Multi-Vintage and Nonvintage Champagnes
The Difference Between Multi-Vintage and Nonvintage Champagnes
Multi-Vintage and Nonvintage Champagnes – What Is Nonvintage Champagne
Multi-Vintage and Nonvintage Champagnes – If you’ve ever enjoyed a moderately-priced bottle of yellow label Veuve Cliquot or blue label Nicolas Feuillatte, you’re probably somewhat familiar with nonvintage Champagne—these wines don’t have a singular harvest year (aka “vintage”) specified on the label.
The wine industry has long used the term “nonvintage” (sometimes written as “NV”) to indicate wines made with grapes from several harvest years.
This is a particularly important practice in Champagne, where wine reserves are kept to mitigate the effects of a bad growing season.
“Traditionally blends were made to avoid the vintage’s effects like yield and quality,” says Maximilien Bernardeau, enologist at Station Oenotechnique de Champagne (SOEC). “[Blends also help] preserve the same taste year after year.”
Nonvintage bottlings account for over 75% of Champagne shipped around the world, according to data provided by the Comité Champagne.
Part of the allure of these wines is that since they’re made yearly, and in large quantities, they’re typically more abundant and less expensive than vintage Champagnes.
They have a consistent style and familiar flavor profile, regardless of the release date.
Multi-Vintage and Nonvintage Champagnes – The Nuance of Multi-Vintage
While all nonvintage Champagnes are technically “multi-vintage,” the producers opting to use that specific verbiage want to differentiate these bottlings from a typical house blend.
Because the term “multi-vintage” isn’t one regulated by Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) rules, how each house chooses to blend can vary greatly—they only have to abide by the same guidelines as they would if they labeled their wine as nonvintage.
For Louis Roederer, the new multi-vintage process involves a base wine created from a “reserve perpetuelle,” much like the solera system used when making Sherry: A reserve of older vintages is kept in a vat that is replenished with wine from the current harvest.
For Jacquesson, the base wine comes from the most recent harvest, supplemented by 20 to 30 percent reserve wines.
At Krug, the Grand Cuvée is centered on a specific harvest year, then meticulously blended with dozens of wines from ten or more different years.
Lallier focuses on a single harvest mixed with small quantities of vintage years, and Laurent Perrier Grand Siecle blends just three outstanding vintage years.
While nonvintage wines strive for uniformity and consistency from year to year, multi-vintage wines manage to retain a more distinct style.
They’re also meant to highlight the best attributes of a specific harvest and offer unique characteristics for each bottling—all traits that are usually only associated with vintage Champagnes.
“We now blend our multi-vintage with a vintage philosophy more than a non-vintage philosophy,” says Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon, chef de cave at Louis Roederer.
“Each blend—242, 243—has a distinctive character and singularity of its own. That gives a real identity to each wine, almost like a vintage.”
The Nuance of Multi-Vintage – A Stepping Stone to Vintage
Vintage Champagnes are only made in the most exceptional years, which is why they are highly coveted by wine collectors and connoisseurs, and often reserved for special occasions.
For casual drinkers of sparkling wines, making a foray into vintage Champagnes can be quite a costly endeavor; the price of many bottles start at over a hundred dollars and, depending on the year and availability, can range well into the thousands.
But just because a Champagne is considered vintage doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a superior wine.
Multi-Vintage and Nonvintage Champagnes – Luis Roederer Cristal Brut with Gift Box 2014
Vintage Sparkling Wine from Champagne, France
Produced uniquely during the best years, when the Chardonnay (around 40%) and Pinot noir (around 60%) grapes have attained perfect maturity, Cristal is aged for 6 years in Louis Roederer’s cellars and left for a further 8 months after dégorgement.
Cristal is a remarkably balanced and refined champagne whose length is inimitable. It has a silky texture and fruity aromas, complemented by a powerful mineral quality with white fruit and citrus notes.
