The 2023 harvest with Canard-Duchêne
In the heart of sun-drenched vineyards, what a sweet symphony the start of the Champagne harvest brings!
Join Canard-Duchêne for an effervescent review and a journey to the heart of the 2023 Champagne harvest!
Each year, the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin Champagne (CIVC) publishes an article setting out the official dates for the start of the harvest. It applies to each of the 319 communes in the appellation, considering the grape varieties for each commune.
There are no fewer than 33,105 hectares in the Champagne appellation, spread across the departments of Marne, Aube, Aisne, Seine-et-Marne and Haute-Marne.
In order to fix the dates, winegrowers and wine merchants in each commune take samples of the grapes in August to monitor their alcohol content. The grapes cannot be harvested before the set date, except by special dispensation, but harvesting can begin a little later.
This year, the harvest began later, from September 4th to September 20th, whereas last year began on 18 August.
Harvest 2023: August, the troublemaker
The situation before veraison (ripening) appears to be under control.
Powdery mildew, a very threatening fungus in several areas, is generally well under control.
The number and, above all, the size of the bunches point to a generous harvest, which can count on healthy, active foliage to bring it to maturity without difficulty…
However, the picture quickly darkened at the end of July with the arrival of heavy rain. The cool, rainy weather that lasted until mid-August disrupted the ripening process and, above all, weakened the bunches.
A few outbreaks of Botrytis, also known as gray rot, appeared and soon led to fears of general deterioration.
Fortunately, conditions are gradually drying out!
At the same time, temperatures are rising again, kick-starting the ripening process.
Despite this, concerns about the ripeness and health of the grapes remained. The exceptional load limited the rise in temperature and the heatwave that hit the Champagne region at the beginning of September fuelled fears of a complicated harvest.
The first pruning began in a scorching heat, which had an impact on the grapes.
– The Chardonnay grapes, which obviously coped well with the combination of humidity and heat, are being harvested healthy and ripe.
– The situation is more mixed for Pinot Noir and Meunier, which were more affected by this end to the growing season. Their uneven ripeness necessitated rigorous sorting everywhere.
This harvest is once again unique: one year follows another, but no two are alike…
A mixed harvest beating all records
There has been a new record for the weight of bunches this year. They weighed an average of 220g, compared to 175g in 2005, the year of the last record!
This weight means that:
– All the winegrowers to reach the maximum yield imposed by the CIVC,
– Only the best grapes can be kept.
Indeed, knowing that they could easily reach the maximum yield, the winemakers were able to take the time to select the most promising bunches from their entire vineyard. This sorting process ensures that only the best of the 2023 harvest is selected.
The grapes harvested in 2023 are expected to have a strong aromatic expression. Physical characteristics such as color, skin and seed texture, and aromas are more developed than sugar potential, indicating that sugar levels have not yet peaked, promising unique wines for tasting.
To taste what the harvest has produced, we’ll have to let it reveal all the richness of its aromas between now and 2026.
Keep in mind that patience is not the absence of action, but the wisdom of knowing when the time is right to let what you have sown flourish.
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