The Pop and the Ooze: The Difference Between Vintage and Non-Vintage

Holidays are the perfect time to celebrate to the fullest – friends and family who have not seen each other for a long time gather around to share some generation-old dishes and sip or gulp fine wine that’s been sitting on the cellar for months, even years. For many, no celebration is complete without glasses of actual champagne or sparkling wine to fully enjoy and honor a momentous occasion.

But, on special days like this, which bottle should we reach for when there are several bottles of bubbly drinks around? When buying that precious bot of champagne online, this will help you know what’s good, expensive, and both.

Understanding Vintage Champagnes

Vintage type of champagnes are identified as such when they’re made with grapes from a single year’s harvest, and such information will be available on the bottle’s label. These are typically produced only three or four times in a span of ten years, which only accounts for less than five percent of all wine productions. The top three grapes featured in vintage champagnes include Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, or Pinot Meunier. However, these should age for at least three years inside the bottle, compared to a mere 15 months for non-vintage ones. As such, aging is the luxury factor that separates the two. In order for all these luxurious bottles to reach the consumers, there’s a huge amount of work and labor and real estate that go on. Winemakers aren’t only sourcing grapes to create their bottles from their best vintage. These grapes are also sourced from highly venerated vineyards.

Understanding Non-vintage Champagnes

2 glasses of champange

Unlike Vintage Champagnes, non-vintage versions are produced using grapes that have been sourced from multiple harvests. In some cases, this can take place in a span of up to two decades. Usually, these consist of an assembly of three to five vintages to fully materialize.

Vintage Champagnes are preferred by many due to their uniqueness, whereas non-vintages still remain a favorite because of the familiarity they offer, often emphasizing a label’s signature aromas and tastes. Every Champagne producer has its own house style, which gives their bottles that elegance and bright appeal. If you’re a fan of a specific house’s style, you’ll like everything they offer across the spectrum — from non-vintage to the vintage ones.

Because of its name, it’s common for many to think that Vintage Champagnes are of a much higher quality compared to their non-vintage counterparts. While it’s true that more work is involved in making vintage wines, everything still boils down to a person’s taste preference. Vintage Champagnes don’t have to be on the pricier range, but they often do due to the fact that there’s only a few of them available. Keep that in mind when buying champagne. Simply put, one isn’t a better choice than the other; they are simply presented in different ways.

Whether you’re popping a bottle of vintage or non-vintage, the important thing that most connoisseurs believe in that champagnes should be consumed and enjoyed not only during rare celebrations but on a much more regular basis, to fully appreciate what they have to offer.

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