31 July, 2015

A treat with champagne: Sorrel and trout

This looks a bit strange. I know.

I was not that focused, as I came back from 30 degrees Celsius or more in the fields.

But believe me, this is nice with champagne.

Spiced with sorrel and trout.

You need 3 eggs, 150 grams of flour and baking powder. Stir this and add 12,5 cl of lukewarm milk and 10 cl of oil, little by little as you stir and change between the two. Then 100 gram of cheese, parmesan is nice but so is any cheese with good taste. It does not matter if it was forgotten a couple of weeks, it works well this way anyway.

Finally you add what gives the taste.

Sometimes I am lucky to find sorrel in the garden. If not I buy it frozen. I reduce it on the pan, add for instance 200 g trout (this one was smoked) or salmon, salt and pepper and finally mix everything. If you do not have acces to sorrel, you can try chives.

Bake it at 180 degrees Celsius for about 40-45 minutes.

Serve in slices or cubes with champagne. This combination works well with Tradition or Blanc de Blancs, the lemony taste of the sorrel goes nicely with Chardonnay.

It feeds.

Why don't you try and tell me what champagne would be your preferred combination?

29 July, 2015

Treatments and disease

Some times you ask us how much we treat the plants.

Especially those of you who actually grow vines yourselves know how many different sorts of disease you may have to deal with.

A lot of it we actually don't deal with.

This is an example.

I might be a bit scared of these dots. There are many of them as you see, and they are more or less all over one of our vineyards.

It is a disease called erinose.

Another one is oidium or powdery mildew and it is worse.

Since the month of May the Comité Champagne has issued warnings to watch the spread of it. At the moment approximately 20% of the plots are concerned with at least one cluster touched. This funghus destroys the grapes, so you must treat against it or loose your yields.

The other one, Erinose, is less destructive. Apart from looks, it does not really matter, so we leave it as it is.

28 July, 2015

Changing colours: Very, very slightly blue

Some days ago Alain found the first slightly blue sign of colours changing in the vineyards.

We like these grapes to be more black than blue so there is still way to go before grapeharvest.

However, this remains the first sight of something different colourwise.

Expect more results in another 5-6 weeks.

27 July, 2015

Sommertid og feriegæster

Hele vejen gennem juli har vi haft gæster.

Rigtig mange af jer har været forbi parcellen les Crochettes.

På vej sydpå. På vej nordpå. Eller på de små veje rundt i Champagne.

Abstrakt bliver konkret
Vi går hen til les Crochettes for at kigge nærmere på, hvordan vinstokke ser ud, og hvor jeg eller Alain fortæller om vores arbejde året igennem.

Jeg forklarer, hvordan filosofien bag beskæringen er. Hvordan spalieret fungerer, og hvor meget arbejde det faktisk kræver, før vinstokkene og små druer sidder godt spændt op til sommeren, så de får max sol og minimum sygdom.

Det er også her - midt i arbejdet - at alle jeres spørgsmål kommer. Fordi alle ordene pludselig bliver så konkrete, når vi står sammen midt i det.

Året i vinen
Hvis du tænker, at det lyder nogenlunde som bloggens emner året igennem, er det heller ikke helt forkert. Men for mange er det alligevel noget andet at stå der selv, og for de fleste er det lidt af en overraskelse, hvor meget manuelt arbejde der faktisk er forbundet med at passe vinstokke.

Det forstår jeg fint, for dette omfattende nørklearbejde var jo lige præcis det, jeg oprindeligt fandt så fascinerende, at jeg gik i gang med at lære både det og det franske.

For 12 år siden.

Man bliver tør i munden af al den tid, alt det støv og alle de ord.

Og så er det godt at vide, at anden halvleg venter derhjemme.

26 July, 2015

Vendanges 2015 - Getting the team together

Early preparations for the grapeharvest are on.

Mainly the gathering of the new team to follow the one you see, the one of 2014.

We look forward to welcome a lot of people from earlier years.

Guys from Sedan, girls from Lille and from Champagne, a few men from different horizons and a few debutants from Denmark.

And some extra hands planned for the weekend.

All promising and nice.

Grapeharvest in Champagne is a body and soul-experience. You will get to know your body as never before and meet the French and the Danes, the students, experienced workers and unemployed, young and old, immigrants (like myself) and French.

It all comes along nicely and accompanied by champagne. Quite a mix in the best of ways.

24 July, 2015

Grapes here, grapes there

Why does the plot matter?

Well, here is the difference between Chardonnay-grapes in our les Crochettes-plot above and in the Belles Feuilles-plot below. Same day.

What is better?

Well, I don't know.

I just show you the difference.

We will not know the end of story before we drink the ready champagne in several years from now.

