Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet TM
Copyright all rights reserved
The indomitable and irrepressible Travelling Gourmet TM reveals that the harvest in Champagne, France has begun in August instead of September because of the…
MOST extraordinary heatwave and hot dry summer of 2022.
Seasonal grape pickers have been hired to start the harvest earlier this year, as climate change forces the makers of the French sparkling wine to rethink how they make the coveted bubbly.
A harvest in August rather than in early September last year in 2021, used to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience in the Champagne region, said Charles Philipponnat, president of the family-owned Philipponnat Champagne winery that produces several hundred thousand bottles a year – but not anymore.
“It’s quite clear that global warming is having an effect now,” he said in his winery in northern France.
Around him, pickers hired for the short harvesting season and paid for what they pick were rushing around in temperatures well above 30C as the sun beat down on the steep hillside where the precious Pinot grape grows. Champagne is made with Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay grapes.
It is important to pick the grapes before they become over-ripe and supercharged with sugar to make Champagne, the King of Wines and the Wine of Kings. Just like Durian is the King of Fruits and the Fruit of Kings.
“I think we’re at the turning point,” Charles Philipponnat explained. “So far, global warming has helped: harvest in good weather conditions without rain, without too much cold, with ripeness and little rot.”
Producers across France are expecting this year’s harvest to yield a good quality vintage when it makes its way to market, a relief after frost and mildew fungus attacks ravaged vineyards in 2021, something dry and hot weather helped prevent this year.
“What’s coming now is possibly over-ripe grapes,” Philipponnat said. “Possibly too dry summer seasons that will cause other problems, that we’ll need to adapt to. We’ll need to adapt our viticulture, and adapt our oenology – the way we make the wines.”
Some of my favourite Champagnes are Gonet, Krug, Taittinger, Duval-Leroy, Moet & Chandon, Pol Roger, Mumm and more…Champagne is so good with Duim Sum, Lobster, Scallops and Caviar!
The Travelling Gourmet TM says: Keep calm and carry on drinking Champagne