Harvest 2018 : Superbe, magnifique or put simple : just zen
5.000 kiloes of grapes.This is the weight, that has passed through the hands of each picker in average at our place. It gets close to double of an ordinary year. That is like any other year than 2018, where absolutely nothing has been neither normal nor ordinary in Champagne. The seven days of grape harvest at Champagne Tange-Gerard were Zen. Simply put.
A deep pleasure to collect perfect fruits
Please imagine the clusters. They may be Pinots of a deep blue colour, at places close to black, or green Chardonnays turning yellow with their dark and barely visible points on a skin that lets you catch just a glimpse of the tiny pips inside. The grapes are not big enough to touch each other leaving the clusters open instead of compact. And there are so many of them that none in Champagne saw anything like it ever. The result of perfect weather throughout the flowering in june and ever since.
These blue and green spheres are what this is about. They throng the branches of the vines, just perfect. No of rots, mildew or other scourges that we usually have to sort out. This year all clusters are in perfect health. One after another. We eat as many as we want to. The acidity does not bite as much as some years, but it still counterbalances the sweetness of grapes, that grew up in paradise all summer.
Not everyone would choose the word Zen to describe the repetitive task when you cut five ton of absolutely gorgeous grapes in seven days. But those of us who did this before know from within that what we experience this week is on another level than ever before.
Future champagnes from a superb year
The best way to make good champagne is to have ditto grapes for a start. The sacrosanct ba-lance between sugar and acidity counts, yes sir indeed, but the best possible start of something big is still to have absolutely healthy grapes in your press.
To say that we do not have expectations to the vintage of such an exceptional year as 2018 would be a downright lie. We had the last taste of the must right off the presses on the last day of the harvest at our place, August 31rd. Now is the period where the must fermentates to wine, next year, we will fermentate it once again in the bottle and after a couple of years or four more in the caves, it will have transformed into champagne. Only then will come the time of looking for words to qualify the quite extraordinary grapes of 2018.
The next single is ont its way
This autumn we plan to present our next single : a blanc de blancs champagne from 2014. A year that began early and warm to change into rain and cold to finally end happily with sun and sugar and it is all there in the bottle, certified sustainable as is cuvée Solliage from 2013.
We have sold Solliage since February this year. It has received many fine words and sold well, which confirms us in our big investment, economically and timewise, to create a new range of champagnes. Of course we continue to sell our old brut friends like Tradition and Noirs & Blancs, both non vintage, the vintage champagnes Blanc de Blancs (2012/13) and Selection (2007) and the rosé champagnes Rosé d’Assemblage og Rosé de Saignée,
Regards from Zenpagne,
Alain Gérard and Solveig Tange, Soulieres, September 2018