Champagne expert Michael Edwards picks six top Champagne vintages for laying down in your cellar.


2012 A brilliant August and a warm rainless September has shaped a superb though small harvest for outstanding Pinot Noir – top winemakers say as great as 1952. A must-buy in 2019 and 2020. Chardonnays are less strong, too four-square. The Aube region was badly hit by hail.

2009 Warm, generous year: poised, round yet elegant, the grapes in perfect health. The best wines are those picked later for phenolic maturity and added complexity. Some lovely rosés. Will be ready before the great 2008s.

2008 One of the best two vintages of this decade. A return to a classic, dry style in a cooler year. Powerful fruit and scintillating acidity in complete harmony. A real keeper to 2025 or later.

2006 The vintage now on stream. A charming, forward year with bountiful fruit – the best wines with fine freshness too, thanks to some partial non-malo winemaking to maintain acidity. A vintage to drink or keep till 2018.

2004 A record crop, highly successful because of healthy fruit. A very even year likely to taste good throughout a decently good life. Especially fine for blanc de blancs. Enjoy between 2015 to 2020 and later.

2002 The first great vintage of the decade: a warm season, not too hot. Powerful, poised Pinot Noirs, seductive, creamy Chardonnays. Some wines show a tendency to corpulence: the best, released later, are superb and good for another 10 to 20 years.


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