ayauesca (ayauesca) wrote,

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Vendanges 2010

Vendanges are over in Champagne. Phew, not the most tiring harvest I've done, less painful than usual. But cutting the grapes was so bothersome this year. Almost all the black grapes were half rotten, so we were asked to sort. Yeah, there are regions where rot (pourriture grise) is what is looked for, but not in Champagne. And then, how do you select grapes when there is rotten grape on each of them? No, you don't throw the bunch away...

You carefully cut off the damaged part(s) of it, yay. So instead of cutting once, you give several secateurs cuts to be sure to remove most of the spoiled grapes of the bunch. With such a method, you don't fill in your little bucket really fast, that's for sure. One of the problems with such harvests, is when you have "experimented" pickers in the crew, because they're used to go fast (often in a "pay by the pound" way of thinking), they won't bother selecting grapes, it would slow them down too much. I've heard a farmer complaining because of a poor quality of his harvest this year, another one didn't even bother harvesting... Well in my case, our farmer paid us by the hour to avoid such issues and he specifically asked us to pay attention, would it not matter if we were a bit slow. And if we had a doubt, we had to taste... When you taste your grapes, you instantly know whether it's good or not, and you have bad surprises sometimes..... For the most spoiled of his vineyards, I was assigned with some others to the cases to sort grapes when the buckets were poured into them (usually this is not needed, sorting while picking is supposed to be enough). We removed well over 50 kg of rotten grape for a small plot harvested in about 7 hours. And the sorting was still far from perfect. :s

Luckily this plague "only" attained the Pinot and Meunier. White grapes (Chardonnay) were perfect and yummy! (Well, the black ones were also really good, when not rotten. Very sweet and juicy.) Overall, compared to previous years, there is not many grapes, and if the farmer is picky like mine, there is even less to press. I wonder what will be the consequences on the production of the next champagnes. Given the ripeness of the fruits, the wine could age faster than other years. In the end, I guess there won't be much difference on the final price, and blending the 2010 wine with other years will tone down the possible flaws it could develop. But it's too early to tell yet. We'll know more in a few months, in the beginning of next year.

As you can see on the pictures (thanks to my mum!), we've been working under a bright sun. That's what I call luck, the first day wasn't like this at all but it went much much better afterwards. And we finished 6 days later, right before the hottest day of the week too, phew. Got just enough sun to improve my summer tan. ^^
Tags: champagne, grapes, harvest, meunier, pinot, vendanges

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