THE 2014 HARVEST
It was amid positively radiant sunshine that members of the French and German press were given access to a behind the scenes view of the harvest. From vineyard to cooperative, and finally reaching the Centre Vinicole - Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte (CV-CNF), guests witnessed the continuous ballet of the arriving tankers as they arrive, which when the harvests are in full swing, deliver “the equivalent of 2 million bottles every day” according to Thierry Gomérieux, Director of Production. And it was here at the Centre Vinicole that local radio station France Bleu Champagne-Ardenne chose to broadcast a special live harvest edition. This was the perfect opportunity for its President, Véronique Blin and Managing Director, Dominique Pierre, to emphasise the role of the CV-CNF: “On a daily basis, we work very closely with our members, who are the owners of this company. Indeed, these very members are in charge of its destiny, and steer its future direction. Two key words encapsulate our relationship: proximity and services. The harvest is our most crucial period, when we gather the fruit of an entire year’s labour.”
And for Guillaume Roffiaen (photo), Director of OEnology and Quality, the 2014 harvest is definitely all about quality. “As a result of the mild weather, the grapes were able to gain in concentration and aromas. Optimum ripeness levels were achieved, with good freshness and persistent acidity, enabling the wines to be stored as long as possible.” From now on, secrets are a thing of the past throughout the entire Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte production process, or almost…!
The CV-CNF unites
82 cooperatives in Champagne
The cooperative status of the Centre Vinicole – Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte has the unique advantage of the wealth and diversity of its fruit supply, guaranteed by grape growers with a unique savoir-faire.
Their unrivalled position allows the brand access to more than 2,250 hectares of this unique vineyard; with its northern position, climatic conditions where Atlantic and continental influences converge, a naturally irrigated chalk subsoil, plantings on the slopes and a wide variety of parcels, which make this an original terroir and a controlled designation of origin, or appellation controlée. In the quest for the finest quality, a single imperative governs every decision : to respect nature and express the true character of the terroir.
Grapes are harvested exclusively by hand to keep the berries intact until they enter the press, thus guaranteeing the quality of the juices and avoiding oxidation at all costs. Picking manually also enables the growers to select only the finest grapes, and in so doing provide the Chief Winemaker with incomparable, unparalleled quality.
The CV-CNF’s fruit supply is thus sourced from 13 of the 17 Champagne Grand Cru vineyards, 33 of 42 Premier Crus and 259 of 320 other Crus from the Champagne appellation. From the Marne Valley to the Côte des Bar via the Saint-Thierry Massif, Montagne de Reims, Côte de Sézanne and the Ardre Valley, le CV-CNF can rely on the professionalism and exacting standards of more than 5,000 grape growers.
Not only is the grape supply diverse, but the different varieties are also of extremely high quality. Made up of 25% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Noir and 50% Pinot Meunier, the grapes represent an unparalleled aromatic spectrum.
Chardonnay, with its floral and citrus notes, brings elegance and finesse to the Champagne, while the Pinot Noir, with its red fruit aromas and considerable structure, brings body and power. Finally, Pinot Meunier imparts softness, roundness and fruit character to the wines. And rather like three primary colours on an artist’s palette, these three varietals form the foundations of all the wines for the Chief Winemaker of the House.