At the beginning of my champagne career, I ambitiously tried to analyze the weather conditions to see what the perfect year would look like. The more vintages I followed, the clearer it became clear that there is no template for what the perfect wine weather should be like to create a great vintage.
The quality of a vintage is obviously the sum of all the hours of the day during all 365 days. The style of the vintage depends on a series of complicated factors where temperature, solar energy and rainfall are of great importance. The decisive factor is mainly how these components are distributed during the year. In other words, a puzzle far too large and detailed for even computers to have a chance to analyze when during the year the grapes and ultimately the wine get their final character.
In all northern wine districts, the quality of the vintages varies more than in a warmer climate. In Champagne, as is well known, this problem has been overcome by blending the different vintages with each other in order to balance the wine in standard champagnes. In the years when the grapes ripen to perfection, quality-driven vintage champagnes are made. These wines should reflect both the producer’s style and the year in which the grapes were harvested.