Cristal is a wine that keeps well: it can be conserved for over twenty years without losing its freshness and character.
An enlightened expression from a season of extremes, this has intensity, ripeness and depth of fruit that is underpinned by chalk soil-derived structure and freshness.
Complex nose with lemon and grapefruit aromas, as well as closed red apple, blood orange, light biscuit spices and toasted hazelnuts. Super fresh.
The palate starts pithy and fleshy with pink grapefruit, blood orange, red apple, sliced strawberry and nectarine.
Expansive and mouth-filling build that is driven by concentrated fruit.
Then it tightens and turns to a more mineral edge, before smoothly honed phenolics finish it long. It is 60% pinot noir and 40% chardonnay, 32% oak fermentation in those same proportions, no chaptalization, no malolactic and a dosage of 7g per liter.
From organically farmed grapes.
Very complex, it strikes a natural balance and is very drinkable already, though will develop well for more than a decade in the cellar.
Krug Grande Cuvee Brut
Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine from Champagne, France
Deep golden color and fine, vivacious bubbles, predicting fullness and elegance.
Aromas of flowers in bloom, ripe and dried fruit, marzipan, gingerbread and citrus fruits.
Flavors of hazelnut, nougat, barley sugar, jellied and citrus fruits, almonds, brioche and honey.
A very complex nose here with ripe, deep lemon and grapefruit aromas on offer plus some restrained chalky elements, biscuit, some roasting herbs, hints of pepper, then a little tobacco too.
Very complex and full of fresh characters.
The palate has a wealth of different fruit flavors like lemon, peach, nectarine, and plums.
The finesse in terms of structure, detail and precision is staggering; sherbet-like elegance with immense concentration and power.
Multi-Vintage and Nonvintage Champagnes – Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle No. 25 with Gift Box
Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine from Champagne, France
Very pale gold in color with a fine and persistent sparkle and a steady stream of fine bubbles.
Fresh, intense, and complex with notes of slightly candied citrus fruits, secondary aromas of pastries, toasted almonds, and subtle hints of honey and gingerbread.
A fresh and delicate attack with an impression of fullness, the finish is persistent displaying Grand Siècle’s perfect balance between strength and delicacy.
A prestige Champagne with great density and depth, yet it remains compact and structured, with a combination of fine phenolics, acidity and extract.
Lots of flavors of lemon rind, salt, mineral and honeysuckle with an attractive fresh-herb undertone.
Then it turns to candied lemons with some ginger.
A triumph in complexity and power.
A blend of 2008, 2007 and 2006. 60% chardonnay and 40% pinot noir.
Nicolas Feuillatte Palmes d’Or Rose Intense with Gift Box 2008
Sparkling Rosé from Champagne, France
Palmes d’Or Rosé is a fine Champagne requiring serious contemplation that typifies pinot noir to perfection.
Carried by the intensity of the vintage, rich and mature, it is juicy and consistent amid its full-bodied structure.
The “saignée” method, imparting lovely color from the black grape skins, brings enviable complexity and a wonderfully rich palate of red fruit flavors.
On the palate, ripe fruit and stone fruit flavors intertwine with a hint of warm forest floor and sweet spice.
This subtle, sensual, prestigious Champagne stands as an exemplar of the perfect balance of powerful pinot noir fruit from Bouzy and its subtly perfumed Ricey counterparts.
Ideal for accompanying fine food and entertaining, this generous, utterly charming Rosé is best shared with an intimate circle of friends.
It would make a heavenly digestive to end a meal in style.
This is incredible with subtle cedar, creme brulee, crabapple, cedar and Chinese five spices, as well as dust.
Full to medium body.
Light tannins. Cedar and mahogany. Serious rosé that reminds me of great red Burgundy.
Multi-Vintage and Nonvintage Champagnes – Miraval Champagne Fleur de Miraval ER2 in Gift Box
ER2 is characterized by the intensity that is the signature of the Grand Crus of the Côte des Blancs and by the complexity of its perpetual reserve.
