Monday, 31 August 2009

Who let Champagne get away with it?

It's all your fault. You buy the bloody stuff, get royally (and enjoyably) trashed on it at special occasions, yet you never asked any questions of it, did you? It didn't matter, as long as you could buy a brand.

And so what situation do we have now in the light of the economic crisis? Well, simple: Champagne houses have to cut down yields.

'But,' I hear you say, 'that's just supply and demand. It's the way things are.'

But you haven't read the article properly. Because it's bloody obvious where the problem is.

the region's winegrowers, who last year managed to produce 13,000kg a hectare

Yes, that. Thirteen tons a hectare. Stop and think about what you've done. Champagne is supposed to be a great wine, right? Well, not at 13 tons a hectare it's not. And that's all because you don't mind what happened behind the label or the brand, you're just interested in bubbly. So you don't care about harvest levels or quality.

And Champagne didn't care. It just went on and on, milking the vines for everything they could produce. At 13 tons a hectare (yes, I'll keep repeating it) I wouldn't be surprised if they were harvesting the second fruit set.

To paraphrase Nietzsche, I can forgive Champagne for what it did to me, but I can't forgive it for what it did to itself. All because you couldn't stop drinking it.

When I told a friend they were proposing to drop yields to 7,500kg a hectare, the flippant response was: 'you mean, what they should have always been'. Indeed.

There can be real craft in making Champagne, but why is that what it's least about?

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