The hot, dry summer added greatly to the quality of the grapes, especially July and August, which were the sunniest ever recorded in Champagne. A rainy spell arrived on 6 September, causing the grapes to swell, but fortunately stopped in time for the bunches to fully ripen. For such a late vintage, the weather was remarkable, almost summery, with high temperatures, lots of sunshine and a breeze that helped to keep the grapes healthy.
Due to substantial differences between different areas, picking began in some plots on 24 September while others were not ready until 9 October; but the majority of the grapes were harvested in the early days of October, something which has not been seen in Champagne for two decades.
In view of the economic situation, Champagnes' official body, the CIVC, fixed maximum yields at 10,000 kilos/hectare. This should be achieved by most grape growers declaring their harvest.
The average potential alcohol content of the musts (close to 10%/volume), and the excellent acidity (around 8.5 g H²SO 4/l), suggest promising balance. Champagne producers are starting to compare the vintage with great years such as 1983, 1988, or even 1998, when the harvests were also late.
Regarding Taittinger itself, the harvest is very promising on both the analytical and sanitary points of view. Even if we remain optimistic, we still have to wait for the vins clairs tasting in March 2014 before being more specific.