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From non-vintage to multi-vintage: Champagne rips up the rule book

NV and MV – only one letter different, but in the Champagne world the two signify daringly different conceptions of what a ‘house blend’ can or should be. Is it just a premium-end fad, or could non-vintage be about to change forever?

While non-vintage (NV) is formally recognised as the mainstay of Champagne, it may seem odd that there is no equivalent recognition, by the authorities at least, for its well-groomed sibling, ‘multi-vintage’ (MV).

The dominance of the NV category seems, if anything, to be hardening (see ‘Shipments by category’ table), with MV not getting a look in. At 78.5% of total shipments in 2020 for all NV, that’s a huge volume of bottles, each having a story to tell.

Scroll down to see tasting notes and scores for 10 top non-vintage / multi-vintage Champagnes

Recently, however, there has been a quiet revolution, in the top echelons at least, with the aim of recognising, promoting and celebrating the diversity on display.

Non-vintage, if one stares hard at the term, is something of an empty phrase – of course there has been a vintage involved in the process! What’s more, all growers will, by definition, use more than one vintage in their NV wine – multi-vintage, in other words.

Held in reserve: Simon’s pick of the best non-vintage / multi-vintage Champagnes

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