Discussing the "global warming", "the golden age of wine" and "what great champagne is all about", in the 1st part of this interview with acclaimed wine author, Michael Edwards.

At 72 years old and reflecting on the recent ‘Springtime Champagne Week’, Michael Edwards says, “I’ve always favoured the little guys [in Champagne] and the sense of the land…”. This week provides an opportunity for champagne aficionados to really taste the broad spectrum of the regions best offerings.

With over 40 tasting events happening throughout the week, Edwards does issue his warning that, with so many attendees, tasting can be near impossible and councils “more discipline” is needed to allow people to get round.

Aside from this small gripe, he does wax lyrical about the achievements of pinot noir growers in the 2015 vintage, who “in this warm year have produced the most wonderful wines. Normally the tannins this far north are quite sharp and green. They were lovely and ripe but they were also quite delicate.”

Edwards links this ripening of the pinot noir tannins to the effects of global warming that is now having a huge impact across many wine producing regions in France and the rest of the world. Although he sees global warming as having a positive impact for winegrowers, that view may not be shared across the region.

Climate change bargains acidity for alcohol

In another interview I conducted that week with distinguished winemaker, Didier Gimonnet (coming soon: Interview: Didier Gimonnet talks climate change impacts), of Champagne Pierre Gimonnet et Fils, Didier explains how they have lost 1 point of acidity and gained 1 point of alcohol. If this trend continues, the effects on champagne production, especially in the vineyard, will mean a great deal of focus on adaptation to maintain quality.

In the meantime, Edwards describes these pinot noirs as “gentler, more elegant, expressive and, most important of all, more digestible wines for everyone to drink.

On Style

People are now less into power and more into precision, freshness… that’s what great champagne is all about, whether it is young or old, it should always be fresh!”

Still Wines: Coteaux Champenois

‘Those are fabulous.. I defy anyone tasting blind to recognise them as from Champagne. They might think it was from Burgundy… wonderful richness!”

Summary

“I think we live in a golden age of wine.” but in warmer years like 2015, “meunier brought a freshness to the blend that chardonnay could not, because it was too hot, you see? Everyone will deny that but I am convinced in my water that that’s right!”

In part 2 (coming soon) we discuss English wine with thoughts on building up reserve wines and the use of the meunier grape variety.

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