Anyone said champagne? It is friday after all. Or holidays for some of you :-)

23 July, 2015

Video: Unesco-fest på ave de Champagne

For nylig blev Champagne-vinområdet i selskab med Bourgogne optaget på Unescos liste over verdensarv.

Det er i hvert fald de vinfolk, jeg har talt med her, rigtig glade for og stolte over.

Det er blevet fejret i forbindelse med den franske nationaldag, i Reims den 13. juli og i champagnens hovedstad, Epernay, den 14. juli.

Du kan få indtryk af lidt af festen via regionalt tv's video her.

22 July, 2015

Biggest bubbly event

The yearly pique-nique in Reims.

Ok, one of them. This is the biggest by far.

And since we have had this beautiful weather with very warm evenings as well, the pique-nique concert, that marks the end of the town festival of mainly classical music, the Flaneries Musicales, was as busy as I have never seen it before.

19.000 people is the maximum someone said. I did not count, but there was a lot of people. But you can still find a quiet corner to juggle your ball.

Another one said, that this is the moment where more champagne bottles are popped in one evening.

I believe that as well

It does go pop now here, now there more or less all the time.

Excactly as cheerful as I hope it sounds and seems.

We had a splendid time with amongst others some representatives of the Irish society of Reims. Who would not? Danes and Irish are almost cousins, we agreed and said slauntje, and then since we all live in France for good reasons we followed up with a santé and à la votre.

Now, this is also about music.

In my family we happen to like marimba concerts quite a lot. I personally have a soft spot for Piazzolla that I have worked on in more than 25 years... but what could possible beat "O Fortuna, velut Luna" on such a absolutely wonderful summer evening.

"It was good," said our percussionist-son about Carmina Burana that surely contains a lot of powerful percussion behind the choir and soloists.

I would go as far as branding the evening magical.

So I definitely spot a heart in the fireworks. And I am absolutely convinced that it is not a coincidence.

There is another one concert in 2016.

21 July, 2015

Perfekt blomstring

Det er bestemt ikke hvert år, jeg ser dette adjektiv anvendt i forbindelse med blomstertiden.

Men ifølge Comité Champagne, der overvejer stort set alt og altså også dette, er perfekthed et passende ord i den forbindelse i 2015.

Det klager vi ikke over.

Men vi kan godt bruge lidt mere vand, så de druer, der er fulgt efter, kan vokse sig lidt større end store grønærter.

20 July, 2015

Quota as expected: 10.500 kiloes

So this is it.

A quota of 10.000 kiloes of grapes to be picked at the next grapeharvest. On top 500 kiloes per hectare of vins de reserve in february next year.

Agreed by winegrowers, champagne houses and the Comité Champagne today.

It is not a very big quota. However, it follows along with those of recent years.

Quotes of recent years here and here. You will see, they are quite similar these last years after the economical crises.

Belles Feuilles make-over

At the moment we finish the trellissing in the Belles Feuilles-plot between the villages of Soulieres and Givry-les-Loisy.

We force branches who sit to closely together at the wires apart to allow the grapes to grow independently and air to pass freely between leaves and branches to avoid disease.

How the grapes can grow in size with almost no water for weeks and weeks is a bit of a mistery. But it is visibly so.

These last days has allowed us a bit more rain. Very needed indeed.

The cereal fields beeing harvested at the moment catch fire in a lot of places.

We don't in the vineards. But eventually grapes need water to grow.

So this summer we are happy about every drop we receive from above.

More pictures in our Facebook-page.

16 July, 2015

Rainy day minute

Last week we got a few drops of rain in our vineyards.

I was there, I took a few pictures.

Otherwise, it would be hard to believe. Hardly noticable, as it was.

Now, we would like a few more drops. Otherwise the grapes will remain rather small.

You see, the berries need water to put on weight.

Still, we prefer the rain to come at night. We still have a bit of work left to do in the day, you see.

Thank you very much then :-)

15 July, 2015

Strange leaf

At the moment I finish the trellissing in the plot of les Crochettes in Soulieres.

I pass all plants, touch more or less all branches.

This leaf caught the eye the other day.

Different as it is in the summer where everything is supposed to be green.

The colours do tell a story of something. A lack of minerals or something else. We just don't know excactly what.

Otherwise the vine looks fine.

But when you are surprised, it is usually a good idea to try to dig a bit deeper.

14 July, 2015

Allons enfants i vores hood

I dag er det Frankrigs fødselsdag, hurra hurra hurra...

... og hvis der er noget franskmænd mestrer, så er det prægtige processioner.

På billederne defilerer brandmændene i Vertus, orkesteret og politifolket iført festuniformer forbi monumentet for landsbyen afdøde soldater.

Derefter fortsætter marchen til byens festsal, Salle Wogner, og hvis der er noget, les champenois(es) har styr på, er det at afslutte tingene ordentligt, dvs. med et glas champagne eller to.

