Most producers say it is too early to determine whether vintage Champagnes will be made from the 2007 harvest. Management of individual vineyards is likely to prove the deciding factor.
The season kicked off hot. April saw unusually high temperatures and flowering arrived a month early, in May. But it was far from homogenous, with differences arising even between parcels. Rain followed, and then a cold, wet summer which continued the vintage’s ‘uneven’ theme. Ripening was patchy, and the high humidity made rot a constant threat.
On 24 August, good weather returned, together with a drying east wind, and most houses began picking soon after, earlier than normal. Despite the cloudiest summer since records began, the mild winter end and early flowering shifted the whole season – and harvest – forward.
Hail decimated some localised areas in the run-up to picking in the southern Aube area, driving down quantities still further after unripe and rotten fruit was removed.
Chardonnay was the least affected by the chaotic weather and uneven ripening and is the most consistent in terms of ripeness. The maturity of both Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir is more varied as the varieties suffered from attacks of mildew and botrytis in several spots. Potential alcohol is slightly below the average since 2002, yet acidity is higher than normal, but not alarmingly so.
Growers who held their nerve and picked later because of uneven ripeness in the vineyard are likely to be rewarded with better quality and maturity.
2007 is the first year under Champagne’s newly installed maximum yield of 15,500kg/ha, but most growers will not have attained that level.
Too early to say. Vintage Champagne cannot be released until a minimum of three years after the first January following the harvest (ie 2011 for the 2007 harvest).