21 March, 2018

First taste of the next TG-champagne

This is throwback from 2014.

The looks of the fresh must just through the press.

First taste
Now we are almost through the first quarter of 2018 so this must is a while ago. Many wines would already be drunk this far away from their year of origin.

We are not that busy here in Champagne.

This morning we will taste the champagne that we have elaborated based on this must for the very first time.

As you can probably imagine, it is quite exciting.

We hope this coming up champagne may join cuvée Solliage in our range of Singles champagnes later this year.

20 March, 2018

Selling better, selling more - another year of selling less

It's that time of the year where we talk number of champagne bottles sold.

Let's participate in the fun.

In Champagne we always look for growth, beating new records, adding more value and so on. At least at this time of the year.

Bubbly island
Thus - since Greenland is our backgarden. almost - let me tell you that the champagne sales on the biggest island on Planet Earth was up in 2017 with amazing 282,8% : 656 bottles of champagne were sold in Greenland this year. Not a very big proportion of the total of approximately 307 million bottles but an impressive growth. don't you think?

At Champagne Tange-Gerard we regret not to have provided at least one of these bottles. At least to our knowing.

Sometimes our well-travalled customers provide some extra transportation and present our bottles in remote and exotic destinations. They even share the documentation with us now and then.
Obviously we appreciate this very much.

No record at Champagne Tange-GerardG
On top of not providing Greenland any champagne - sorry again, Greenland - we also did not beat our record number of bottles in 2017.

In fact, since we began to build up stocks of our new singles line of champagnes in 2013, we sell even less than before.

But since we released cuvée Solliage, you can help us to do something about it: buy it or contact us about how to taste it at champagne-tange-gerard at orange.fr.

The rest of the sales record numbers you find here. The text is French but we share the numbers, don't we. Enjoy :-)

One plot left to prune as frost protection

We have organized our work a bit different than usual this year. Maybe it will turn out as a benefit.

We have been pruning since November. Instead of getting the job done, Alain has kept one vineyard unpruned and instead dealt with a lot of binding.

Result: Six plots have been pruned and they are well advanced regarding the binding of branches as well. In the top picture you can see the Belles Feuilles plot all ready just one week ago on February 12th. This week we are finishing the pruning of the plot of Crochettes in Soulieres which leaves us one plot to prune in Loisy.

Postpone the development
The idea is to postpone the developent of buds as much as we can.

The later you prune, the later the buds will burst in spring. When spring is due. If ever this icy year of 2018.

As we had late snow last weekend (second picture), maybe the strategy will prove itself useful.

Buds are susceptible to frost damage but only when they have started growing. This means, that if they grow later, the risk of frost will be shorter. In theory anyway, we'll see about the practical side later as we can have frost in Champagne until mid-May. Buds under the snow these days are fine, because the are still in their winter protection mode. Thus no reason to worry yet.

17 March, 2018

Picture party on Instagram

This blog has always suggested a lot of pictures.

As the job is quite varied, so are the photoes.

Since I have always liked to capture moments of all sorts, there is quite a collection to choose from these days.

It is our tenth year meaning that we will celebrate 10 years with Champagne Tange-Gerard next January 1st.

We will do a picture countdown for the rest of the year where you can get an idea about the journey and the job this far.

Many of the pictures have been published on this blog these last nine years.

Now they will get a revival on Instagram. Follow there if you like. That would be super.

This is a plate with duck, all was very very nice :-)


12 March, 2018

Feels like springtime

A stroll in the vines sunday morning left this strong feeling that springtime has finally arrived in Champagne.

The wind was warmer, the birds singing their beaks to pieces and the light has already been different for a while.

In the afternoon we could even leave coats behind. First time this year.

The rows remain wet.

Mud will follow your footsteps wherever you move in the vines at the moment.

The rain has seemed eternal for months. And then came snow as well. Even the "Beast from the East" - the freezing cold wind from Russia - could not dry it all up.

Nice to announce that the bigger part of our outdoors are well prepared for the upcoming milder season.

The pruning is finished in most plots and the binding of branches is very advanced as well.

Now it will be up to the buds to show some action.

And according to those who come to the vineyards each day, they have spotted the change for some time now.

The buds are on the move. Can you see them growing too?

26 September, 2017

Champagne 2017: Easy season, harder harvest

Our grapes have been placed and carried in buckets and boxes to the presses to proceed the pressing by the first fermentation. They currently are in a state of very young wine.

