Champagne Harvest 2015 – tasting Meunier on the vines and straight out of the press at Champagne Loriot

La retrousse

La retrousse

I love visiting the Loriots in harvest, I love eating their delicious Meunier grapes whilst listening to all the banter, laughing! This year I took Jess, a friend from New York whom I had spend a day with working selling wine more than 7 years ago; almost another lifetime if you want. But Facebook has ways to keep us connected and as destiny had it Jess was in Champagne to enjoy a few hours of Meunier immersion at Champagne Loriot :-)

Michel Loriot has Meunier vineyards on the steep hills of Festignty and the neighboring village of Nesle-le-Repons, where the pickers where on Thursday when we visited.

We arrived just before lunch, in time to see the second retrousse of a press load of Meunier and taste the juice, before joining the family, winery workers and drivers for a spaghetti harvest meal, prepared by Michel’s mother.

Harvesting Meunier in Nesle-le Repons

Harvesting Meunier in Nesle-le Repons

AAlban Petit, Michel’s son in law, is in charge of the pressing of the grapes in the traditional coquard press. He is very happy with the grapes he has received so far: “We started on Monday (7 September), and the grapes have just been beautiful! Up till now we have predominantly pressed Meunier and we are all very happy with the quality”, he says. Michel adds: “The grapes are being picked at perfect maturity, our average press load has a potential alcohol degree of 10.5%, which is great for Meunier; 2015 is looking to be a fantastic year for Meunier.”

fter lunch Martine took us to visit the vineyards and see the harvesters. The Loriots have 16 harvesters which they pay by the kilo. The vines were very green as Michel had left the grass grow in between the vines, never cutting it during the very dry summer, resulting in it turning into straw. The September rain brought life back to the grass just in time for the harvest.

Martine expected harvest to finish on the 12th.

About Caroline

Caroline is a certified Sommelier (by the CMS) and WSET diploma student. In order to specialize in the wines of Champagne she moved to the region and currently works as a wine consultant, wine educator and wine writer. She is a member of the Circle of Wine Writers and writes for several international publications including Palate Press, Snooth, Wine-Searcher, Decanter and Vinogusto; further activities include teaching Champagne related courses at Reims Management School and organizing personalized tasting experiences at http://www.tastingswithatwist.wordpress.com as well as being a regular judge at international wine competitions.
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