As we look back at 2019, full of political intrigues and off-kilter tweets, it’s safe to say that this was a trying year. Yet, there is one overwhelmingly bright shiny bubble at the end of the tunnel: the fall of 2019 was a truly epic time for champagne – so epic, in fact, that it resulted in an early harvest, since the grapes’ sugar content clocked in at twice the norm.
Only those grapes grown in the Champagne region, of course, can be turned into actual Champagne – but each house specializes in their own varietals, with classic fermentation processes and unique techniques (We visited Reims earlier this year to witness some of those in person.). Picked by hand, pressed, blended and bottled, each year produces its own completely unique flavor profile, that always culminates in something delicious…but occasionally also truly extraordinary.
What does that mean for Champagne produced in 2019? According to Vincent Chaperon, cellar master of Dom Perignon, “a vintage with a moderate yield and very promising quality.”
But while we’re waiting for those to mature, here are some incredible bottles from the heady years of the Oughts (has another decade really just gone by?), matured and ready to pop this New Year’s Eve/Day. The price tags can be hefty, but if we’re expecting the ’20s to roar, then we surely have to ring them in appropriately magnificently.
Known as the largest and most diverse domain in Champagne, with 800 base wines every year, each individual batch of juice is analyzed, tasted and classified by cru, variety and quality. The Imperial is specially crafted from three to four blends specially made every year, and highlights the best of the best in Champagne. With small, fizzy bubbles, this will satisfy even the most particular palate.
A subtly aromatic and shimmering rosé Champagne with a distinguished structure and velvety texture, Dom Ruinart Rosé 2004 is ripe red fruit and freshness in a glass. Ruinart has a long history of producing rosé Champagnes, having created the first more than 250 years ago. The 2004 is crisp and complex and is only the 19th vintage rosé champagne from the maison.
Another 100% Chardonnay, made with grapes harvested in 2004. Founder Joseph Krug first believed that a house of Champagne should always “adhere to a craftsmanship without compromise in order to consistently offer the best, regardless of climate variations.” The Krug Clos du Mesnil 2004 is crisp and clean, made with grapes from a single walled plot of vines in the village of Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, with all harvested in the year 2004.
You’ve probably seen the classic Veuve Clicquot bottle with the official pantone yellow label. The house was known for being run by the grande dame of the champagne industry, Madame Clicquot. In 1818, she created the first-ever blended rosé, using an innovative and now widely used method. In 2008, after a cool and rainy spring, the grapes ripened with an abundance of sugars, and by adding Pinot Noir, resulted in a bold, bright flavor that was soon named after Le Madame.
“We have purposely waited to release these special blends,” Brent Hocking, Founder & CEO of Mod Sélection Champagne (Drake is a partner), says about this vintage, “to ensure optimum quality and purity – and we believe they’re worth the wait.” With ripe fruits like orange peel, dried apricot and pineapple that open to reveal notes of brioche, nutmeg and clove, this champagne packs a punch. Full bodied without heaviness, the line is in partnership with Maison Pierre Mignon.
A deep-salmon hue redolant with a heady mix of fresh red fruit like strawberry and plum, followed by honey and ginger. The combination of strict selection processes at harvest, the most delicate extraction of first press, along with respect for the fermentation process, ensure a pure expression of balance and flavor only found in Champagne. Since 1892, the legacy and learning of five generations of growers comes together in an exclusive enclave of the Vallée de la Marne. Awarded Robb Report’s “Best of the Best” Award, the only hard part is not buying a case.
Dom Pérignon is singular in its exclusivity and available only as a vintage, using a mixture of the best grapes to represent the unique character of the seasons. Each year, the Chef de Cave, or master winemaker, reinvents the house style with different grapes, creating a new vintage. With near perfect growing conditions in 2002, the year stands as a remarkable moment for Champagne’s history. The vintage is a clean yet simultaneously robust and round flavor that is worth every penny.
Lenny Kravitz brings his legendary style and creativity to an inspired vintage champagne with this special bottle. Re-imagining Dom Pérignon’s shield label in hammered metal, the rockstar/designer gave it a uniquely contemporary vibe. Let love, and bubbles, rule.