The harvest in Champagne was in full swing when we kicked off our autumn wine tour season with Champagne on September 11. And we mostly saw happy faces. Alexandre Penet at Champagne Penet-Chardonnet in Verzy looked very pleased when he talked about his healthy-looking grapes. Charles Philipponnat at the eponymous small prestige house in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ said he would have liked to have a slightly larger volume but he was very satisfied with the quality of the grapes and the balance between the acidity and the sugar.
Marine Zabarino at Champagne Vincey in Oger confirmed high sugar levels. This small and very ambitious grower in the Côte des Blancs never chaptalizes. Overall there should not be much need for chaptalizing after this very warm summer.
However, heat is not only positive. It is one of the things that have reduced the volume. We sometimes saw small dried grapes in the bunches, like raisins. This was the result of the two heatwaves this summer with record temperatures for Champagne of 42.9 degrees C.