Champagne AR Lenoble speaks out against disgorgement dates. (What do you think?)

From Decanter: Champagne AR Lenoble has used a re-design of its back labels to make public its strong opposition to printing disgorgement dates on bottles.

The article continues in part:

‘My fear is that the recent obsession with disgorgement dates is reducing the winemaking process in Champagne to insignificant numbers which are not understood by most of the people talking about them,’ said Lenoble’s owner, vineyard manager and winemaker, Antoine Malassagne.

‘There is no ideal disgorgement date. It depends wholly on the specific wine in question.’

Christian Holthausen, export director at Lenoble, told Decanter.com, ‘Five different producers from five different villages in Champagne could make the same vintage but the best disgorgement date for one wouldn’t be the best disgorgement date for the other four.

‘The bottling date is actually more important for me than the disgorgement date,’ he said, adding that the bottling date indicated how long a wine had spent on lees.’

The article continues online. What do you think?

Here is what I posted in reply on the Decanter website¹:

I, personally, have no problem with knowing approximate dégorgement dates (e.g.: “1er semestre 2012”). (Almost) everyone knows by now that Champagnes do age after release, and I have many bottles of non-vintage Brut Champagne aging in my cellar. For that purpose, knowing a specific bottle was disgorged in early 2012 is as good as knowing that is was disgorged on 12 February 2012.

HOWEVER, both Mssrs. Malassagne and Holthausen have taken the idea of providing this information and turned it on its head. NO ONE is saying, nor even suggested, there is anything like “an ideal date” for dégorgement. (“Oh, 12 February . . . too bad. If only they’d come into work on the on the 11th, even though it was Sunday. They blew it.”) And Mr. Barquín is absolutely correct (elsewhere in the comments section) that knowing the bottling date – without also knowing the disgorgement date – tells us nothing!

So much for the producer’s commitment to transparency . . .


¹ My comments will make more sense after one has read the article in Decanter.

Jason, not sure I have any basis to express an opinion here, but I did read the article and just wanted to tell you that I really appreciate the wine info you provide. I’m reading and learning interesting things. Thanks!

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