09 September, 2018
A deep pleasure to collect perfect fruits
Please imagine the clusters. They may be Pinots of a deep blue colour, at places close to black, or green Chardonnays turning yellow with their dark and barely visible points on a skin that lets you catch just a glimpse of the tiny pips inside. The grapes are not big enough to touch each other leaving the clusters open instead of compact. And there are so many of them that none in Champagne saw anything like it ever. The result of perfect weather throughout the flowering in june and ever since.
These blue and green spheres are what this is about. They throng the branches of the vines, just perfect. No of rots, mildew or other scourges that we usually have to sort out. This year all clusters are in perfect health. One after another. We eat as many as we want to. The acidity does not bite as much as some years, but it still counterbalances the sweetness of grapes, that grew up in paradise all summer.
Not everyone would choose the word Zen to describe the repetitive task when you cut five ton of absolutely gorgeous grapes in seven days. But those of us who did this before know from within that what we experience this week is on another level than ever before.
Future champagnes from a superb year
The best way to make good champagne is to have ditto grapes for a start. The sacrosanct ba-lance between sugar and acidity counts, yes sir indeed, but the best possible start of something big is still to have absolutely healthy grapes in your press.
To say that we do not have expectations to the vintage of such an exceptional year as 2018 would be a downright lie. We had the last taste of the must right off the presses on the last day of the harvest at our place, August 31rd. Now is the period where the must fermentates to wine, next year, we will fermentate it once again in the bottle and after a couple of years or four more in the caves, it will have transformed into champagne. Only then will come the time of looking for words to qualify the quite extraordinary grapes of 2018.
The next single is ont its way
This autumn we plan to present our next single : a blanc de blancs champagne from 2014. A year that began early and warm to change into rain and cold to finally end happily with sun and sugar and it is all there in the bottle, certified sustainable as is cuvée Solliage from 2013.
We have sold Solliage since February this year. It has received many fine words and sold well, which confirms us in our big investment, economically and timewise, to create a new range of champagnes. Of course we continue to sell our old brut friends like Tradition and Noirs & Blancs, both non vintage, the vintage champagnes Blanc de Blancs (2012/13) and Selection (2007) and the rosé champagnes Rosé d’Assemblage og Rosé de Saignée,
Regards from Zenpagne,
Alain Gérard and Solveig Tange, Soulieres, September 2018
Please send a mail if you want to know more. Enjoy, Alain Gérard and Solveig Tange.
24 August, 2018
These Pinots were sampled one week ago.
Saturday 25th of August, it's for real.
At Champagne Tange-Gerard, we will begin with the black Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier to continue with the white Chardonnays in a few days.
The quality of the year is very promising.
Lots of sugar due to the wonderful weather all summer and zero rots thus perfectly healthy grapes.
This is excactly what you need to make great champagne. So that will be very interesting to follow even it is not for us to guess about right now.
We receive people for dinner tonight and tomorrow we are ready for take-off.
24 July, 2018
That's just about perfect.
Many many grapes
Subseqvently, we counted as many as 35 grapes on one plant yesterday.
That's a lot, when you are used to 10-12.
However, it will not mean three times more champagne for you.
An average amount of bottles
In a AOC (Appellation d'Origine Controlée) like champagne, the yields are controlled and subsequently we will be allowed to make champagne with the equivalent of 10.800 kilos per hectare.
For our tiny brand this corresponds to the 9.000 bottles of an average year.
The amount of grapes allowed straight into the elaboration of champagne is decided by teh champagne houses and the winegrowers together.
We can pick another 4.700 kg/ha to renew our reserves, and as the quality is promising, we expect to do so right now.
What we do not yet know is the dates of the grapeharvest.
These will be decided by the same body but based on what winegrowers measure in their plots in each village.
This is too early yet.
But what seems obvious is, that 2018 has been an early year since May without ever slowing down. The grapeharvest will be early too
We will be around for preparations by mid August.
09 April, 2018
Sunshine, a bit of wind, nice temperatures above 20 degrees Celsious.
Finally, the soils of our vineyards were dry enough to allow the good old veteran to be back in business. And draw some lines.
Our enjambeur (special tractor for the width of Champagne vineyards) is an old model, a veteran basically, and not very powerful.
Thus it takes certain conditions for it to manouevre well in the vineyards.
And until now, the soils were simply too wet.
The ploughing tools of the machine work between the vines in the line as well as on the side of the line of vines.
This removes whatever grows naturally in the plot. Leaving the vines with all the good stuff and little competition.
