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Ai Yi Yi. Veuve dealing with grey rot in Champagne’s 2010 harvest

on 14/04/11 at 12:16 pm


While the commentary continues to centre on another perfect vintage in Bordeaux, grey rot in Champagne’s 2010 harvest was severe enough in some plots to encourage Veuve Clicquot to begin a trial into the removal of botrytis-sourced flavours in finished wines.

Veuve Clicquot winemaker Cyril Brun told db that the investigation has so far involved isolating a few batches of wine made from botrytis-infected grapes to, “check and monitor the evolution of these earthy and sometimes mushroomy flavours which mask the typical aromas in Champagne…. and then start trials on ways to get rid of them.”

The experiments have already shown that the intensity of the unwanted flavours “varies a lot” over time, although it is currently not possible to remove these flavours without stripping the wine of all its character.

“One technique is linked to filtration,” he explained, “and we can use a membrane that is very selective to collect one size of molecule, but there is not one single size of molecule that is responsible for the taint, and when we absorb one bad molecule, we also absorb one that is good.”

Speaking of last year’s vintage, he said there were two main issues, both linked to heavy rainfall in mid-August. The “biggest issue” for 2010 was “the dilution effect because we had heavy rain on from 13 August with one month’s rain in three days,” he explained, while the other was the resulting botrytis, particularly on Pinot Meunier, which he described as “very severe in some cases.”

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