2011 Champagne -- big concerns

Wine Advocate rates the 2011 Champagne Vintage as 87 points.
Vinous says it is 70 points. 70. 70!

That’s a pretty big discrepancy.

Tasting a few (and mostly big names), I think Vinous is entirely right about this. So far, these range from comprehensively terrible (hello, Comtes!) to “This has a redeeming quality or two, but I would never pay anything near $115 for this mediocrity again (L-B VVdL).” Neither should have been made, nor others.

Anyone else experiencing this? At this point, if a heretofore unknown 2011 Salon suddenly appeared for $60, I literally wouldn’t buy it.


I get what you’re trying to say, but I’m pretty positive that the majority of this forum (including me) would absolutely buy a 2011 Salon for $60 if it suddenly appeared :laughing:


Yeah, ok, you got me. But only one tester bottle.

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I’m with you, 2011 Comtes is not good. Awkward is absolutely the best term for it both in the glass, and for whatever reason they decided to release it.

Please tell me there isn’t going to be a 2011 Salon? I thought it was curious enough they released 07


Think it very much depends what part of Champagne you’re talking about, as it’s a really big area. My personal experience is that most 2011s are problematic, but that it doesn’t apply to the Cote de Bars, which is geographically closer to Chablis than to Reims.

Having had the good fortune of recently tasting chez Cedric Bouchard, he pro-actively served a 2011 Haute Lemble (phenomenal wine!) and then went on to complain about how critics had lacked nuance about the vinatage… he felt that 2011 is actually a very good Cote de Bars vintage, and his full line up from that year supports that assertion.


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Your point about the geography of Champagne is an excellent one. It’s a big area, and a lot of different soil types. I don’t think that enough is said about the differences region by region in general. While I hear your point, if I can only pick between more talk of geography or a region by region vintage chart, I’m going with the first. Has to start somewhere!

FWIW, I find that Bouchard largely defies any vintage chart in general. I can honestly say that I haven’t had a wine from him that I said “gee, this must have been vintage impacted” or “why did he make this wine?” My complaint generally is “damn, when did these wines get so pricey??” :crazy_face: :rofl:


I agree. I actually don’t find a ton of vintage variation in his wines, which to me is fairly unusual for such small production and terroir-cognizant wine. (Then again, I also don’t find huge differences among his cuvees in the first place - they’re all good but they all taste more of Bouchard than whatever plot or grape it is.)

Agreed on the house style being imposed on the wines. Personally I find the wines heavily varietally influenced (which I think is cool), and gravitate towards the Pinot Noir based wines.

It’s not just Bouchard… The other big guns of the Aube (Vouette & Sorbee, Marie Courtin, Lassaigne), all produced fine to very fine 2011s.

Again, I agree that further north the 2011s are a bit of a disaster.


I didn’t have Courtin’s 2011s, but have found them to be vintage dependent in the past, but talking about earlier vintages, like 05 and 06, so it’s possible the wines have moved away from that.

Vouette is always good for me :slight_smile:

I’ve only had a handful of 2011’s and looking at CT, these were my thoughts;

2011 Bouchard Boloree and VV - Agree with everyone’s comments above
2011 Charles Dufour Bistrotage Rose B.11 - I found this quite enjoyable as well
2011 Leclapart L’Apotre (twice) - I noted that it didn’t stand up to other vintages of Leclapart, but was itself perfectly enjoyable, though probably not for the price
2011 LB VVdL - I disagree with the OP on this one. I found my first bottle in early-ish 2021 to be a bit disjointed and just horribly young, but a bottle in March of this year showed very nicely with a little bit of air

Overall, probably easier for the growers to shake off the vintage vs. the large houses (none of which I’ve tried), though in some instances, while decent wines, they don’t quite live up to the label

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The “discrepancy” in vintage rating could be explained in part by the sample set implied by the rating: the vintage was so bad many producers did not release 2011-specific bottlings, but perhaps those that did release made decent wines. If one took the first factor into account, the vintage score will be much lower than if only the second were taken into account.

I would also note that there is a very large discrepancy between Galloni and others regarding the 2011 Taittinger Comte. Galloni scored it a 75, whereas I’ve seen scores ranging from 92-97 from others.


I think something that’s worth pointing out is that a number of the wines we are talking about are not technically vintage wines by Champagne standards. Could be something to be said about the fact they don’t go through as long of aging as required by Champagne rules, and that’s actually helping these wines be better. Food for thought if nothing else.