The Champagne-harvest of 2017 is through, and let’s just say that our expectations are as big as we dare.

Even we have picked the grapes, sorted them out and when tasting them appreciated their interesting balance between high acidity and a strong sweetness, we still cannot know them very well as wine. Neither young, nor older and since every change has many possible directions, we'll have to wait to know what flavours and tastes time will bring us.

Early, dry, warm then cooler season with rain

In 2017, the growth of the vines began already in early April, and we were lucky to avoid damages when it froze a few weeks later. Very warm days, very little rain were the standard most days until mid July where the temperatures finally dropped and days got cooler.

We were quite happy to see the super speed of growth slow considerably down. Even a bit of rain made the grapes gain some weight. Later more rain followed with a timing we liked a lot less since lots of rain closely before the grapeharvest is a likely source of possible disease.

The start of the grapeharvest was agreed as late as a week before we began on September 2nd.

For us, it was too late to save it all as a surprisingly fast deterioration left us with many rots between our Pinot Meunier-grapes. Consequently, we had to leave grapes on the ground instead of in the bucket.

We count ourselves lucky because our Chardonnay-grapes came out a lot better. These are the grapes, we are currently working into one of our Tange-Gerard plot champagnes. Grapes that came very close to a perfect degree of sugar, and a must that contained a delicious creaminess that we are looking much forward to check and taste again when the young wine will be stable in a few months.

An early Tange-Gerard
This 2017 vintage will be the first Tange-Gerard champagne from an early year.

It is also the first time that we have measures of our grapes being challenged by the plants that grow naturally between the rows since we do not remove them constantly.

When the vines have to compete with wild plants about access to minerals and water, this may show for instance in the natural level of nitrogen in the berries. As nitrogen is needed in the early stage of the fermentation, we had to add some to help the work of the yeast.

So exciting to trace our sustainable methods directly at this crucial moment. Double exciting it shall be to taste the result in some years.

Introducing two lines: Singles and Classic
This far, we concentrate on our vintage from 2013. This was the first grapeharvest where we managed to make our first champagne with 100 % our own plots' grapes.

We remember the year as unusually late. The grapeharvest continued in October which nowadays is very rare in Champagne. October 3rd, we pressed the grapes of this 2013-vintage, that will be the first of our new ”Singles” line of champagnes with a very limited amount of bottles and the symbol of sustainable viticulture on its label. Stay tuned for more news later this autumn.

Our assortment this far continues with the ”Classic” line including the assembled champagnes of Tradition and Noirs & Blancs, the vintages The Blanc de Blancs (vintage 2011/12) and Selection (vintage 2007) and rosé champagnes Rosé d'Assemblage and Rosé de Saignée .

Automnal regards,
Alain Gérard and Solveig Tange, Soulieres, September 2017

25 September, 2017

Champagne 2017: Nem sæson men bøvlet høst

Druerne er landet i spande, sendt gennem vinpresser, har gennemgået den første gæring og er i øjeblikket en ganske ung vin.

Champagnehøsten 2017 er overstået, og lad os da bare afsløre, at vi allerede har så store forventninger til resultatet, som vi tør.

Vi har plukket druerne og sorteret dem, smagt på dem og værdsat deres lange eftersmag og interessante balance mellem høj syre og stærk sødme, men kender vi dem endnu ikke ret godt som vin. Hverken ung og langt mindre ældre vin, og hvert skift kan føre smag i forskellige retningerr. Vi får vente for at vide, hvad vi vil få af smag. Med tiden.

Tidlig, tør og først varm siden køligere sæson med regn
I 2017 begyndte sæsonen meget tidligt. Allerede først i april foldede knopperne deres første blade ud, og vi var heldige og slap for større skader, da det nogle uger senere frøs. Meget varme dage, meget lidt regn hørte til årets orden helt hen til midten af juli, hvor det blev køligere.

Vi var kun glade for at få lagt denne bremse på vækstens ekspresfart. Lidt regn gjorde det også muligt for druerne at øge deres vægt. Siden kom der større mængder regn på et tidspunkt, hvor vi bryder os mindre om væde, fordi vi altid frygter sygdom tættere på høst.

Vinhøstens start kendte vi så sent som en uge, før vi gik i gang den 2. september.

For os var det for sent at hente alt ind. Vi havde allerede råd i vores Pinot Meunier-druer, og det spredte sig overraskende hurtigt. Derfor måtte vi klippe mange klaser ned på jorden i stedet for i spanden.

