1996 was an extraordinary year in Champagne, characterised by a combination of cool and warm temperatures with dry and humid periods. Indeed, after a mild and sunny start to the year, grey skies and icy weather set in over the vineyards of Champagne. Spring frosts hit the region in March and May but once again spared our plots. By contrast, sunshine broke all-time records in April with some days reaching temperatures of up to 26°C. The vineyards flourished and began to blossom in June as weather conditions were at their best. The summer then experienced dramatic intervals of grey skies followed by blue, and dry spells followed by showers. The first cuts with secateurs took place on 16th September for the youngest crus. The balance was, by all accounts, exceptional. The grapes had reached a level of acidity unlike any other encountered before. Maturity was optimal, resulting in a wine offering enormous aromatic complexity and a wonderful intensity.
Blending this vintage relies on a rigorous selection of grapes produced from around twenty Premier and Grands Crus villages. Traditionally, it is predominantly made up of Pinot Noir at 59%, then, 33% Chardonnay and an 8% hint of Meunier, to achieve the perfect balance between these three grape varieties. Remaining faithful to the method created by Madame Clicquot in 1818, we add 15% red wine to this white vintage blend.