A time of plenty
Charles Philipponnat, after the very fine 2022 harvest, how would you describe the 2023 harvest which has just drawn to a close?
The end result of the harvest was highly satisfactory, particularly for the Chardonnay.
The abundance of Pinot Noir grapes meant that the bunches could be sorted in the plots before pressing. In total, we rejected between 5 and 35%, far more than usual! We eliminated all bunches that were not of satisfactory quality, in particular those that were unsound or insufficiently ripe. The harvest was uneven across the region, with some plots suffering from rain in the Marne Valley, Ardre Valley, Petite Montagne de Reims and Aube. Some sectors produced a promising harvest: the Chardonnay in general, and also the early Pinot Noir, including those from our Clos des Goisses plots.
What are your first tasting impressions?
Another feature of the 2023 harvest was that, while the grapes were sometimes less rich in potential alcohol, their sugar content was at its peak. This means that they had reached physiological maturity. At 9° or 9.5° they are as fruit-driven, with the same impression of fruit and the same lack of vegetal aromas, as they would have been last year at 10° or 10.5°. We’ve started tasting the wines, and they’re satisfactory. Some are a little thin and light, but very pleasant nonetheless. In the case of very ripe grapes, i.e. a good half of the harvest, this could be excellent!
Will this uneven harvest between the whites and the blacks have an impact on the House’s blends?
Chardonnay is likely to feature prominently in this year’s blends. This is unusual for our House, which traditionally favours Pinot Noir, but it may give us the opportunity to make a great Blanc de Blancs this year. After all, our House is in perpetual motion; we will adapt as we do each year, and I like the idea that we’re being challenged by this out-of-the-ordinary harvest. This harvest was uneven, with mixed results – but better than the worst harvests of the last two decades… Our ambition over the coming months will be to get the best out of it, for rigorous and selective blending!