• Pierre Cheval-Gatinois, of Champagne Gatinois in Aÿ

    I was surprised and saddened by the news today that Pierre Cheval has passed away at the age of 66. Proprietor of Champagne Gatinois in Aÿ, he was also the primary personality behind Champagne’s inscription last year on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

    Cheval originally had a career in the French interior ministry, before taking over the Gatinois estate in 1980 with his wife Marie-Paule Gatinois. At their 7.2-hectare estate, whose vineyards are entirely in the grand cru village of Aÿ, he made champagnes of bold flavor and ample body, with personalities as expansive and effusive as his own. When I first met him about fifteen years ago in Aÿ, I asked him to describe his wi
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    1. Jean-Baptiste Geoffroy of Champagne René Geoffroy, during the 2015 harvest in Champagne

      Harvest is progressing smoothly in Champagne, with most people getting into the swing of things at this point. While many people in early-ripening terroirs began picking last week, most in the Montagne de Reims and Côte des Blancs have either just started or will be starting soon. Fortunately, the weather here is currently glorious, with warm, sunny days and cool nights, although it isn’t expected to last—rain showers are in the forecast for Saturday, and next week is looking a little dodgy.

      I stopped in at René Geoffroy yesterday, where Jean-Baptiste Geoffroy is justifiably excited about his results so far. “The grapes are very ripe, in perfect condition,” he say
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      1. 2015 harvest dates in Champagne

        The Comité Champagne announced the opening dates for the 2015 harvest today, and as expected after this unusually warm growing season, the harvest is relatively early. Officially, it actually begins today, August 29th, in Montgueux, which, with its fully south-facing slopes, is a notably warm terroir for Champagne. However, at least one grower there got special dispensation to begin picking two days ago, due to the ripeness of his grapes.

        Elsewhere in the Aube, picking will begin in the next few days: Buxeuil, Celles-sur-Ource, Merrey-sur-Arce and Polisy are all authorized to begin on th
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        1. La Fête du Champagne, New York City, November 5-7, 2015

          I’m pleased to announce that Daniel Johnnes and I are bringing La Fête du Champagne back to New York City for a second year! Following the success of last year’s event, we’re expanding our producer lineup and introducing several new features.

          Grand Tasting & Gala Dinner
          As with last year, the centerpieces of La Fête du Champagne are the Grand Tasting and Gala Dinner, both of which will be held on Saturday, November 7th. The Grand Tasting involves 33 of Champagne’s finest producers, both well-known houses and grower estates, who will be pouring over 130 champagnes: new guests this year include Marie-N
          1. Club Trésors de Champagne: La Boutique, Reims

            The Club Trésors de Champagne has existed since 1971, and many champagne lovers around the world are familiar with the iconic Spécial Club bottling, which represents the prestige cuvée for each of the Club’s member estates. However, aside from being associated with that special champagne, the Club has rarely had a unified presence—it hosts a couple of tastings each year, but these are largely inaccessible to anyone outside of the Champagne region, and even its public tasting during April’s annual champagne week has only existed for the past few years.

            Club Trésors de Champagne, Quartier de Boulingrin, Reims

            In May of thi
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