Newsletter September 2020
2020 is proving to be a challenging year for the Champagner region in more than one way. Covid and Brexit has led to a drop in champagne sales affecting especially the big houses. To compensate loss of sales, the big houses wanted to drastically reduce the quantity of grapes harvested this year from 10000kg/ha kg to 7000-6000 kg/ha. For grower champagnes harvesting such quantites would mean they could not cover their costs. In the end both parties agreed on 8000 kg/ha.
I think this shows us the divergence of philosophies in the region. The big houses generally speaking are selling a luxury product, whereas the grower producers are moving more and more to a burgundian model, where expressing terroir is the ultimate aim. The customer, who buys champagne as a luxury item does not in my experience buy producer champagne and vice versa, there are exceptions. It is a shame that the Union des Maisons de Champagne (the union representing the interest of the houses) has such power, as they ultimately want to manipulate the market and sustain an inflated price for their over priced products. We have seen what has happenened in Bordeaux and it seems the Union des Maisons de Champagne are going to make the same mistakes.
2020 has also seen the earliest harvest begin, the 17th of August was set as the official date but harvesting had begun already on the 13th. A generation ago harvesting was usually in October, over the last twenty years harvesting started with some exceptions in September. Also the levels of alcohol in the grapes this year is exceedling high. In Ambonnay and Bouzy Pinot Noir grapes have been harvested with 12%. There are already areas in the Champagne, where it is too hot to make single vineyard champagne for instance Mont Aigu in Chouilly or the Clos Bouzy, these have to be diluted with vin clairs from cooler regions before the second fermentation.
Also such early harvesting results in the wines lacking complexity; the producers have no choice but to harvest early, otherwise high alcohol levels are unavoidable, a catch 22 situation. The slow ripening in September where the days are warm and the nights cold are ideal for the development of complexity without the alcohol levels going over the top, such late harvests are soon becoming a thing of the past.
My advice for those looking for mineral and acidity driven champagnes (cold climate champagnes) now is the best time to buy. As there seems to be no real political will to tackle the enviromental issues causing the climate to heat up. It will become more and more challenging for traditional wine growing regions as we are seeing this year with such an exceptionally premature harvest.
Although we are perhaps standing on the edge of the abyss, not everything is negative. In the Champagne region there are numerous producers, who are acutely aware of how important it is to work with and not against nature. For this reason we are doing a special action in September with Bio-Dynamic producers.
Bio-dynamics in the Champagne is in many ways a revolt against the chemical revolution that took place in the sixties and seventies. The Champagne region similiar to many other wine regions placed an emphasis on quantity regardless of quality. The increase of quantity was only possible through the use of pesticides, herbicides and artificial fertilisers; the cost and damage to the ecosystem and also to those working in such enviroments was high.
Bio-dynamics which is different to Culture Biologique places emphasis on the balance between the plants and their enviroment. Bio-dynamics wants to give the vines their own natural strength to fight and be resistant to diseases, it also want to increase the quantiy of Anthocyanine (simply put responsible for the colour of the grapes), and aroma elements in the grapes and to naturally decrease the quantity of grapes produced.
Bio-dynamics goes hand in hand with trying to express Terroir to the maximun in the wines. Terroir is similiar to the Trinity, it cannot be rationally explained, you have to believe in it. Ultimately Bio-Dynamics means we have to trust nature and live with nature rather than attempt to be the master of nature.
The works of Rudolf Steiner are very difficult to digest, he never wrote about wine. Yet numerous producers have been influenced by him and also by Maria Thun. I am not of a scientific mindset and it is easy to ridicule the idea of burying a horn filled with cow manure etc. Yet despite the ridicule of some quarters the wines and champagnes being produced are complex, full of tension and minerality and for those in search of wines that offer character and individuality they are a godsend.
It would be too complicated in a newsletter to describe the individual philosophies of the producer, who we are listing on our website. They all have the greatest respect for the nature, they are pioneers and have played a large role in influencing the generations after them. You can find full profiles of the individual producers, their champagnes and special offers at www.assaggi-weinhandel.de.
Only in September 5% discount on orders over 200,00 € and 10% discount on orders over 500,00 € on Champagnes from this category "Angebot Newsletter September"
Please go to www.assaggi-weinhandel.de/angebot-newsletter-september for our complete selection.
Inh. Donald Pennet
Unter den Felsen 9
76332 Bad Herrenalb
We offer one of the most comprehensive ranges of grower champagnes with competitive prices. We only sell the latest degorgements sorced direct from the producers. With us you have the chance to purchase top champagnes from the likes of Egly-Ouriet, Bereche or Agrapart, also difficult to source champagnes from Marie Neolle Ledru and Ulysse Colin. We have very good contacts in the region and have an eye for the producers of tomorrow. If you require advice, do not hesitate to contact us. We send to all european countries.