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I also enjoyed the 2011 Larmandier-Bernier Champagne Grand Cru Vieille Vigne du Levant in March. I opened it at Brigg’s and FMlll’s Zoom tasting with Arthur Larmandier. Maybe you did the same. The farming, old vines, wood, malo, lees and more combine to make an extraordinary wine despite the challenging vintage. It’s rich, creamy, powerful and complex. Buttered almonds and hazelnut, bread in the oven, pear, brown spice, with nice cut and freshness. I thought it precocious for 11 years, drinking really well. I suspect it has the stuffing to go another ten. I purchased a couple of more bottles and magnums after that tasting.
That said, I didn’t buy much else from 2011 except Vilmart’s Couer de Cuvée. In my experience, Lauren Champs routinely excels even in tough vintages. I haven’t opened any yet, so I can’t say for sure he did it again in '11.
Many of the big house wines typically buy made it a NV year; DP, Cristal, and I believe Ruinart. I skipped the Comtes, although I had read positive notes from Jancis as well as Charles Curtis from Decanter.

I try not to paint in broad brushstrokes when it comes to vintage reports, especially for regions with varied climate, soils and winemaking.



If there is Val Vilane offered for 60 bucks, I am definitely going to buy it …we can only hope! (Sad to think that this used to be the price back when you couldn’t read the labels)

Any one know if Richard Juhlin rated it?

The 11s I have had (and still own a little) are both mentioned above. 11 L-B VV and 11 Vilmart CdC. I have enjoyed them both, and would buy more of each if I was backfilling. And, I would vote for Warren and Andrew as voices for whom, as much as any critic, I would look to for perspective.

  • 2011 Larmandier-Bernier Champagne Grand Cru Vieille Vigne du Levant Extra Brut - France, Champagne, Champagne Grand Cru (7/1/2022)
    Tasting w/ The Gang @ Counselor Seiber's Pad (Orange County, CA): Disgorged June 2019. 100% Chard with a few grams of dosage. This bottle reflected a strong almond quality, which I thought was pretty cool. And of course citrusy, infused with lemon and a light inflection of tropical fruit with some fennel in the finish. This vintage of VV is for me both elegant and yet has the L-B spiciness, in a medium weight. I do think that vintage and the 10 years that have passed already since harvest make the wine drink just fine right now, too.
  • 2011 Vilmart & Cie Champagne Premier Cru Coeur de Cuvée - France, Champagne, Champagne Premier Cru (2/14/2022)
    Disgorged May 2018, 80% Chard + 20% Pinot Noir. We finished this bottle over dinner within about 90 mins so it did not have a chance to flesh out completely as my last one did. Plenty of acid here, with some of the CdC signature creaminess and some of the tropical character of the previous bottles. This showed fine and while it doesn't have the depth of the better years, this is still damn good.

Posted from CellarTracker


I’m just glad 2010 and 2011 are well into the rear view mirror. I remember going to a big tasting in 2014 or thereabouts and the NVs were rough sledding.


I guess there are two points to consider:

  1. What’s the real difference between 87 and 70? Does 87/100 suggest a great vintage? Vinous has rated around 75 Champagnes from the 2011 vintage, the lowest scoring being 75 points and the highest scoring being 96. Just over 25 were scores in the 80s (mostly 88/100), and only two were scored in the 70s. That leaves just under 50 Champagnes with reviews in the 90s. If the average Vinous score for 2011 vintage Champagnes is considerably higher than 70/100, in what sense can the vintage be considered to merit 70/100?

  2. A more fundamental question: Do any serious wine lovers actually take “ratings” for an entire vintage in an entire region seriously? To me, if you are even consulting such things, well… Vintage charts date from the pre-internet era. With extensive searchable databases, you can find much more meaningful commentary on specific wines without needing to resort to the ludicrously broad generalizations offered by vintage charts. There’s a reason our vintage chart is in front of our paywall…


I’ve basically avoided 11s the past few years. The PP Les Chets was enjoyable, but it wasn’t at the quality I normally expect. Same with the Hebrart SC.

I have to go through all of my notes over the years, but I definitely noticed a green/herbal streak in a lot of northern 11s that was off-putting (the 11 Campania-Remensis was tough going and the 11 Laval Rose was really bad). Too much good champagne to buy to worry about a less than stellar vintage like 11 that really should’ve been blended out in a lot of places.