2018 Champagne Vintage Buying Strategy/Discussion

Longer cellaring is (almost) always a good thing!

As pointed out above, magnums are what to get. Better aging abilities and sometimes better wine than 1/2-magnums (I’m looking at you Pierre Peters Cuvée de Réserve).

1 Like

Not waiting for 2019?


The new arrivals are starting to arrive, and our work sort of consists tasting through them.and we only got one bottle of this champagne…
This 100% Pinot Blanc from Pierre Gerbais from the 18 vintage is phenomenal. I did not expect this to be so good, . A low pressure/petite mousse style champagne, no really discernible fruit, perhaps a hint of pear. The mineral intensity is off the charts, sort of a maritime salinity, the acidity is mild but enough to keep one curious. Envelopes the whole of the palate, and has a really persistent finish. Structurally not at the level of Marie Courtin/Vouette or Bouchard but that is minor quibble.
This tastes so good now, I don’t see any benefit in waiting.

4 Likes

Following this thread closely; I too am looking for 18 base to celebrate future anniversaries.

I picked up some 18 base Suenen C+C and Oiry which are out now.

Pierre Peters Mags are tough to get the date right if you are ordering online. I believe the current magnum release is 2016 base

Pierre Peters Cuvée de Réserve in magnum is a 100% vintage wine, no reserve wines added, which is completely different from the 750 ml. bottle (unless Rodolphe Péters has recently changed that).

1 Like

Shhh @WilliamS, don’t tell anyone! Need to keep these available :wink:.

My gripe is getting the vintage off the magnum if I’m not at the retailer. You can scan the QR code but not all merchants do that when they are listed online.

2 Likes

Yeah, I almost didn’t mention this little known fact.:sweat_smile:
I have the same problem of getting the info of vintage, I rarely get an answer when I inquire. :confused:

1 Like

Surdyk’s in MN has a magnum for sale on their website. Not sure if they ship to either of you, but I know their wine buyer, so if you are interested, let me know and I’ll see if I can get him to scan the code for you. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the offer Troy, but for my part I’ll pass. But it might be of interest to the OP.

(I’m waiting for the 2019 vintage.)

2 Likes

I think 2018 is a decent vintage, especially for Chardonnay. The Pinots can be a bit round. I thought 2017 was a mixed vintage - a lot of VA issues. A recent 2017 base Nowack cuvee I had was undrinkable. Some very good wines too, of course.

How do we know which vintage?

1 Like

Interesting perspective in that Andy Jefford opines that 2018 is a 5* vintage rating with a measley 1and1/2 star rating for 2017. He described the 2017 vintage as “traumatic” for growers due to the varied weather patterns. The 5* assessment was only matched by the 2008 and 2012 vintages…pretty universally acclaimed. Can you be more specific about why 2017 seemed better? Clearly your view is diametrically opposite at least one critic who is not known for hyperbole.

One doesn’t. However, if one scans the QR-code on the magnum bottle, one will get the vintage.

To be honest, I find the idea that one can reduce a vintage to a number, point or so many stars ridiculous. All I can do is follow my taste and the more I taste, the complexer vintages become. My taste levitates towards colder vintages or more acidic champagne so naturally 17 is more for me than 2018 in general. However 2018 is not as clear cut as one would like to believe.

If one says Chardonnay fared better than pinot noir, how can one come to such a conclusion.
You have Chardonnay from Aube, Sezanne, Vitry, Côte des Blancs, Haut Epernay, grande vallée, Marne, Bouzy, Ambonnay, trapail, the north etc etc, So which chardonnay is better. The chardonnay from the north, where in 2018 it was cooler, lots of fog or from the Côte de blancs where the southern exposures which were too hot or from Bouzy which was too hot or Tauxieres which delivered fresher champagnes. And then Aube, 100 km to the south. Explain to me how you bring this all under one common denominator. One thing is clear grapes from sandy soils seemed to fare better in 2018.

Today we received the new release from Benoit Lahaye, his Blanc de Blancs is an assemblage of chardonnay from 2018 and 2019, from Bouzy and Tauxieres, 18 did not work, just too hot, to get teh freshness he had to blend with 2019
The Jardins de le grande pierre porbably one of the best and most complex grower champagnes available is solely from 2018, this has the seven grape sorts, so Arbane and Meslier bring the acidity.