Heldigt for os havde vores Chardonnay-druer det langt bedre, og det er da også denne grønne drue, vi er i gang med at vinificere til endnu en af vores helt egne champagner. Disse druer var meget tæt på et perfekt indhold af sukker, og mosten besad tillige en cremet-hed, som vi glæder os til at gensmage, når den unge vin er stabil engang i det nye år.

En tidlig Tange-Gerard
Årets vin vil blive vores første Tange-Gerard champagne fra et tidligt år.

Det er også første gang, at vores druer har været så målbart udfordret af de planter, der ofte vokser naturligt i rækkerne, fordi vi ikke fjerner dem konstant.

Når vinstokke må kæmpe om adgang til mineraler og vand, kan det f.eks. afspejle sig i druernes indhold af kvælstof, hvilket har en betydning for gæringen. I år måtte vi hjælpe processen ved at tilsætte netop kvælstof.

Spændende at genfinde vores bæredygtige dyrkningsmetoder direkte i ståltanken, og dobbelt spændende skal det blive, hvordan det endelige resultat vil smage om nogle år.

Fremover to linjer: Singles og Classic
Foreløbig koncentrerer vi os om årgang 2013. Det var den første vinhøst, hvor vi havde sat alle logistiske sejl til for at kunne lave vores første champagne på 100 % egne druer.

Vi husker året som usædvanlig sent. Vinhøsten strakte sig ind i oktober, hvilket hører til sjældenhederne i Champagne i vore dage. Den 3. oktober pressede vi druerne, og vi ved nu, at årgang 2013 bliver det første medlem af vores nye ”Singles” linje med symbolet for bæredygtig vindrift på etiketten. Mere nyt om årgang 2013 følger senere på efteråret.

Vores hidtidige sortiment fortsætter under navnet ”Classic”, og den linje indeholder alle gamle brut kendinge i form af assemblage champagnerne Tradition (fås også som demisec) og Noirs & Blancs, årgangschampagnerne Blanc de Blancs (årgang 2011/12) og Selection (årgang 2007) og endelig rosé champagnerne Rosé d'Assemblage og Rosé de Saignée.

Alain Gérard og Solveig Tange, Soulieres, september 2017

20 March, 2017

Pleurs in the vines

No doubt, les pleurs is here.

Pleurs mean tears. This liquid is the sap of the plant regaining its fluid form, rise and move up inside the branches to eventually wake up the buds, that will begin to grow.

We know the sap is back as it flows from the spots where branches have been removed when we pruned.

It is also the sign to speed up attaching the branches because in some weeks the buds will visibly grow bigger and it will be harder to attach without breaking them. Read more about here (the 2016 report).

But it all depends on temperatures. They stay around 13 degrees in the days and colder at night. Sunny days may even send us 16 degrees celsius. People with bare legs and t-shirts have been spotted in town. In the countryside, it's cooler.

Pleurs is back. It really is springtime in the vineyards.

09 March, 2017

Finished pruning

This is what it looks like everywhere in our plots.

Since a few hours ago.

Pruning began with prepruning in October.

Now we're through for this season. The scissors will rest at least until November. Nice.

The pruning is crucial for the health of the plants, for the quality of our grapes.

So we pay attention to the quality of the work done.

But... you know, even so, it's still long and it's great when we're done. Every year.

Bring out the bubbles :-)

26 January, 2017

Freeze fits feeding the soils

Profiting from the cold.

The ground is frozen. It's great times to spread fertilizers.

We do it with this little machine, very handy to pass all over the plots, next to the vines.

Organic fertilizers
As the fertilizers are organic, we can spread them already now.

Obviously, the idea is that they'll be ready for the benefit of the vines as these will enter their growth period in some months. Thus we don't feed the vines directly, but rather nourish the soil, and then this is where the plants will find what they need for growth and maintenance.

As organic manures decomposit much slower - 90 days - compared to conventional - 30 days, the time schedule is also different. It basically means that organic products can be spread much earlier.

To fit with analysis
Alain choses the manure in order to fit a soil analysis of each plot the best possible way.

The manure is natural, and this means that your choice is not à la carte. You go for what will fit your need better from what is available.

In our case, we have opted for guano for quite a few years now. Basically it's bird excrements, and it surely smells like it for quite some time after the spread.

But the smell is not for long, and it seems to satisfy the need. Our plots are all healthy according to the lab that measures their composition. One good thing done then.