On Friday morning I visited Christian Holthausen and Antoine Massagne at Champagne Lenoble. Their harvest started a few months before the official starting date when the collected the honey from the beehives they keep in the vineyards in Chouilly. “we feel it is important for the biodiversity to reintroduce bees in the vines. We picked a vineyard with some trees around it as the bees connotnlive of the vines alone”, explains Antoine.
The grape harvest started on Monday in Bisseuil and Damery and Wednesday in Chouilly. Lenoble owns 10 hectares in Chouilly planted with Chardonnay , 6 in Bisseuil in Pinot Noir and 2,5 hectares of Meunier in Damery. They purchase another 1,5 hectares of Meunier of 2 growers in Damery.
When I arrived they were pressing Chardonnay from Chouilly which we tasted. The potential alcohol degree was 10,5% and the juice had a great freshness. “We are very happy with the quality of the fruit coming in. We have had no problems at all with oidium on the whites and the reds also have good sanity”, says Christian. Antoine agrees, but he would have preferred a bit more quantity. He explains; ” Our vines have grass in between the roes and with this heat they really suffered which is resulting in a smaller quantity, especially for the Pinot and the Meunier. ” Anyoine hoped that the Chouilly vineyards will be able to make up the difference but he is not sure.