Tyson Stelzer on Connoisseur

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble

Written by Aggregator

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble 

Champagne’s fight against climate change intensifies 

Does global warming spell certain doom for the region that has built a wine style around its cold climate? Things have hotted up in Champagne since I unravelled the climatic drama that has played out over the past 30 years in The Champagne Guide 2014–2015. The region has responded in force, and it’s time for a sequel. 

The weather in Champagne has become dramatically more extreme and unpredictable over the past three decades, and this is a bigger concern for the region’s vineyards than an increase in temperature of close to 1.2 degrees Celsius. The 2016 season brought catastrophic frost, hail and rain, inflicting the most widespread devastation in history, only to be outdone by the toughest season in living memory the very next year, decimated by the worst rot Champagne has ever seen. There was rejoicing in the streets when 2018 brought record yields of clean fruit of unprecedented ripeness, but enthusiasm waned when vins clairs lacked acidity and endurance. And as The Champagne Guide 2020-2021 goes to print, the 2019 crop is just weeks away from harvest, after an all-time record late-July heatwave of 42 degrees Celsius shrivelled grapes to raisins (pictured above). 

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