Drinking Well Now: Which Vintages to Drink in 2020
The end of lockdown will herald the popping of champagne corks and opening of wine bottles once more – begging the question, which vintages would be best to drink in 2020 and which should be cellared for later?
There are many variables that contribute to making a great vintage champagne, and as a result some are more highly prized than others. For example, 2002, 2004 and 2007 were great years for champagne production. In all cases this had to do with optimum weather conditions during the harvest, providing ideal conditions for grape maturation, and as grapes arrived at the press they were in excellent and robust health.
The Best Champagnes on the Market to Drink Now
Many consider 2002 to be the best vintage of the last 30 years for champagne. And Dom Pérignon Vintage 2002 Plénitude 2 is a wonderful example. Filled with a new energy and intensity, the champagne has reached its second plénitude – the point at which it evolves into a different expression. After 15 years on its lees, the P2 boasts an even greater longevity. So, while its exotic aromas and subtle salinity are exquisite today, it is also ideal for the cellar.
If you like your champagne fresh and tart, perhaps those from 2004 are for you. This vintage was reported as the largest harvest in Champagne history at the time, with exceptional levels of acidity. Lemon meringue, just-ripe plums, edible flowers and mint tasting notes all appear in Krug Vintage 2004. Christened “Luminous Freshness” by the maison, its zippy minerality captures the essence of the year.
Looking to 2007, Dom Ruinart Blanc 2007 is a stellar example of a well-balanced blanc de blancs champagne with a surprising citrus freshness.
Which Bottles to Buy Now and Keep for Later
Not all champagnes and wines should be bought for immediate consumption. Some vintages could actually benefit from a few extra years in the cellar, as their flavours can become enhanced in the bottle. Red wines with strong tannins such as Château Cheval Blanc, a red wine from the iconic Saint-Émilion region in France, will always benefit from a bit of aging, which is why many maisons won’t release these vintages until the wine is at least 18 months old. If you have a bottle of Chateau Cheval Blanc 2006 or 2007 in the cellar, you should consider opening them this year, while you should hold on to the 2005, 2010 and 2011. Over in the Napa Valley, open a bottle of Newton Vineyards Unfiltered Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 or the maison’s Unfiltered Chardonnay 2014, which are both at their best in 2020.