There are many types of champagnes, but if we had to highlight the most outstanding ones, these would be, without doubt, the vintage champagnes produced in the French region of Champagne.
In case you have any problems identifying which champagnes are worthwhile, a high price point is always a good clue. Another clue to look out for is the harvest year, which is never shown on the bottle due to champagnes consisting of a mixture of wines that go back two years or more.
However, if you do see a champagne bottle with a year written on its label, it means that it is a rare blend from an excellent year made with grapes that come exclusively from the harvest of that year.
Now that you know the basics, here are five recommendations of exquisite vintage champagnes that you can find in today’s market.
This champagne from the Piper-Heidsieck maison is one of its most successful creations from the last 15 years. It is made with chardonnay and pinot noir grapes handpicked from vineyards located in the mountains of Reims, the most famous city in the Champagne region.
At first sight the champagne looks golden yellow in color. As for its smell, exotic fruit hits the palate first, with a touch of mango, kiwi and pineapple, as well as notes of nuts such as almonds and walnuts. In addition, subtle notes of white pepper, smoked tea and cocoa are also present. In the mouth it shows its depth and refinement with touches of French pastries and merengue, highlighting fruit flavors such as pineapple and quince with a touch of caramelized ginger. A subtle, elegant, intense and very fruity champagne, it goes well with a white caviar or Claire oysters bred in the French basin of Marennes-Oléron.
One of the most reputable houses in the Champagne region is Moët & Chandon, which produces the prestigious Dom Pérignon champagnes. Coveted around the world for its high quality, celebrities such as actress Marilyn Monroe highlighted its excellence by saying: “I never drink alcohol, I only drink Dom Pérignon.”
Within the Vintage-Millésime category of Dom Pérignon, exceptional vintages like its 2005 blend stood out due to the environment it was created in, which at the time, was very warm and consisted of very little rain. To better highlight this unique blend, the Dom Pérignon Vintage 2005 was made with chardonnay and pinot noir grapes, giving it a light yellow straw color and fruity essences of red fruits, praline, coriander and caramel. As soon as you taste the champagne it affirms its presence, density and firmness with a floral and spicy finish that lingers in the mouth.
2002 was a perfect year for Maison Krug, founded in 1843 in Reims. A generous, balanced and smooth vintage. The color of the champagne, made with chardonnay and pinot noir grapes, has a brilliant golden hue. Its smell is charismatic, fresh, elegant, rich, full of nuances and complex, with delicate aromas that combine sweet citrus with notes of chocolate and fresh licorice. The palate is bold with delicate flavors of red fruits such as blackberries and plums and white fleshy fruits, such as pear, pineapple and quince, making Krug Vintage 2002 an extravagant luxury.
Great prestige and fame surrounds the Bollinger maison since it was founded in 1829 by its founder Renaudin Bollinger in the town of Aÿ en Champagne. Almost 190 years old, its history and consistency have been the emblem of the house. Bollinger V. Francaises is the most prestigious of its millionth champagnes, since it is made with pinot noir grapes from the 18 crus – production land marked by law as the most select in Aÿ, Bouzy, Louvois, Verzenay, Mesnil, Oger, Cuis and Chouilly. In fact, the nomenclature V. Francaises, means Old French Vineyards, considered as those that produce the best grapes.
With a limited production, its color is dark golden yellow, showing a nose reminiscent of brandy, with touches of deep spices such as cloves, pepper and nutmeg. It’s taste is vinous, deep and fruity, with hints of licorice and roasted apple. A champagne to drink in very good company, it is best enjoyed in special moments. ■