Wine News 

November 1, 2016

Jenkyn Place, a sparkling wine vineyard in Hampshire, southern England, is marking more than a decade of expansion even as yields for its 2016 crop have been reduced by poor weather during bud formation in August of last year.

Simon Bladon and his wife Rebecca first planted Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier on their land in 2004 and expanded the vineyard in 2007 and again in 2010, reaching their current total of 15,000 vines. The soil is greensand over marlstone, the wines produced in the traditional Champagne method and vinification is at the Wiston Estate Winery near Pulborough.

Bladon said at a tasting in London last week that he expected yields at the estate, which he runs with his daughter Camilla, to reach about 5 tonnes a hectare, one third of the amount he has achieved in some years. "Last August was very cold and wet, when the buds formed," he said, referring to the latter part of the 2015 growing season. The 25 tonnes he estimates he will get from the 5 hectares planted should produce around 18,000 bottles of sparkling wine. 

Jenkyn Place escaped frost in early May that affected some neighboring properties, and while 2016 yields may be lower, the vineyard now has a decade of history behind it. The Jenkyn Place Brut Cuvee 2006 has had 10 years to mature and is 61 percent Chardonnay, 23 percent Pinot Noir and 16 percent Pinot Meunier. 

September 26, 2016

Taittinger is confident it has the stocks of reserve wine to ensure quality in its Champagne production this year even after severe spring frosts cut prospects for output in the region by between 10 percent and 20 percent, and more in some areas.

That's according to Vitalie Taittinger, the company's marketing director and daughter of  Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, who bought back control of the brand in 2006 after it had been sold by family members to U.S. investment firm Starwood Capital Group LLC. 

"It's our duty to keep the quality of the non-vintage" Champagne, she said during a visit to London this month, while commenting that it will be a "gymnastic" feat to maintain quality and freshness after such a tough growing season. "We're lucky because we have the opportunity to work with reserve wine" from 2015 and 2014, she said. 

The frosts over three days between April 8 and April 15 were followed by periods of humidity which led to mildew, prompting one of the worst-hit harvests in living memory. "It's very rare," she said. "It's just nature." 

While Taittinger is preoccupied for now in ensuring the quality of the 2016 Champagne production, it is also keeping an eye on its new venture in southern England. It said last year that it was buying 69 hectares of land in Kent in a venture with U.K. agent Hatch Mansfield, with the aim of planting more than half of it with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier to produce some 300,000 bottles a year of sparkling wine. 

"It's really the beginning," she said, making clear that the company sees it as a long-term project with the first production several years away. "We will take our time." 

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