2015, An atypical year
Rarely is one year similar to the previous one and that is surely the main attraction of the vigneron's work. But 2015 has proved a really atypical year - and a truly exceptional one - in view of the weather conditions observed.
The winter of 2014-2015 was rather mild with sustained rainfall, helping to redress the vineyard's hydric balance. Which was fortunate as we were to experience a rarely seen drought period in spring and early (April to mid-August) summer 2015. August will remain on record as the hottest since 1961 !
Also to be noted was the highest average temperature over the period since systematic records have been kept. That just goes to show...
Such drought forced the vine to burrow deep for water, drawing in thetrue substance of the terroir.
Rain made a last minute comeback, putting an end to the soil's drying up, feeding the vines and allowing grapes to ripen.
This 'surprise' year 2015 however turned out to be a nice surprise.
Musts are rich in sugar and though acidity is slightly lower than usual, this will not be detrimental to wine ageing. 2015 harvest characteristics are in line with those of 1999, 2002, 2005 and 2006 which all produced fine cuvées.
An atypical year indeed as mentioned earlier, but a "educational year" as well. In fact, such peculiar weather conditions have greatly highlighted the character of each terroir, as ripering was staggered depending on exposure. In Cramant for instance one noted the terroir's strong minerality while on the plain, finesse was prominently displayed. Such discrepancies within the same terroir did not make the choice of a harvest date any easier, if each plot was to yield its optimal qualities.
But such palpable differences in expression were an opportunity for the winemaker to indulge in creating highly individual cuvées for the wine lover's enjoyment. A jolly good way of coming full circle.
We should mention that in 1915 the estate invested in stainless steel vats making possible piecemeal vinification and producing yet more precise champagnes.
Clear wines grapes Chardonnay from the hills south of Epernay is very open and scented (flowers and fruit) with a springtime nose. One immediately wishes to taste it. It reveals freshness, grease and matter as its main characteristics and slowly discloses a very light delicate bitterness on finish.
Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs is more mineral with the salty, chalky touch of its terroir giving great depth to the wine. It could almost be enjoyed "without the fizz" (with seafood for instance), which says a lot of its intrisic qualities.
Its potential and ageing capability should produce a fine vintage.
The Meunier from the hills south of Epernay and the Marne Valley is very "fruity fresh" : gooseberries, citrus fruit (pink grapefruit) with lots of roundness and slightly acidic flavour. The nose is a bit closed but the mouth is opulent, confirming the qualities mentioned. Here is a lively, very drinkable wine !