• Chardonnay grapes from the 2011 Champagne harvest at J.-L. Vergnon, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger

    Most producers here in Champagne are winding down the harvest now, and while there will undoubtedly be some very good wines made in 2011, it's evident that this has been an unusual vintage. I'll be writing a proper harvest report soon, talking about the vintage in depth, but for now, here are a few salient details:

    Due to the early flowering brought about by warm weather in the spring (which is becoming more and more common in the modern era), this was a freakishly early harvest, and for many producers, the earliest harvest on record. Despite that, it wasn't a year of high alcohol—comparing 2011 to the two previous August harvests in the past decade, it has much more in common with 2007 than with 2003. Potential alcohol, in fact, could best be described as average, and in the context of
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