This second edition, made up of 75% of Chardonnays of different ages, benefits from the richness of the 2012 vintage and the perfect balance of the 2014 vintage that occupies a prominent place in the heart of an intensified perpetual reserve.
The remaining 25% of young Pinot Noirs from the terroir of Vertus energize the delicate mineral, saline, and iodized expression of the Chardonnay and heighten the wine’s aromatic expression.
Thanks to the Perrin family’s skills in Provence Rosé, it reveals an incomparable hue of sublime brilliance resulting from an elegant extraction of color by infusion.
The density, balance, and persistence of ER2 are expressions of the magic of an outstanding Rosé champagne from noble terroirs, born from unique wine making choices.
Chardonnay 75% – Pinot Noir 25%. This edition has been made from a base of the 2017 vintage.
The first nose is floral, elegant, and finely fruity, with aromas of pink grapefruit and vine peach.
Touches of dried fruit and grilled almond evolve towards patisseries and lightly toasty notes.
Diaphanous, with tremendous enthusiasm, Champagne ER2 opens after airing, developing more complex notes of spices, preserved lemon zest, mandarin, and white peach.
The mouth is ample, with slightly buttery notes that are perfectly balanced by the freshness of citrus and fresh hazelnut, leading to a soaring finish of great persistence, underlined by a magnificently chalky minerality.
Armand de Brignac Ace of Spades Brut Gold with Gift Box
Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine
The first release from Armand de Brignac, the Brut Gold remains the most iconic cuvée in the range.
Rich with the old world traditions of champagne blending, it is a trio of vintages from some of the most lauded terroirs in the region, resulting in a prestige cuvée that expresses vibrant fresh fruit character, and layers of complexity.
Peach, apricot and red berry aromas are followed by crystalized citrus, orange blossom and hints of brioche.
The palate is rich with cherries, exotic fruits and a touch of lemon, vanilla and honey.
The mouth feel is soft and creamy, with a hint of toastiness, from the unique Armand de Brignac dosage which is aged for one year in French oak barrels.
Drinking beautifully now or can be rested under ideal cellaring conditions, until 2025.
Ideal as an aperitif or pairs perfectly with seared scallops, roasted quail and fresh water fish.
Blend: 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Meunier
Multi-Vintage and Nonvintage Champagnes – Piper-Heidsieck Brut Vintage Rare with Gift Box 2008
Vintage Sparkling Wine
In a subtle, joyful effervescence, the intense crystalline golden robe evokes yellow diamonds.
The initial nose shines by the pure vivacity of this vintage. As Rare Millésime 2008 gradually warms in the glass, a vast range of orange blossom, hyacinth and white flowers is released.
This leads to the delicacy of vanilla blossoms, a touch of fresh coconut, aromas of just ripe Williams pear and fresh almond, enhanced by notes of tangerine and blackcurrant buds.
The second nose reveals the saline minerality, abundant and refined, an iodine-smoky harmony and a touch of licorice.
On the palate the crispy, precise attack is followed by exuberant aromas of fresh pineapple, freshly cut and crisp, passion fruit, kiwi and coconut, nuanced with tangy citrus notes.
These combine with plush springlike flavors with unparalleled length.
The finish, with remarkable saline and iodine notes, perpetuates the journey into an endless spring.
Multi-Vintage and Nonvintage Champagnes
Multi-Vintage and Nonvintage Champagnes – In short, multi-vintage Champagne may fall under the umbrella of nonvintage wine, but the category allows winemakers more creative latitude since they aren’t trying to make the exact same wine as the year before.
Multi-Vintage and Nonvintage Champagnes – The resulting wines are often more expressive and complex, and may lend themselves better to aging.
Multi-Vintage and Nonvintage Champagnes – To many, this puts them a cut above your typical nonvintage Champagne—something worth raising a glass to.