Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Debate a Bubble - Champagne in August

Debate a Bubble - Champagne in August

Link to Debate a Bubble - Champagne News and Reviews

Champagne in August

Posted: 01 Sep 2010 01:57 AM PDT

Conges annuelsAugust in France

Love it or hate it you have to admit it's relaxed.

The whole country seems to down tools and come to a halt and nowhere is that more true than here in Champagne

Here's the notice that was put up a few weeks ago in the window of our local village restaurant

On Holiday Until 31st August

Walk down the street and you could have spotted a similar notice in just about every window.

Sounds idyllic in a way - lots of peace and quiet and total relaxation. Nothing doing here so why not go off on holiday yourself?

That's exactly what we did but we came back on August 23rd and so we've had another week of absolute... well, nothing really

Anyway, all of a sudden things are getting back to normal and in Champagne that means getting ready for the Harvest

The weather hasn't been great for the past few weeks. Fairly grey skies with lots of rain and lowish temperatures, so the grapes have been ripening very slowly indeed.

So slowly in fact that the latest estimates are that the Harvest won't start until 20th at the earliest.

Contrast that with 2003, the year it was so scorchingly hot and when the Harvest started before the end of August - no long holidays that year!

Still, out in the vineyards the grapes are slowly turning black (except the Chardonnay of course). This process is called La Veraison and is the last stage of the year... just a few weeks now until the culmination of the entire year's work Almost ripe

Soon now you'll see lots of vignerons out in the vines testing the grapes for sugar levels and acidity, trying to judge the moment when the balance of the two is perfect and harvesting can begin.

Mind you they can't start until the CIVC ( Comité Interprofessionel du Vin de Champagne) publishes the official dates for each village.

That's right. Each village is given an official start date and closing date. Within those limits each vigneron can set their own harvesting dates, but you have to stay within the set period.

Once the Harvest gets under way it will be all hands to the pump: picking, transporting the grapes to the press, pressing and fermenting - no time then to take a break for several days on end, so perhaps a near total shut in August make a lot of  sense after all.

More news  about the Harvest in a short while, so look in again soon

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