The 2017 harvest started on September 2 in challenging conditions. I decided to take a moment to look back on the year 2017 and the consequences for us right now. The year started well, with a warm and beautiful spring which lead to an early flowering–roughly 15 days ahead of what we usually observe (and even earlier for Chardonnay!) We kept this difference until the harvest, also 2 weeks early, putting 2017 alongside 2007 or 2011 in terms of harvest dates.
Like the rest of France, Champagne suffered from frost but we were generally less affected than other regions. The summer was globally morose, slightly warmer than usual but with a lot more rain. This was especially true during the second half of August when we experienced what felt like tropical weather: sadly this created the perfect conditions for botrytis to develop.
As in 2016, the harvest circuit that we are used to will be profoundly modified. For Pinot Noir almost all the sectors are ready at the same time, when we usually harvest the vineyards in Verzenay 4 or 5 days after Aÿ… The most important point for Pinot Noir, though, is related to sanitary conditions: we could choose to play catch up and harvest grapes of moderate quality everywhere; we rather decided, following the positive outcome of 2010, to sacrifice some vineyards, freeing the time needed to pick beautiful grapes in other areas. As for Chardonnay, it was early this year, yet we opted to harvest it at the same time as Pinot Noir: in this case without any pressure from rot, we felt confident we would afford to wait for greater maturity. This is our bet for 2017… fingers crossed!