Just in from Billecart-Salmon, A Vintage Report from Champagne:
This year’s harvest started exceptionally early on August 23rd under sunny skies. All of Billecart-Salmon’s different sectors of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier were ready to start harvest between the 23rd and the 25th. This also is rare as they usually have a larger window and this meant mobilizing over 750 people over the course of 230 hectares of vines. The vineyards were picked at 9 to 9.5 degrees of potential alcohol. Billecart always strives to stay at or below 10 degrees. Harvest was halted momentarily last week while they waited out a brief heat wave.Reports are that the Chardonnay this year is spectacular, possibility for declaring a vintage exists but it’s still way too early to tell. Pinot Noir is also looking very good even though ripening is not equal throughout and some sorting will be needed. Pinot Meunier suffered from a little heat stress and some rot but is always a major component for Billecart, as opposed to most other Champagne houses that avoid this precocious grape. This means that the team needed to perform an extremely rigorous sorting process to keep only the perfect bunches. All in all, things are looking very good for some great 2011 Champagnes from Billecart-Salmon.