In Champagne, most labels do not mention the year of harvest. Called Non-Vintage Brut (Brut Sans Annee or BSA in French), they represent nearly 80% of Champagne production volumes. The particularity of Non-Vintage Champagne is the opportunity to blend different Champagne wines called "reserve wines" from different vintages. As a true signature of a Champagne, the Non-Vintage Brut is the brand identity of the House and a pledge to give the same consistency and regularity of style each year despite the quality and quantity of the harvest vintage after vintage.
Vintage Champagne is rare and prestigious, and it represents only 20% of remaining production volumes. Vintage Champagnes are only produced during the best years and they are the immortal expression of a vintage. After oenologists and winemakers complete several tastings of the base wines (wines that have undergone alcoholic and malolactic fermentation), the Cellar Master, the guardian of the House’s secrets and styles, will make the decision whether or not to make a vintage champagne. The Vintage Champagne must be the ultimate expression of the terroir that gives birth to it. At the same time, it must also be from an exceptional year, reflect the typicality of its vintage, and express the style connected to the identity of the House. The Vintage Champagne only comes to life after it has been matured on lees for a period of 8 to 10 years in cool, dark, chalk cellars. For an exceptional wine, a Vintage Champagne can go through years of developing complexity and refinement while at the same time retaining the beaming freshness of its youth.
There are many years like 1998, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2008, and 2011 that will forever be remembered. The 2002 vintage is one of the 10 harvests in which the grapes have been able to reach a perfect balance since 1942. With its healthy grapes and degree of acidity, this vintage offers exceptional longevity for Champagne. Dom Pérignon Vintage 2002, Bollinger RD Recently Disgorgement 2002 and the incredible Krug Cuvee Clos du Mesnil 2002 of Krug all illustrate the purity of Chardonnay that comes from a unique vineyard surrounded by walls. Each one has reached a peak of excellence. The excellent 2006 vintage enhanced the beauty of the Cuvée La Grande Dame 2006 from the iconic Veuve Clicquot House and the renowned Pol Roger Cuvee Sir Winston Churchill Cuvee 2006, both of which have the imprint of Pinot Noir on their strong character. 2008 marks a vintage of contrasts and warm weather, which brought concentration, density and freshness to Champagne. The Louis Roederer Crystal 2008 is the prestigious cuvee that ranks among one of the best Champagnes in the world. The Crystal 2008 reflects the typicality of the vintage through a pure and deep expression that reflects the terroir’s chalky soils. The exceptional Vintage Champagnes illustrate the quintessence of an art form raised to the highest level of excellence.