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A guide to non-vintage Champagne

A singular house style has always been the calling card of Champagne producers’ non-vintage bottlings, but now it is ‘multi-vintage’ blends and their changing character in successive years that’s beginning to take centre-stage.

Next to Champagne’s rare treasures, the humble term non-vintage doesn’t exactly stir the passions. Defining something by what isn’t there seems a strange approach. Even the French term ‘brut sans année’ (literally, ‘brut without vintage’) sounds a little apologetic. But these are wines that are worth talking about.

Changes are afoot in the region, and it’s time to re-examine Champagne’s entry level. Non-vintage is the bread and butter of Champagne, accounting for some four-fifths of all Champagne sold, according to the most recent figures from the region’s governing body. The term refers to Champagnes made by blending wines from a base year – the most recent harvest – with reserve wines held back from previous years. The wine must spend a minimum 15 months in bottle for the second fermentation and ageing on lees, in contrast to three years for vintage wines.

Scroll down to see notes and scores for 15 non-vintage Champagnes

New approach: Hewsons characterful 15 non-vintage Champagnes to know

All wines recommended are non-vintage or ‘multi-vintage’ blends

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