Vins clairs – before the bubbles – an insider look of 2020 vintage

Picture of Richard Juhlin

Richard Juhlin

The vines change from greyish to springy green shimmering, still with greyish shimmering elements of a long and bitter winter. Most vineyards are in the starting pits to shoot away their beautiful shoots, later everything is in the hands of the winemakers who expectantly and eagerly wander between the fermenting vats and to see what will happen. How is the 2020 vintage? Is it a legendary vintage on par with the ’96, the ’88, the ’79 or even the ’61? Anyone who has patience will know in a few years.

What exactly is Vin Clair?

It’s wine! It’s a still wine, meaning no bubbles – yet. Tasting base wines is not meant to be fun or even enjoyable. They are hardly wines that you will enjoy drinking for your dinner. They all have their individual characteristics and are similar to the colors of an artist’s palette. The winemaker can blend them into beautiful harmony. A good base wine should have a high acidity, good taste and clear structure in the middle part. But they will vary in their expressions depending on their origin and the grape used. Former chef de caves Mathieu Kauffmann says, ‘tasting wine clairs is the most important part of his work at Bollinger.’

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