Should I buy vintage or non-vintage champagne? The answer depends on several factors.
The main difference between vintage and non-vintage Champagne is that a “vintage” Champagne is made from the grapes of only one year’s harvest, whereas non-vintage Champagne is a blend from harvests of different years.
A “non-vintage” Champagne is actually created each year by the winemakers and growers. They attempt to provide a continuous house style through the blending of grapes from various vintages, to create the yearly non-vintage Champagne. This means that, no matter when your favorite Champagne was bottled, it will most likely taste similar to most of the other bottles you’ve tasted from that same house.
Whereas, in a good quality year, a winemaker will be able to produce a fuller, deeper Champagne, making it a “vintage” year. It will be made with 100% of the grapes grown from the vintage year indicated on the label.
Vintage Champagnes are not produced every year. They actually comprise a very small percentage of the total Champagne production. Non-vintage Champagnes will be left to mature for at least a year and a half, whereas a vintage Champagne is usually aged for at least three years, although some will be left for longer.
So the question comes down simply to a matter of taste. Next time you have a dinner party, why not buy a bottle of each and taste them side by side with your guests? It will certainly make for some great fun and lively wine conversation to start the evening and probably provide a new experience for all of your guests!