At least for a while :-)
The task demands quite some concentration of the driver in order not to destroy the vines and the different sets of wires.
Now and later
This far, Alain managed to deal with almost half of our three hectares this sunny weekend.
Only in the first part of the lines - both ends - the enjambeur does a mediocre job. To finish off nicely, we follow up with manual tools as well.
Later, we'll live with much more plants as it's simply impossible to keep them away.
However, we don't want anything to climb in the vines like the bindweeds for instance.
Between the vines, we leave whatever grows naturally. It protects against erosion.
However, in years of drought, these growths also compete with the vines for minerals and water. Sometimes we remove them too.
For the time being it's left. And we move on to the next part.
06 April, 2018
When the lumpfish roe is in season, you can get your own bite of paradise on earth.
A treat for the weekend or whenever... nice on mondays as well. Just be sure you have the time to do the blinis yourself.
They are are made with buckwheat, it happens to be a regional cereal in my childhood Danish island of Funen.
The red onion are less sharp in taste. Not too many since the idea is to combine with champagne.
We think the pink Rosé Assemblage is a great companion for the fish eggs.
As it is based on the Chardonnay grape, this champagne adds nicely to the taste of the fish rather than taking over entirely as is the risk with Pinot.
On top the pink colour fits the fish nicely and it is just what you need when springtime is young and we wait for the buds to burst.
Now what is left is the cooking.
Here is your recipie in English or in Danish.
You do find this kind of fish eggs in Ikea warehouses... the difference between this and the fresh product is the same as all other products. It's obviously very different when you buy it fresh... sometimes the world is not perfect and we still carry on living in it. But save the champagne for the fresh stuff.
05 April, 2018
A tractor crushes the branches after the pruning.
The pieces of wood will be broken down by water, wind and weather in general.
Like this the branches will contribute to maintain the mulch in the plots rather than adding to our emissions of CO 2.
Goodbye to burning
For years we have burned the branches we cut off while pruning as we are not equipeed ourselves with a tractor that can crush efficiently.
However, now we opt for crushing as
- 1) this maintains the layer of mulch
- 2) we can buy this service from someone who has a suitable machine
- 3) we adapt our work to lower CO 2 emissions whenever possible
- 4) disease does not seem to spread more with this practice
We may need to invest in warmer clothes though. Burning the branches directly in the vineyards is also a way you may keep yourself warm.
27 March, 2018
The pruning of our vineyards has been long this year.
We began the work in November last year, and we still have this plot to finish. The low plot of Chardonnays in Loisy-en-Brie.
Not due to lazyness, but rather to tactics. Time will tell if it will work out.
Frost problems 2017
As you may remember, frost was a big problem in 2017. (Report from Decanter )
Not in winter, where cold weather rarely matters as the plants are not active. In spring, however, the buds grow, the young leaves unfold and this is a crucial moment where low temperatures can be very destructive and kill a bud partly or completely. Which will mean that neither branches nor grapes will develop. Thus no yields but also no branches to prune thus no or less yields the following year as well.
This plot took its part of this sad heritage, but luckilyr it was only partly frozen.
Now is when we get to deal with the problems as in many places there are little or nothing to prune at the bottom. We'll have to continue with the old branches trying to make them survive another year or two until hopefully something will grow at the bottom again.
Delay to protect
The later you prune a vine, the later the buds will burst. Says theory.
Well, we could hardly wait any longer with this plot. Now the snow is gone, the temperatures rise and activity within the vines will resume.
Leaving this plot unpruned until the last minute may help to spare it for another frosty experience. We hope so anyway.
Half of the pruning is done by now, the rest rest should be finished within a week or two.
The rest is waiting.
22 March, 2018
We have tasted two coming-up Tange-Gerard singles.
The wine of 2017
A first trial of the still wine from the grapeharvest last year.
At the moment the wine gives a floral and feminine impression. Almost too pleasant for a champagne to be? The wine does not feel very acid which can often be the case in a warm year.
Within the next weeks, the wine will be bottled and placed in the caves where it will fermentate for the second time.
Next one in line this morning is a manually disgorged Tange-Gerard champagne from 2014.
In fact, it is the first time we have tasted this, since we tried the original wine im spring 2015.
The new champagne has a surprising note of cocoa on the nose that can further be recognized in the slightly toasty taste that blends into the palette of different tastes that constitutes this champagne.
The acidity is present yet pleasant. Be prepared to welcome a zéro dosage in the family.
21 March, 2018
This is throwback from 2014.
The looks of the fresh must just through the press.
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
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.
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 :-)