Looking back on Harvest 2017
Harvest in the Champagne region began on 26th August as warm days at the beginning of the summer brought forward the growing cycle by 10 days compared to the region’s average since the beginning of the century. 2017 was among the five earliest harvest start-dates in Champagne’s history, alongside 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2013.
At a meeting between the Syndicat Général des Vignerons (SGV) and the Unions des Maisons de Champagne (UMC) on 21st July in Epernay, it was agreed to set 2017’s harvest yield at 10,300 kilograms per hectare with an additional 500kg/ha from the reserve taking the total to 10,800kg/ha.
Harvest at AR Lenoble started on 1st September for our 6 hectares of Pinot Noir in the Premier Cru village of Bisseuil and our 2 hectares of Meunier in Damery. The harvest of our 10 hectares of Chardonnay in the Grand Cru village of Chouilly started on 3rd September.
Our very last grapes were pressed on 10th September. As usual, 100% of our grapes were pressed in our three traditional Coquard presses at the house in Damery.
Things were looking very positive during the first half of the summer but a wet month of August, featuring rain and occasional hailstorms, led to the development of botrytis across the region days before the harvest.
There were some good things to be found – but only for those who were vigilant and who sorted, both in the vineyard and in front of the wine press. Those growers who were not as careful struggled to find homes for their grapes, with many houses refusing deliveries due to lackluster quality. 2017 will be remembered as a year where sorting was of the upmost importance. The best producers preferred to leave grapes on the ground rather than bring them into the winery.
At AR Lenoble, we let the grass grow in our vineyards in order to reduce yields on purpose. Those producers who didn’t control the yields of their Pinot Noir were particularly susceptible to botrytis this year.
Acidity levels were around 7,5 with Ph between 3,05 and 3,10. For the first time ever, Antoine made the decision to block 100% of the malolactic fermentation this year.
Generally-speaking, it appears to have been a more promising year for Chardonnay. But only time will tell once we start to taste the vins clairs after vinification has been completed.
Coming soon – The AR Lenoble Kitchen!
Although Maison AR Lenoble was founded in 1920, our buildings in Damery date back to 1772, that is to say seventeen years before the French Revolution. Major renovations started in April 2017 will be completed at the end of October.
The renovation of our house is centered around a professional tasting room, a living room and a dining room, but also, and above all, around a kitchen which will become a centre of life and a place for sharing.
The kitchen has been equipped by Gaggenau and features a central cooking station to allow us to prepare simple dishes in front of our guests. A plancha and a rôtisserie will be the main tools we use to cook our favourite dishes like tuna steaks, jumbo prawns and farm-raised chicken.
Gaggenau was founded in 1683 as an ironworks in the small village bearing its name in Germany’s Murgtal Valley at the foot of the Black Forest, by Margrave Ludwig Wilhelm von Baden. A pioneer in innovation and design, Gaggenau brings professional culinary technology to the domestic kitchen inspired by the requirements of leading professionals and top chefs.
The products cooked in our kitchen will be products of the season, of terroir, and of quality. Our idea is to show that the Champagne is even better when it’s enjoyed in a warm setting accompanied by simple dishes.
The menus will be organized around large plates meant to be shared on a high kitchen table made of wood, accompanied by several different wines from AR Lenoble. We will expect you to amuse yourself by discovering the specific food pairing that best corresponds to what you like personally.
We look forward to welcoming you at the AR Lenoble Kitchen very soon surrounded by your favourite wines from Champagne AR Lenoble. By appointment only.
We had a great summer at our « loge » in Bisseuil
In 1947, Anne and Antoine’s grandfather, Lucien Méa, a vigneron in the commune of Bisseuil, decided to build a shelter in the middle of his vineyards. This hut is one of the 120 lodges registered in 2012 by the Parc Naturel Régional de Champagne.
This cabin, known as a “Loge”, was the “second home” of our grandfather. Vines require care – and meticulous daily monitoring, and our grandfather watched over his vineyards from here. This loge was a real convenience for him, especially since he lived at a time when people traveled a lot on foot or on bicycle, as mechanization was non-existent. This cabin allowed him to store his tools and take shelter from the weather. It also had an underground tank which allowed him to store rainwater in order to better take care of his vineyards.
Unfortunately, under the pressure of mechanization and the inflation of the price of land, the majority of these lodges have been destroyed or abandoned. They are nevertheless a real link to our region and to our history, contributing to the identity of the landscapes of the vineyards of Champagne.
Thus, being sensitive to biodiversity and out of respect for the landscapes of the Champagne region and its history, we decided to renovate our lodge last winter.
Our lodge in Bisseuil is now closed for the seaon but during the summer, we spent many convivial moments here in the heart of our vineyard, very often accompanied by dishes such as pâté en croûte (ou pâté-croûte en champenois), a “charcuterie pâtissière” of pâté cooked inside a puff pastry.
We look forward to seeing you in Bisseuil next year!
CSWWC Chairman’s Trophy for AR Lenoble
On 14th September in London, AR Lenoble was awarded the prestigious Chairman’s Trophy by Tom Stevenson and Essi Avellan at the Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships.
AR Lenoble Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Chouilly Vintage 2008 en Magnum was also awarded “Best in Class” for “Best Low or No Dosage Champagne”.
Download a PDF of the AR Lenoble October 2017 Newsletter here: AR LENOBLE NEWSLETTER 9th October 2017.docx
This post is also available in: French