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The Basics of Vintage Champagne

Champagne has a taste that certainly separates it from other wines, and within champagne there are specific years that have a taste that is different still. These particular years, if they're high enough quality, will become many bottles of “vintage champagne.” As a result, just like wine, certain years have unique tastes and are especially good.

The way that vineyards determine whether or not to make a vintage out of a year is based exclusively on the quality of the harvest that year. Only years which are particularly good make the cut, which is the reason you're paying that increased price for your vintage champagne.

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Unlike wine, however, the older champagnes don't tend to be the very best. Rather, the newer champagnes tend to be the preferred vintages, as they retain the crispness and freshness that is appropriate to the festive tone of this beverage. This does not mean that older years are necessarily guaranteed to be worse, but it also means that newer years of vintage champagne should certainly not be avoided.

You'll want to store champagne much like wine. Most champagnes work best when chilled, so the refrigerator is fine for non-vintage years. Vintage champagne belongs in similarly chilled areas to wine, such as wine cellars.

If you're looking to start a collection, buying guides for the years of vintage champagne, as well as their collectors value, are all available online or in print. General advise on starting a collection can also be located online, in specialized magazines, and in a wide array of books that remain in circulation.

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