Maillart has also released some 2018s, cold climate champagne in a hot vintage. The 2018 Montechenots, fabulous.

Look at the Dom Perignon discussion, which is the better vintage 2012 or 2013? I prefer 2013 as it aligns to my taste, there is no question, there are good and great 2012s with freshness or acidic drive but they are few and far between. Which is better 2013 or 2012, like comparing apples and pears. Some critic said 2013 is a cross between 12 and 08, risible, I forget who. 13 is a vintage that will appeal to those that like more energetic, cooler style champagnes and 12 more for those who prefer warmer vintages. Who is right or wrong.

I can only repeat, the more I taste the more I have to adjust my opinion. For me every year with champagne is like a blank canvas, at the end of the year after so and so many champagnes one has an opinion that one can more or less forget as the new year starts and the new releases emerges, one has to start all over again.

3 Likes

Donald, thank for this post and answer. For a region as vast as Champagne, it makes sense that there can be no one complete answer for ‘how was the vintage?’ According to the Internet it’s 34k hectares! Vs. 5.5k for Burgundy, 6k for Barolo, 3k N. Rhône, 1.6k for Barbaresco.

Still, for most regions there is a huge challenge for us consumers to taste before we buy so we can form our own opinions. Vintage scores are useful for this reason - the reviewers and their summaries are guild posts that point us in useful directions.

I’m actually surprised that I have more opportunities to taste Champagne than wine from most other regions, so I do, and I buy what I like and don’t worry too much about the vintage.

1 Like

I think for me 2011 is a good example, Galloni gave this vintage a ridiculously low score 70 points.
2011 no question is a difficult vintage, but 70 points are ridiculous. What always sticks in my mind is what Guiborat said, they did not even bother pressing the grapes from 2012 and sold everything lock stock and barrel to Perrier-Jouet. In contrast their 2011 Prisme is one of the best champagnes of the vintage.

I realise this is extremely geeky, but in terms of grower champagnes I think it would be better to break the champagnes into regions and treat them individually rather tham make one general assessment. The dynamics of Aube are completely different to the dynamics of the Marne. We see this in Germany, just look at the differences in Riesling between Mosel Saar Ruwer or the border Rheinhessen and the Pfalz.

There has been a discussion elsewhere on the value of tasting vin clairs. For me it is like watching a chef chop onions and saying on the basis of that hwo the sauce will taste.

I remember another expereinced producer talking about 2008, they said even after 3 or 4 years, they could not get past the acidity and had no idea how the vintage would turn out. There first release of the 2008 was with 3g/l dosage, a year later the champagne hadchanged so much that they decided to do the second charge with 1g/l.

When I started with champagne in my hubris I had pretty clear ideas etc and the longer I work with champagne I realize how complex the subject is. 2017 is maybe a 1 star vintage but just taste Marguet’s shaman 17 or Leclapart’s L’Aphrodisiaque and explain to me what is one star about them.

2 Likes

@D_Pennet Those are some good posts just above. Thank you. I’ve said many times over the years that we give too much power to critics and scores. We want finite information, we want boundaries to make the complex simple. It is not.

I opened a 2017 Ruppert-Leroy Les Cognaux last night, which was showing delicious. Yet, the 2018 Larmandier-Bernier Longitude from this past weekend seemed a bit sweet to me, kinda tired. It matters where and who, not a broad stroke from a critic to light the way.

1 Like

This is an excellent point. Not at all geeky. For myself as a champagne buyer, I have not yet risen to the challenge of studying the sub regions and understanding the differences, the producers, which varietals do better where in which kinds of vintages, etc. It’s complicated. At some point I’m going to have to get off my lazy butt and do the homework.

1 Like

I dunno, I tried a lot of champagne, that tends to be how I reach my conclusions.

Thanks for the offer Troy; I’ll pass but it is tempting. FWIW the mags I bought from the latest release were 2016 vintage so the OP may have 1-2 years to go. The 750s as of late were base-18 but of course still a n/v blend.