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2021 Harvest: Yield Is Down By Half

Reims, 15 October 2021

As expected, the yield of the 2021 harvest in Champagne is well below the amount set for the appellation this year — up to 13,100 kg of grapes per hectare. Early estimations are in the neighborhood of 6,500 to 7,000 kg per hectare on average.

“— The yield is half of last year’s, which was predictable with the heavy impact of frost and diseases” says Isabelle Tellier, Chef de Cave of the House of Chanoine Frères.

During the harvest, winegrowers carefully and attentively sorted the grapes in the vineyards and kept only the best. That was essential this year due to the mixed quality of the berries resulting from climate and health problems — April frost, hail, and mildew and botrytis, the two fungi that affected the vines one after the other starting in late June.

Reception of the musts ended on 25 September

The reception of the musts began in the House’s cellars in Reims on 14 September with the Pinots Noirs from Les Riceys, the southernmost region in the Champagne appellation, and ended 25 September with the Chardonnay 1er Cru from Sermiers, a village located in the Petite Montagne de Reims. The House of course receives musts from all over Champagne — the Montagne de Reims, Côte des Blancs, Vallée de la Marne, and Côte des Bar regions.

Winemaking, fermentation, and Isabelle Tellier’s impressions

“— I note that the musts are acidic this year. That’s due to the cool temperatures in the vineyards during the vines’ vegetative stage.

The first alcoholic fermentation went well; the aromatic ambience in the vat-room was very pleasant. Our tastings of the wines in the vat have shown a fair amount of fruit.

The wines from all three Champagne grape varieties — Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier — show significant acidity. They contain a lot of malic acid, which the second — called malolactic — fermentation we run will remove in part. Since the malolactic fermentations have just begun in our vats, it’s still too early to assess the evolution of the wines’ acidity.

And since reception of the musts began three weeks later than last year, it’s also too early to make a final qualitative evaluation of the harvest, keeping in mind that we now know that quantities are half what they were in 2020.

Fortunately the quality of the reserve we have in our cellars — a specific Champagne tradition — is really high. These reserve wines are from the harvests of the last three years, which have all been good. That will ensure that we’ll be able to make some very fine assemblages for our Tsarine and Chanoine champagnes.

Isabelle Tellier, Chef de Cave of the House of Chanoine Frères

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