Resten af dagen fejrer vi vores datters fødselsdag. Mon ikke også der bliver skålet i et glas bobler?

13 July, 2015

Allons enfants

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Bastille-festen nærmer sig.

Aftenen, den 13. juli i vores franske landsby, Soulières i Champagne. Aftenens værter er det lokale, frivillige brandkorps, der skrumper år for år, men de er der da stadig med spidsstegt lam, gris og grillpølser. Masser af chips og sangria af den slemme slags. Med årene har der også sneget sig salater med pasta, ris og ligefrem grøntsager med op på buffeten.

Et af aftenens højdepunkter vil være brandchefens ugættelige opgave, tæl et utælleligt antal elastikker eller lignende, vi spiller altid med, men vinder aldrig. Det hører sig altsammen til.

Musikken spiller via en DJ med nørdbriller, der er kommet hele vejen fra Vertus med sine discs, og der er ikke længere så meget som en eneste pasodoble imellem, men i år er ungerne helt med. Kan Stromaes og Philip Katherines tekster par coeur.

Hvis det ellers ikke regner, slutter den pæne del af festen med flagermuselanterner og gåsegang til marken overfor, hvor brandmændene skyder kommunens fyrværkeri til himmels. Og så er det den 14. juli.

12 July, 2015

Unesco-festen fortsætter

Unesco-festen fortsætter i Champagne.

Vi er mange, der er glade for at have fået FN-organisationens anerkendelse som verdensarv.

Hvis du er i eller omkring Épernay er der liv og glade dage på avenue de Champagne hele dagen.

Programmet er på fransk, men "champagne bar" er jo ret internationalt, så mon ikke det går? Degustation betyder smagning og visite des caves betyder besøg i kældrene. Se resten her.

Der er også fest i Reims, og det foregår - skovtur med medbragt madkurv og klædt i hvidt - i Parc Léo Lagrange, hvor aftenen slutter med fyrværkeri.

Vi holder selv festen i vores landsby, Soulieres.

God fornøjelse.

Læs mere om Unesco-udnævnelsen her.

11 July, 2015

Kunsten at kommunikere boblerne

Kommunikation kan være en svær størrelse.

Det, jeg siger, er først kommunikeret, når det er nået helt ind i modtagerens, din, bevidsthed i nogenlunde tilsvarende form. Deri består kunsten.

Jeg kan selvfølgelig godt mærke, om det hele svinger eller ej.

Alligevel mærker jeg stærkest, om jeg egentlig har fået skudt budskabet ordentlig afsted, når jeg modtager mails retur som denne her efter et besøg:

"... De begyndte, da de kom tilbage at fantasere over temaet "hvordan bliver vi vinbønder i Frankrig"....""

Behøver jeg at sige, at det er så dejligt at læse den slags?

Klap en vinstok
Vi har en hel del sommerturister i Soulieres i øjeblikket.

Danskere som jer, der kommer for at lære lidt mere om champagne og se, hvordan det hele ser ud i virkeligheden.

Jeg regner med, at det fortsætter i hvert fald et par uger endnu.

Send en mail (champagne-tange-gerard at orange.fr) hvis du er i Champagne, og har lyst til at klappe en vinstok :-) For tiden ser der nogenlunde ud som foroven.

09 July, 2015

2009 coming up soon

A few days ago we tried the new Blanc de Blancs.

Vintage 2009 will follow in the steps of 2008.

Believe me, it's nice. Already some more evolved notes of aged champagnes and combined with the well-known freshness and acidity.

And if you want more than my words, you can try it out yourself probably in few weeks.

07 July, 2015

Bedre at besøge i juli end august

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Flere af jer vil gerne besøge os denne sommer.

Og vi modtager gerne besøg. I morgen f.eks. og flere gange i juli (Datoer).

Når bare vi altså er hjemme.

Jeg kan ligeså godt sige det: Det er vi ikke i det meste af august.

Vores og vores kollegers ferie er styret af væksten i vinen.

Når vinstokkene ikke længere skyder og vokser, er det tid til at holde ferie i den pause, der er, indtil vi begynder igen med forberedelser til vinhøst.

Hvis I gerne vil besøge Champagne i de første uger af august, finder I en hel del døre lukket.

Juli er bare bedre i Champagne.

Rigtig god ferie, og kom endelig en anden god gang.

06 July, 2015

Underground competition, another 2003?

The newly formed clusters as they looked early July in one of our Chardonnay-plots.

According to the Comité Champagne (former CIVC) the new grapes - size of a small pea - are fine so far.

The vines can find the water needed in the chalký underground.

However so does the grass between the vines.

We have been obliged to remove the grass as the vines visibly suffered from the competition.

