Though it’s clear that only one of these noughties vintages is built for long-term cellaring, Richard Juhlin finds that the two make for a fascinating comparison when tasted side by side at this stage of their development. See below his Top Vintage Champagnes from 2000 and 2002.

Every year for the past few years, it has been my pleasurable task to select an especially interesting style or segment from the world of Champagne, and to subject it to an in-depth tasting and analysis. Last year, as published in Decanter, this took the form of a huge (and enjoyable) review of Reims and Epernay’s great prestige cuvées. In 2013 it was rosé Champagne and, prior to that, blanc de blancs was the object of my scrutiny. But for this year’s tasting, I have
tackled something far more challenging: a comparison of two vintages which are similar
in age, but very different in character – 2000 and 2002.

I have wanted, and been waiting, to do a tasting focused on these two vintages for a
long time. But only now have they both reached a stage of maturity that makes such a
direct comparison meaningful.

Close-run thing

In terms of points, the 2002s won out – but only by a very narrow margin, with an average
of 87.63 points compared to 87.32 for the 2000s. Of course, it must be emphasised that
scores were based on the quality of the wines as they are drinking now – and not based on
their future potential. That would have yielded a very different result, with 2002 being the
clear winner.

That is not to say that 2000 needs to be consumed on the spot, or drunk up in the
short term. In many cases, in spite of the low acidity of the vintage, the best 2000s have
sufficient depth and concentration to hold their own for another decade.

Top Vintage Champagnes from 2000 and 2002

With 26 outstanding Champagnes from the original tasting, Decanter.com is highlighting the top vintage champagnes that scored over 94 points.

 

Cristal Champagne

Louis Roederer, Cristal, Champagne 2002

Louis Roederer, Cristal, Champagne 2002 My expectations were not entirely fulfilled on first tasting. Aristocratic and sublime, of course, but not as full-bodied as…

Points 96
J Selosse

J Selosse, Avize 2002

J Selosse, Avize 2002 Wonderfully open and rounded, with an exoticism and beauty typical of Selosse, while also being very…

Points 95
Ruinart, Dom Ruinart

Ruinart, Dom Ruinart, Reims 2002

Ruinart, Dom Ruinart, Reims 2002 In 2002, it was almost impossible not to make good wine, and Dom Ruinart was a…

Points 94
Krug 2000

Krug, Reims 2000

Krug, Reims 2000 In its current condition, extremely mineral-driven and sea-splashed, showing iodine, oyster shells and a light, pleasant bready…

Points 94
dom perignon 2002

Dom Pérignon, Epernay 2002

Dom Pérignon, Epernay 2002 Wonderfully caressing and typical. The silkiness and balance impress most, along with a fluffy, creamy tone…

Points 94
Piper-Heidsieck 2000

Piper-Heidsieck, Reims 2000

Piper-Heidsieck, Reims 2000 Well-constructed with enormous vigour and capacity for ageing. Piper- Heidsieck has a track record of producing Champagnes…

Points 94
Cristal Champagne

Louis Roederer, Cristal, Reims 2000

Louis Roederer, Cristal, Reims 2000 Sadly now in something of a lacklustre phase, but on first tasting this was delightfully…

Points 95