13 January, 2000
New prestige product of La Vigneronne.
Off goes the golden hat, then follows the metal thread, ready with your glasses and one-two-three plop: Cheers for the new year and for the old one as well, since the future of it looks bright as summer sunshine. Three months after the grapeharvest the impressions from the early autumn seem to last. The grapes of 2004 really were extraordinaryly good. The president of our cooperative repeats this merry message one last time before the turn of the year in the latest news bulletin from La Vigneronne.
The young wine rests in the 24 big steel tanks in the upper level of the basement of the cooperative. The grapejuice fermentated into wine during the first weeks after the harvest. Since then some of it has gone through another fermentation - the malolactic - the aim of which is to balance the acidity of the wine. At La Vigneronne it is typically the wines of the blue Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir grapes that go through this proces.
In March the wine will continue its journey towards developing into a real champagne. It will be pumped into another tank and yieldst, sugar and the clay bentonit will be added to be used in the second fermentation, that takes places in the bottle. This is where the bubbles will develop. But before this, the wine expert of the cooperative, the oenologue Laurent Fresnet, regularly tastes the different wines before he decideds how he will compose the final products.
The final result is known from the start: In a number of months or years it should meet the six-seven different types of champagnes, that la Vigneronne produces, each with its distinctive taste. One of the most important commandments for a champagne is that it must always taste the same. The means are if necessary to blend different of the wines of the members, also from different years if needed.
Only the best years are not blended, and only those years have the right to present themselves with the year and the quality brand Millésime. Laurent Fresnet has since the harvest several times repeated that the quality of the grapes seemed to be good enough for a Millésime, and since now the president repeats the M-word too, we may also start to believe in the good news.