Skörderapport från Champagne Deutz
Läs Champagne Deutz skörderapport för 2018. Ljuv musik för vinälskare.
The best in living memory?
"As if Nature had wanted to be forgiven for 2017...” Fabrice Rosset
2018, a year of superlatives!
Extraordinary, mind-boggling, prodigious, fabulous... that’s how you might describe
the 2018 wine harvest. The triad of quality, quantity and maturity, not experienced for
many a decade, came together in 2018, to our great delight. We had hardly dared to pray
for it, but Saint Vincent blessed us all the same! Vintage of the Century? Only time will tell,
but what is certain is that it will remain etched in all our memories...
A wet, wet winter
The rain that had already been with us at the end of the 2017 campaign was
omnipresent over the autumn and winter. The months of November, December and
January were generally mild but particularly wet.
Over three months, the Champagne region received the equivalent of nearly 6 months’
rainfall. In spite of the difficult conditions, our wine growers remained stoic and the pruning
work moved ahead at a steady pace throughout the season. However, the high humidity of
the soil prevented us from getting the tractors out: the grinding of the vine branches and the
spreading of fertilizer had to wait.
Just when we thought that winter was on its way out, it stepped up its offensive in
February. A first snowy spell, bringing about 20 cm of snow, in the week of 12 February,
forced us to down tools in the vineyards for several days. At the end of the month, winter
played its final card, with a glacial wind which brought the already negative temperatures
to well below -10°C with the windchill factor, despite the sunshine. This cold spell, tough
on us humans, was nevertheless very welcome as it allowed us to move ahead with the mechanical work.
The snow, which we are no longer used to, made an appearance again at the start of
March, only melting a few days later, and then fell again in the night of 17 to 18 March.
It is the temperatures in March that have the most influence on the dates of bud burst. As
March was cold, we saw a breaking of buds a few days later than the 10-year average (13
April), on the 15th for the Chardonnay, 17th for the Pinot Noir and 18th for Meunier.
A fast vegetative cycle
From the end of April, the vine grew in fits and starts as the thermometer yoyo-ed up
and down. Rampant at bud burst, it slowed in late April/early May, only to set off again at
a fast pace.
The hot, dry weather continued into May. The delay in bud burst was quickly caught
up and the vine’s growth was now running ahead. Flowering was fast and furious,
occurring around 12 days earlier than the average, suggesting that the harvest would be
early. The average dates of full flowering were 30th May for the Chardonnay, 2nd June for
the Pinot Noir and 3rd June for the Meunier.
Temperatures remained high for the season and allowed some stormy weather to set
in in late May/early June. Luckily, we were spared the hail. The risk of mildew was high
but kept under control. Powdery mildew was non-existent in our plots of vines.
July and August brought with them record levels of sunshine, the advanced growth
did not slow down and we started to see the first signs of veraison from 20th July. The
message was given to the teams to be ready for harvesting any time from 20th August. The
control of maturity samples taken from mid-August onwards only confirmed that the
harvest would be early.
A happy ending
Harvesting in the Deutz vineyards kicked off in Ay, on 25th August, in sunshine that
was to stay with us for most of the harvesting.
The order of plot picking carefully devised by Patrick Boivin (Vineyard Director) and
Cédric Georget, his right-hand man, enabled us to bring in grapes at optimum maturity,
plot-by-plot. Botrytis, which had given us so much grief last year, didn’t put in an
appearance, allowing us to bring in fine quality grapes in absolutely perfect health.
After 19 days of harvesting, the Champagne Interprofession’s limit for the
appellation of 10,800 kg/ha had been reached. The generosity of the vine also enabled us
to replenish the stock of quality reserve wines, thus magnifying the enhancement effect of
the reserve wines which is so important for the consistency of style and quality of the
Deutz Brut Classic.
On the press, the musts showed an average of 10.74% vol. and an acidity of 5.76 g/L H2SO4.
Like every year, the tastings of the vins clairs in a few months’ time will give us the first
indications of where this historic vintage is headed... Although it is still too early to talk
about vintage, Michel Davesne (Cellar Master) and Olivier Bernard, his assistant, have some
superb raw material to work with. And between you and I, despite his usual reserve, the smile
on the face of our President, Fabrice Rosset, says it all...