha target yield, allowing plenty of margin to select the best of the crop.
The musts display good average potential alcohol, pronounced acidity and promising sensory properties, suggesting a good future for the vintage in general and the Chardonnay in particular.
Only time will tell what 2014 has in store for Champagne lovers – we will know better in spring next year when the newly fermented wines get their first testing.
The Comité Champagne
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