Vintage Champagne and Sparkling Wines
Vintage Champagne is made in particularly good years with optimum weather and the best grape selection.
Some houses, like Dom Perignon, only make vintage Champagne,
so they do not produce a wine every year and have no
What makes vintage Champagne better? Well, status for one – many vintage Champagnes are made in small quantities,
so low supply and high demand beefs up the price and the prestige of a vintage bottle. And of course, beyond the
status symbol of vintage Champagne is the taste and care given to the grapes. For vintage Champagne, the grapes
are carefully selected, the blends painstakingly created and the ageing process lovingly prolonged. Vintage Champagnes
are often more complex and flavorful than their non-vintage counterparts, and can often age for up to a decade or two,
although most houses release their bottles at an optimum time for drinking. Vintage Champagne differs from non-vintage
because the winemaker's focus is on that specific year rather than a blend to match the house style.
Sparkling wines from regions that follow the traditional method are apt to create vintage wines as well. These regions
typically enjoy more freedom in their vintage choices. While they only make wines from years they deem worthy of
vintage, they do not have a regulated body to declare a vintage year, so it's to the winemaker's discretion in
making a vintage or non-vintage.
Learn More About France
Vin de Pays
(vahn duh peh-YEE)
One of the lower levels in the French Classification system, Vin de Pays is an intermediary wine, created for vineyards who were not quite AC, but vastly superior to Vin de Table wine. Vin de Pays has restrictions similar to the AC, but on a lesser scale. Regulations include specified region, minimum alcohol level and grape varieties. The wine also goes through a tasting panel. Some winemakers able to make wine at an AC level, instead choose to create wine at the Vin de Pays level as it allows more flexibility in grape varieties and yields. There are five regional Vin de Pays, with the most popular being Vin Pays d'Oc (from Languedoc & Roussillon). Vin de Pays wines offer wonderful value and good wine finds.