Champagne: vintage 2000

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Year 2000 was particularly exhausting for the Champagne vinegrowers. Nature had decided to impose its rules with cold and rainy periods followed by hot and stormy ones which contributed in disturbing the growing of the vines.

The year began with a rather dry and very cool winter. The bud burst took place in mid-April during a cool and very wet spring. First stains of mildew appeared at the very beginning of May as well as the first hail-storms and an exceptional emergence of grape caterpillars.

May and June were particulary dry and flowering was at its best on June 11 for the Chardonnay, June 12 for the Pinots Noirs and June 15 for the Meuniers.

A « yellowing » of the leaves, which had appeared just before the flowering, rapidly spread. This phenomenon, apparantly linked with the use of a weedkiller (flazasulfuron), resisted the treatments and pruning but the vines began to recover a green colour in early July.

In the meantime, violent hail-storms fell on the vineyards. On July 2nd, hail-stones as big as pigeon eggs destroyed all of 1,900 hectares. The year 2000 is one of the most years for hail of the century (and 1971) as just before the harvest, 13,000 hectares had been hit by the numerous hail-storms and which represented 2,900 hectares which were completely destroyed.

The vines had also to face a very hard attack of mildew from the spring until the harvest.

In the course of August, the weather became pleasant, dry and sunny and remained until harvest time which permitted to large grapes (150 g and sometimes more) to form in a very healthy state.

The harvest was quite early. The Seine Valley began on September 11 and a week later all the area was picking.

The yield was set at 12,600 kilos per hectare of which 1,600 kilos/hectare was to be put in « reserve qualitative ».

In spite of a difficult year, all was gathered to elaborate beautiful cuvées. With an average alcohol degree of 9.9% and a rather low acidity, 2000 makes fine, fruity and well-structured wines.

[Source : Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne]

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