One year has just ended that the work for the next has already started several months ago. Let’s take a look back at our House’s 2019-2020 wine year:
Precocity and extremes in the vineyard
It’s in the vineyard that our new wine year began in Autumn 2019 with the start of pruning and tying once the last leaves fell. This manual work, which is a key point for the development of the vines and its future harvest, was completed in fairly difficult weather conditions in early 2020 with large amounts of water. We witnessed the wettest month of February on record.
Spring quickly caught up the gloomy start of the year with high temperatures from mid-March. Unusually hot conditions here, Spring 2020 was described as one of the hottest of the 21st century. Summer was dry and punctuated by strong periods of heatwave. This season marked another extreme with the driest month of July ever.
The heat and the lack of water directly impacted the development of the vines as well as the future harvest. The weather conditions of 2020 led to the precocity in the evolution of the vegetative cycle and the exceptional maturation speed of the grapes. The budding of the vines took place in mid-April, 16 days ahead of the average for the last 10 years. An advance maintained until the harvest.
A unique but sublime year
2020 was the earliest harvest ever seen in Champagne. The first shears shots were to be seen by mid-August in certain areas of the appellation. At Champagne Baron-Fuenté, we waited until August 24th to achieve a perfect level of maturity. The harvested bunches were lighter than in previous years due to the drought during the ripening process of the grapes. Meanwhile they had excellent sanitary conditions, a low acidity level and very high quality juices.
This harvest was like no other thanks to its unusual dimension — alike the year 2020 : A early harvest (2 weeks earlier), the strict application of sanitary measures from the vine to the press, the lowest yield at 8000 kg / hectare (versus 10,200 kg / hectare in 2019). We nevertheless retain a dry, mild, sunny and sometimes even very hot weather for our pickers with only a few drops of rain at the end of the first week to refresh them.
The wines of the year already allow us to perceive the great quality and potential of the harvest. They are balanced, on fruit and freshness, with a beautiful aromatic expression. The years follow one another and are not similar, yet this amazing harvest is part of an exceptional trilogy with the 2018 and 2019 ones. They bring us the promise of beautiful blends and vintages in the coming years.
For the moment, the wines are still waiting in our winery before the blending of our different cuvees and their bottling at the beginning of 2021.