The past two years have been a roller-coaster ride in the Champagne world. The major houses have rebounded from the slump generated by the onset of the pandemic only to find themselves in the midst of an altogether different issue: unprecedented supply shortages. With many new releases put on hold last year, as the Champenois opted to wait for the return of normal times, 2021 has seen a glut of them. And they are selling fast. Now is the time to stock up, as the very last cuvées of the hyped 2008 vintage are released, among them Billecart-Salmon Cuvée Elisabeth and Charles Heidsieck Rosé.
For fans of cool-vintage Champagnes, there is also an exceptional array of prestige and vintage cuvées available. In addition to the lean and fresh 2008s, the 2012s offer outstanding Champagnes of intensity and purity. Some of the top cuvées from the radiant and energetic 2013, like Roederer’s Cristal, also made their debut this year. Such wines promise longevity and a taste profile that we will likely wait a long time to see again, since the latter half of the decade has been an era of predominantly warm vintages. Here are my top releases from the past 12 months, both to lay down and, in some cases, to toast happier times in 2022.
Essi Avellan MW's top Champagnes of 2021
Moët & Chandon, Grand Vintage Collection 2004
After benefiting from 15 years on lees, the nose is quintessentially Moët, with gunpowder and liquorice meeting dough-like yeasty aromas and elegant, cool, crunchy fruitiness. The 2004 is delicate for… Read More
Salon, Cuvee ‘S’ Le Mesnil Blanc de Blancs Brut 2012
Pinot Noir was the king of this climatically challenging vintage, so Salon wasn’t promising us a release early on. The house changed its mind and has come up with something… Read More
- POA at Corney & Barrow