Vintage Champagne is a type of Champagne that is made from grapes harvested in a single year, also known as a "vintage" year. The grapes must be grown in the Champagne region of France and must meet strict quality standards set by the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC). Vintage Champagne is considered to be the highest quality type of Champagne and is aged for a longer period of time than non-vintage Champagne before being released for sale.
The aging process allows the wine to develop its unique character, and the taste can vary depending on the vintage. Vintage Champagne is usually made from a blend of different grape varieties, with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier being the most commonly used. Vintage Champagne is typically more expensive than non-vintage Champagne because of the extra care and attention required to produce it. The wine is usually aged for a minimum of three years in the bottle before being released for sale. The bottle will display the vintage year on the label, and it is usually considered to be more elegant and refined than non-vintage Champagne. Some producers will hold on to the wine for a decade or more before releasing it for sale. This allows the wine to develop its unique character and complexity.
The vintage year must be declared by the producer only in years when the grapes meet a certain standard of quality. This means that not every year will be a vintage year and only a small percentage of wines produced in Champagne will be considered vintage.
The taste can vary depending on the vintage year, the grape varieties used, and the winemaking methods. Some vintage Champagnes can have a more complex flavor profile with notes of brioche, toast, and nuts, while others can be more fruity with a hint of minerality.
Typically paired with more sophisticated and refined dishes such as caviar, truffles, and foie gras. The flavors of the wine and the food complement each other, and the bubbles in the wine help to cleanse the palate between bites.
Vintage Champagne can be collected and aged by wine enthusiasts, and some vintages can become highly sought after and valuable. The wine can change and develop over time, making it an interesting and rewarding experience to collect and taste different vintages.
Vintage Champagne should be stored in a cool, dark place, ideally at a temperature of around 7-10 degrees Celsius (45-50 degrees Fahrenheit).
Overall, vintage Champagne is considered to be a luxury product and it is usually more expensive than non-vintage Champagne. It is a wine that is meant to be savored and appreciated, and it is often consumed on special occasions.