I spent yesterday in the vineyards of the north-facing slopes of the Montagne-de-Reims, primarily in Verzenay, but also in Mailly, with the team from Champagne Mumm. It’s harvest time, and this is the end of a really difficult growing season. The region was hit with spring frosts, and all summer it hasn’t stopped raining, which has made controlling downy mildew a real problem.
But around Verzenay, it’s not looking too bad, as you can see from the pictures. ‘The best areas are the north and south of the Montagne de Reims,’ says chef de caves Laurent Fresnet. ‘Especially the black grapes. The best quality and quantity is Verzenay, Verzy, Ambonnay and Bouzy. All the rest is unfortunately very complicated.’ He adds, ‘it is a shame for the wine growers.’
Mumm have 215 hectares of their own vineyards, and more than 1000 hectares farmed by growers that supply them.
Here’s a short film of the vintage, including pressing and tasting the juices:
‘I was very afraid a month ago,’ says Frenet. ‘Now it is much better than we hoped.’
The policy this year is not to keep the grapes too long before pressing