Be among the first to see the results of our vintage Champagne panel tasting, just published in the Christmas issue of Decanter magazine and with scores and tasting notes currently available exclusively to Premium members on Decanter.com.

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With consumers increasingly calling for local individuality and provenance, the market is moving in favour of these more exacting styles, says Michael Edwards.


 Go straight to the vintage Champagne ratings and tasting notes here


Setting the scene

The Champagne heartland, 145km east of Paris, has treacherous weather, which brings icy winters, mercurial springs and the threat of destructive frost.

Yet climate change, particularly since 2005, has often ushered in warmer, earlier harvests and higher levels of sugar in the grapes, achieving about 10% natural alcohol in the first fermentations, ideal for fine sparkling wine.

Yet warming has also brought extremes, particularly in chaotic August rainfall, as in 2010, 2011 and 2017, when the prospect of a great, warm ‘continental’ vintage like 1996 was dashed by downpours for Pinots Noir and Meunier.