Most Champagne you encounter will be NV, or non-vintage. This is because the base wine is a blend of wine from
In producing non-vintage wines, Champagne houses strive to keep the taste consistent year by year, and non-vintage
the winemakers flexibility in blending, ensuring a constant style each year. Non-vintage Champagne is released when
it is ready,
so drink within a year or two after you purchase or receive a bottle. That said, there are some stars of non-vintage
that are as
good as many vintage bottlings and can last a few more years. The higher priced non-vintage, or multiple vintages, like
Krug's Grand Cuvée and
Laurent Perrier's Grand Siecle
are prestige cuvées, or tète de cuvées. This means these are the top blends from the house, and of no less quality
vintage Champagne. Krug makes no entry level
Champagne, so everything you see from them is a prestige cuvée.
The difference in styles can be categorized by body. Here's a quick cheat sheet for some of our most popular
Moët & Chandon
Sparkling wines from other regions that are made in the traditional method will also differentiate their
non-vintage and vintage bottlings, just as Champagne. Non-vintage sparkling wine from most wineries will often
have a house style, just as the Champagne houses.
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.