|2001 Harvest Diaries|
|2000 Vintage Report|
Rain was the major problem for the 2001 harvest in Champagne: From October 2000 to October 2001, the region received double its average annual rainfall. As a result, the wines are suitable for blending into non-vintage cuvées, but are not of high-enough quality for vintage Champagne.
In September, prior to the harvest, rain was almost a daily occurrence, according to Jacques Peters, enologist and cellarmaster at Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin. The weather resulted in wines that "are healthy, with good acidity, although lean and without great concentration," he explained.
Ghislain de Montgolfier, president of Champagne Bollinger, said the 2001 vintage was "light and delicate," prompting the house to sell off a portion of its must, as it wasn't suited to the "Bollinger style."
In general, the winter and spring were wet, with Veuve Clicquot reporting some frost damage in April. The weather was variable for much of July, with localized hail near the end of the month. The last three weeks of August were warm and dry, but rain began in September.
The grapes didn't reach full maturity, but Richard Geoffroy, chef de cave for Moët & Chandon's Dom Pérignon cuvée, said that after the primary and malolactic fermentations, "the wines are clean, straightforward and sound. There is no greenness in the wines."
Because quality isn't top-notch, Geoffroy won't bottle a Dom Pérignon from this vintage. Instead, he said, the wines will be useful for blending into other Moët & Chandon cuvées. "[The 2001 vintage] is better than 1984, maybe more like a combination of 1974, 1977 and 1994," he noted.
Overall, the Chardonnay grape harvest was consistent and successful, with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier less so. But Montgolfier noted that the latter two varieties showed better quality from vineyards where yields were reduced in July by pruning off grape clusters.
"It was a larger crop than planned, and the quality of the juice in terms of sugar was not there," commented G.H. Mumm president Jean-Marie Barillère. The wines' potential alcohol level was lower than average, he added. "Nonetheless, we will make a very good non-vintage blend due to the high quality of our reserve wines from 1998, 1999 and 2000."
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions