Vintages and non Vintage Champagnes

The Champagnes we sell at Say It With Champers are non vintage, to view our great selection please click HERE.

What is the difference between non-vintage and vintage Champagne?

Holidays are the time we relax, and perhaps celebrate also. This is a time of the year we may have a family feast, we may do so with friends or family, or perhaps both of them, it may be summer it may be winter, but there is one thing that links all of these.

Typically a glass of fine Champagne will be poured and raised to whatever celebration we are toasting. But then the question remains, what type of Champagne should we choose?

Champagne Origins

Before we delve too deep into this subject matter, any Champagne, whether it be a cheap Champagne, expensive Champagne, or a fine Champagne can only be labelled as ‘Champagne’ if it originates from the Champagne wine region of France, and this is according to the rigid Appellation d’Origine Controlée guidelines and regulations.

Even though wine has been produced since about 496 A.D from when monks were producing wine in monasteries, the real effervescence of it was only truly appreciated in the late late 1600s.

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Vintage Champagne

Customised Champagne UK

It must be noted that those who were making wine were in fact horrified at the discovery of bubbles in their bottles, as this was an unintended result of the second fermentation due to early frosts and the rising temperature later in the year.

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Nowadays when a sparkling wine is produced, they are often prized for the bubbles within them – this is the same for Cava, or Prosecco. Bubbles have a sense of class and prestige, and bring a feeling of investment and sophistication.

The popularity is increasing all the time, for if we look at the American market they drank roughly 25.5 million 9-liter cases of Champagne and sparkling wine. We also saw that in 2015 Champagne produced in France surpassed the sales of sparkling wine that was produced in America.

Fine Champagne

Champagne is a very broad catch all phrase and perfect for birthdays and weddings, as it encompasses many types of Champagne – it includes luxury Champagnes and fine Champagnes for example. It also includes vintage and non-vintage of course – vintage Champagnes like the Taittinger Brut Millésimé 2012 will be produced with grapes that come from a harvest from one sole year, and this information will be displayed prominently on the bottle.

Vintage Champagne

Vintage accounts for a small percentage of production, at roughly 5 percent, and will be seen as the highest form of expression for that given Champagne house. Although currently at Say It With Champers we do not supply vintage Champagne for your personalised Champagne bottles in UK, that is not to say we can’t source it for you.

 

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Champagne drinking

Vintage Champagne Composition

A vintage Champagne will typically be made up of the 3 main grape varieties in the Champagne region – Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. The difference is that they must have been aged for no less than three years in the bottle of Champagne, this is different to the minimum 15 months for a non-vintage.

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This extra time makes a big difference of course, and without doubt this increases the cost element to it as riddling must be done of course which has a human cost element to it. So not only are these the best grapes, they also come from the best vineyards and have much more work go into them – so naturally the price will be higher. If you are looking for a vintage Champagne for your personalised bottle of Champagne UK, please bear in mind that there will be an added financial cost to this.

Fine Champagne Houses

If we look at a fine Champagne which is also a non-vintage Champagne such as Taittinger Brut La Française, we see that the production of this Champagne sees grapes from multiple harvests being used. In some extreme cases this can span up to 20 years, but will typically be from 3 or 5 years.

Another difference between vintage and non-vintage Champagnes is that a vintage may be celebrated for being unique, a non-vintage is often appreciated in terms of familiarity. Every maker of Champagne will have a unique style, some Champagne houses will focus on Pinot Noir while others will be bolder and richer. Some Champagne houses focus on Chardonnay, Taittinger are a good example of this – such a practice results in the Champagne being brighter and elegant.

Typically if you like the type of Champagne that a Champagne house produces, you will like their Champagne whether it be vintage or non-vintage. Although our premium range of Champagne at Say It With Champers is non-vintage, you can rest assured that when you buy a personalised Champagne bottle in UK you will be buying one of the top Champagne brands.

Vintage Champagne Myths

One thing that is a bit of a myth is the belief that a vintage Champagne must be of a higher quality that a non-vintage Champagne. There is no escaping the fact that more work goes into the production of a vintage Champagne, but ultimately taste is down to the individual.

A non-vintage can be used for any occasion, and can almost be considered as an every day type of Champagne, but a vintage is more complex, and a bit of thinking needs to go into the occasion with which you require it to be drunk.

Premium Champagne Price

The strange thing with vintage Champagne is that is doesn’t necessarily have to be priced in the premium bracket, but usually this is the case, the main reason for this comes down to demand, there is simply less of the vintage Champagne that non vintage Champagne, basic supply and demand.

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Vintage Champagne drinking

Vintage Champagne

Typically a vintage Champagne is better suited to a dish that is less complex dish, as this will allow the full and distinct flavours of this bolder Champagne to come through. There may well be flavours of fruit, such as peach or apple and there will be a certain minerality depending on the region of production.

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Champagne Flavours

The flavours of this fine Champagne vintage will differ between the various Champagne houses of course. The key is to aim for a high quality producer who is known for producing the best wines. Another tip is to look for secondary and tertiary tasting notes, and finally make sure you enjoy it with people who will appreciate it!

Ultimately, whether you are opening a vintage or non-vintage bottle of Champagne, one final tip is to drink much more often than we typically do now! Ideally we should move away from it being just for celebration.

Personalising Vintage Champagne

So there you have it, an interesting article about vintage Champagne and non-vintage Champagne and how it links in with a personalised Champagne bottle in UK. You have many choices when it comes to buying a personalised bottle of Champagne UK, by far the most popular is our lower priced range simply due to the fact that it is such a good value Champagne.

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Personalised Champagne bottle label

But should you wish to have another one, let us know and we will try our hardest to source it for you. After all when you buy a bottle of personalised Champagne UK we want you to be happy with your product.