Friday, September 17, 2010

Debate a Bubble - 2010 Champagne Harvest - Day 5

Debate a Bubble - 2010 Champagne Harvest - Day 5

Link to Debate a Bubble - Champagne News and Reviews

2010 Champagne Harvest - Day 5

Posted: 17 Sep 2010 04:59 AM PDT

Getting down to picking At last a lovely sunny morning and the harvest is gathering more momentum as more and more villages reach their appointed start date.

This morning I was at Mailly Champagne, a Grand Cru village in the Montagne de Reims and was chatting to some pickers who had the task of picking Pinot Noir to produce a rosé de saignée champagne*

In contrast to the method used to make most white champagne where the juice is run off from the skins as soon as as possible, to make  rosé de saignée requires the grape skins to be left in contact with the freshly-pressed grape juice for several hours so that the pigment from the skins can seep into the juice to produce the lovely rosé colour.

With the normal method it isn't a disaster if  some leaves and a few less-than-ripe, or even rotten, grapes, find their way into the rest of the batch to go in press; those grapes are not in contact with the juice long enough to taint the liquid.

But when picking for rosé de saignée you  need to pay  extra attention when picking to make sure you get rid of everything except heatlhy, ripe grapes.

Below is a series of pictures that takes you through part of the picking process and, I hope, gives you a feel of how lovely it is here in Champagne right now

We'll be looking at what happens inside the press house in future blog posts so do visit again soon and by the way, if  you want to know more about rosé de saignée* then the perfect way to find out and to discover lots more about champagne is to Meet MONICA on this link

Tractor loading the caisses

As soon as it's light the tractor will deliver the empty storage cases to the vineyard. Later, when they're full, the tractor will rush them back to the press house.

These cases are yellow, but they come in all colours, although they're all the same size.






Next the cases are put along the rows so they're ready to be filled. Caisses waiting to be filled












Into the bucket


You don't have to do this and often the grapes are first put into small baskets and then carried to the end of the rows to be emptied in to the cases .










Whichever method you use, you can't get around the fact that it's back-breaking workCuillieur close up 3

Stacked Caisses Once the cases are filled they're stacked at the side of the vines then loaded on to the tractor and away they go.

Getting the caisses back to the pressoir Usually they will be pressed within about an hour of arriving back at the press house, but if they are picked late at night they might not be pressed until morning.

They're not left any longer though because they will begin to be crushed under their own weight and all that precious juice will be lost.

That's it for this post. See you again soon

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