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Despite well-reported difficulties in the Champagne region throughout the early part of 2012, a sunny start in September has provided an ideal ripening period and boost to the vintage says Champagne Jacquart winemaker Floriane Eznack.
After the early problems in 2012 within the Champagne region which lead to growers struggling with frost and hailstorm troubles which resulted in oïdium and mildew. Bud frost in April and May was particularly problematic destroying the equivalent of 2,900 hectares. Hailstorms in June and July also damaged close to 1,000 hectares in the region.
Commenting on the growing season Eznack says “Flowering took place throughout rainy and cool spells which lead to some millerandage and some coulure, which isn’t so problematic. After these particularly cool temperatures throughout the first half of the year the sun finally came out in Champagne throughout August which provided vines with their all important sunlight and consistently warm temperatures. As well as long and warm days, we had cool nights which helped grape development considerably.”
“The sunny weather and low rainfall throughout the past month has provided us with a scenario similar to the 2009 vintage with evapotranspiration and dry soils on the surface. The weight and the low number of bunches combined with this dry weather was particularly encouraging for the maturation of the grapes.” Eznack adds.
The balance between the high levels of acidity (9,7 gH2SO4/ L on average) and the potential alcohol levels of around 10.5 degrees has provided similarities with the 1996 vintage which had no rot.
Jacquart began harvesting on 10th September in Sezannes and the Côte des Bars region, and will finish at the end of next week in the later ripening areas for the black grapes in the Montagne de Reims including Mailly. Jacquart anticipate the yield will be lower at around 9,000kg per hectare. The harvest will take around 28 days to complete instead of the usual 21.
Managing Director Laurent Reinteau also believes in the quality of the vintage by saying that “although the harvest will be lower, due to the large area of vineyards we have available we are confident the quality will be high this year. Our growers have produced very healthy grapes with small bunches.”
Courtesy of Alex Layton