Warm week like 2003
Decanter has more on the heatwave in France. Several say they would not be unhappy to get more 2003-wines (2003 is the year of the last very impressive heatwave in France).

We remember 2003 as a difficult year. But we may want to taste one of few bottles kept from this vintage to try the way a warm wine ages in Champagne.

This summmer is still young, the heatwave has lasted on week, the grapeharvest only in September. Much can still happen.

Still, why not cool a bottle of 2003 out of curiosity? Which is also why we originally chose to keep a few in the cave.

04 July, 2015

Unesco siger ja: Champagne er verdensarv

Så er det afgjort. Spændingen er udløst på bedste vis.

I dag blev Champagne udnævnt til Unesco verdensarv.

Det har selvfølgelig en betydning for turisme, for image og så videre, men først og fremmest tror jeg da, at mange mennesker i vinbranchen her oplever det som et kæmpestort blåt stempel af eget og slægtens indsats gennem mange generationer. Mange mennesker her har i høj grad en fornemmelse af, at vinen bliver, mens de selv blot er dem, der midlertidigt har vinstokkene i varetægt.

Det drejer sig om en arbejdsproces, der begynder i vinmarkerne, fortsætter i husene (hvor vinen laves) og slutter i kælderen.

Symboliseret ved vinmarkerne ved Hautvilliers, Avenue de Champagne med dens industribygninger fra 1800-tallet og Saint Nicaise-området i Reims, hvis undergrund huser de berømte gallo-romanske kalkstensminer, der kom til at fungere som champagnekældre og blev symbolske herfor.

I virkeligheden slutter processen jeg slet ikke i kælderen, men først ude hos dig. Denne vigtige del af nydelsen er ikke mulig at Unesco-beskytte, men uden dig derude er vi andre her heller ikke, og på den måde synes jeg alle delprocesser hænger sammen og udgør den skønneste helhed. Billedet af fra vores vinhøst i 2012, et tidspunkt hvor alle delprocesserne går op i en højere enhed.

Man bliver ganske tør i munden af al den glæde. Nu må det være på tide at udbringe en skål.

Det er en virkelig god nyhed for Champagne.

Unesco-kandidatur afgøres denne weekend

Champagne har gennem en årække arbejdet på at blive Unesco verdensarv.

Beslutningen bliver truffet denne weekend.

Det er jo meget spændende, selvom støtteorganisationen, Paysages du Champagne, regner med, at udnævnelsen er ret sikker.

Der er under alle omstændigheder lagt op til fest søndag i landsbyen Hautvillers, hvor Dom Perignon gik rundt i klosterkælderen og lagde mærke til en hel del, som han siden forfinede yderligere.

Hvis drømmen bliver udløst, er der også champagne til gæsterne. Det foregår mellem kl. 10 og 14. Resten af programmet her.

Læs mere om UNESCO-drømmen.

Læs mere om den lange vej mod præsentationen denne weekend (på fransk).

Goodbye green pastures

These last years we have let weeds grow, put clover seeds in some plots and grass seeds in others to reach around two thirds of our vineyards coloured green rather than brown at the bottom.

Now it's over.

For the timebeing, that is.

A heatwave with temperatures at 35 degrees Celsius or more makes the vines suffer because the green stuff sucks too much water.

So we may have spend a lot of time with this green carpet (that does not even look very green these days) but now it has to go.

Thus Alain spent these last days - early mornings, late evenings - to plough it all away.

03 July, 2015

Moon at the Mont Aimé

The best time in the vineyards these days is early morning or in the evening.

Which enables you to enjoy these soft and pretty colours. In the vineyards, nearby fields and sky.

The moon rises over the Mont Aimé, a former stronghold of the counts of Champagne, as it looks from our Belles Feuilles plot just outside Soulieres.

Enjoy your summer evening whereever it takes place.

02 July, 2015

Grapes follow flowers

Flowers began in early June.

Now it's over, and we see the tiny grapes that follow.

Heatwave and quantity
The weather has been very warm, very sunny and very dry during the flowering.

Sunshine is fine for the grapes, however they need water to grow sizewise. And - as we saw last year - too warm temperatures may cost the lives of some future grapes. They simply fall off after the flowering. We don't know yet.

Some of our collegues are not happy about the quantities. They would like to see some more grapes on their vines.

Not too much, not too little
We are personally quite happy this far.

We don't expect to pick a lot of kiloes for the harvest. Around last year's amount (10.500 kiloes) is what we can guess about at the moment. A guess it stays, but also more or less what we aim at, and so we expect to have what we will need. Not much more, not less either.

As for the grapeharvest, the current heatwave speeds up everything.

We expect to begin around September 10th at the moment. Stay tuned for a more precise date.

Chardonnay-grapes, Loisy-en-Brie:

Pinot Meunier-grapes, Loisy-en-Brie: