With the 2017 harvest now drawing to a close at Reims-based Champagne Castelnau, Chef de Cave Elizabeth Sarcelet says it has been both one of the most nerve-wracking and exciting of her career to date. A dramatic start to vintage on 26th August was triggered by sudden humidity and resultant on-set of some fungus in certain vineyards across the region in mid-August, but with careful crop selection, especially on the reds, dropping up to 40% of fruit, Castelnau has picked excellent berries and the wines are of potentially exceptional quality.
In particular, Sarcelet points to the quality of the Chardonnay which is “perfect” and says it will almost certainly be a vintage year for Castelnau’s signature Blanc de Blancs.
Sarcelet says “We are extremely excited now to start working with the fruit harvested after some twists and turns in conditions which have kept us on the edge of our seats in recent weeks. Until the beginning of August everything was perfect, with the right amount of sunshine and rain to keep the fruit clean and healthy. But then, as the holidays ended, the work really began and we had to be very selective in the vineyards, especially with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. With careful bunch selection, we have harvested a good volume of wonderful fruit and the potential of our wines is exceptional.”
The agreed maximum yield for 2017 in Champagne was 10,300 kg per hectare plus 500kg for reserve wines. At Castelnau the yield was around 10,000 kg per hectare.