Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Thinking about Vintage Champagne

       The holidays, the parties, the visiting guests, a missing notebook and a broken laptop have all gotten me behind on both my writing and my studying. However, much wine was consumed and thought about during that time. For example, New Year's Eve 2012 was celebrated with friends, caviar, cold seafood and vintage Champagne.
     Vintage Champagne is special because it tells the story of a single growing season in the Champagne region; that better than ordinary year will be printed on both the bottle's label and cork. Like non-vintage Champagne, most vintage Champagne is still a blend of wines from many different vineyard sources, the major difference being that 100% of all the wines being used in the vintage blend must come from the stated year instead of the multi-vintage wine blend of non-vintage Champagne.
      Vintage Champagne also has a longer maturation period. French law requires a minimum of 36 months as opposed to the fifteen months required for NV, although these minimums are often exceeded. This additional maturation time typically allows the vintage Champagne more time on its yeast lees creating more complex bakery aromas and flavors. The additional time also helps the carbon dioxide to dissolve more completely into the wine helping to form more delicate bubbles.
       Vintage Champagne is not neccessarily better tasting than NV but it is usually more expensive due to the much lower production numbers. However, after a good sampling of the 2002 vintage, I highly recommend it if you are looking to splurge on some bubbles.


Related posts:
2002 Dom Perignon
2002 Ayala Perle Champagne
Pol Roger Champagne Tasting