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Champagne Vintage Chart

Champagne Vintage Charts & Ratings

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Champagne

Vintage Quality Drink Comments
2015 Drink/Cellar After a cold, wet winter and very mixed weather in April, it became sunny, warm and dry in May and stayed that way through a largely hot July and mid-August.  The end of August was cooler and wetter, but skies cleared in September and most of the harvest was picked in perfect conditions in the first part of the month. A little rain fell during the picking of the last parcels.  Despite relatively low acid levels (2015 is the lowest acid year since 2003), most feel that the wines of this preponderantly warm, dry year are finely balanced, structured, fresh, concentrated and meant for long ageing.  A vintage year for all -- with some growers claiming that 2015 is the best vintage since 1947.
2014 Drink/Cellar Spring was mild and warm, leading to a generous fruit set (after two short vintages in 2012 and 2013).  July, by contrast, was cool and wet and this indifferent weather lingered into August finally clearing by the end of the month for a fine, harvest-saving September.  There was an ample crop of irregular wines with very good results for Chardonnay and Montagne de Reims Pinot, but sometimes dilute results in the Marne Valley (which had twice its normal growing-season rainfall).
2013 Drink/Cellar A long winter and cool spring meant that the Chardonnay didn’t flower until mid-June and the two Pinots in mid-July: a very late date, and potentially disastrous.  There was hail damage in the Marne at the end of July.  Overall, though, July and August were record-breakingly hot and sunny, saving the vintage and meaning that the early September rain was welcome.  Good conditions then resumed for an October harvest of tense and acidic but good quality fruit, ideal for ageing.  A vintage year for most.
2012 Drink/Cellar Widespread frosts in April touched 131 villages (of 319). Very cold, sunless weather for flowering. Long rainless period from mid-July to September. Total yield: 9,208 kg/ha, lowest volume since 2003, ~40% below 10-year average. Highest average sugars across all varieties. Overall maturity equals 2009. A vintage year is anticipated.
2011 Drink Hot, dry spring. Exceptionally large harvest, 13,261 kg/ha. Average sugar ripeness & acidities.
2010 Drink/Cellar Rains mid-August provoked widespread rot reducing crop substantially. High sugars for Chardonnay/Pinot Noir, highest acidities for Pinots in decade of 2000s. Limited vintage declarations.
2009 Drink/Cellar Warmest conditions since 2003, optimal maturity, healthy fruit. Balanced wines with average sugars, lower acidities. High overall maturity. Vintage year for some, principally récoltants-manipulants (individual growers). In ’09, new EU rules reduced dosage for Brut to 12 g/l.
2008 Drink/Cellar Moderate yields; wines of moderate concentration & acidity. Overall sugar-acid ratio dropped to level of 1990s from higher maturities of 2000s. Declared vintage by many  récoltants-manipulants (individual growers).
2007 Drink Chardonnay performed best. Summer hail. Lowest fruit maturity of the 2000s. Non-vintage year for many négociants-manipulants (houses), typically declared by récoltants-manipulants (individual growers).
2006 Drink Cold winter, hot & dry summer. Abundant year, heterogeneous ripening. Above average pH & sugars, average acidity. High overall maturity, in line with ’09 & ’12. Numerous vintage declarations by many producers.
2005 Drink More difficult season than many French regions in ’05. Successful Chardonnay, weak Pinot Meunier. Good sugar levels, below average acidities.  Vintage declaration by many négociants-manipulants (houses) & récoltants-manipulants (growers).
2004 Drink/Cellar Harvest delivered record volume & sound quality. Chardonnay, Meunier were best. Balanced, well-structured Champagnes some compare to ’98.
2003 Drink Atypically hot summer. Earliest harvest since 1822, abnormally low yields of 8,254 kg/ha. Richness & elevated alcohol levels. Numerous vintage declarations. Some examples are missing sufficient backbone.
2002 Drink/Cellar Both Chardonnay & Pinot Noir ripened well. Balanced Champagnes, a declared vintage by producers of all types. Superb prestige Champagnes, many will benefit from further cellaring.
2001 Drink Cold, wet September. Lacked maturity: low sugars & elevated acidity. Not a vintage year except for some récoltants-manipulants (individual growers).
2000 Drink Difficult summer marked by rain, widespread hail. Favorable September weather for harvest. Widely declared “millennium” vintage… some fine examples, 0thers are soft, lack intensity & should be drunk (now).

 

 

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Chart Legend

Methodology: This report has been compiled utilizing multiple authoritative sources including regional trade associations, experts in each region, wine producers, academic studies, leading journalists, and the editor’s personal notes.
Acknowledgements: E. Gabay MW (Provence); Hugel family (Alsace); D. Markham (Bordeaux); K. McAuliffe (Rhône); M. Stubbs MW (Languedoc-Roussillon).
Editor’s comment: This chart is intended to serve as a reliable guide for professionals, educators and collectors. Judgments as to the quality, longevity and current maturity of a given vintage are by definition simplified assessments describing the average profile of the year. There will always be individual wines which surpass, or fail to reach, the overall standard, or which may have a shorter or longer life than their peers. Last, these evaluations are not fixed and permanent; rather, they will be revised as needed to reflect the wines as they age in bottle.

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