Champagne – 2019 Fall Releases


Readers will find a wide range of new releases in the market this fall, everything from tiny-production Champagnes to the latest from the grandes marques. The pace of change in Champagne continues to be incredibly rapid, with new, small domaines popping up left and right while the big brands expand their ranges and increase quality. All of that makes Champagne an incredibly exciting and dynamic region to follow.

That’s the good news. But there is also some news that is worrisome. While the market is very strong for some domaines, that is not the case across the board. To be sure, many wineries of interest to Vinous readers could sell their annual production several times over. But those estates only represent a small cross-section of Champagne as a whole. The reality for most properties is not so rosy, especially in light of continued weak demand in France. One look at wine lists in top restaurants makes clear that only a subset of estates have a true share of mind, and that is a shame given the extraordinary diversity of these wines today.

Moreover, Champagne is one of the regions in the world that has thus far benefitted from climate change. The last vintage that can be said to have been truly difficult is 2011. After that, Champagne has experienced a series of mostly strong vintages. To be sure, each year has its challenges and weather conditions can be highly localized, but the simple reality is that winemakers today have more opportunities to make good to great wines than their parents had just a generation ago.

Cédric Bouchard’s collection of older vintages, Landreville

A much more recent development is the threat of a new round of tariffs in the United States that could impose a tax of up to 100% on Champagne. Such a tariff, if enacted, would essentially be a Death Tax for growers. The large houses have enough volume and the infrastructure to shift 6-12 months of product, maybe more, to the US ahead of tariffs going into effect. Small houses, of course, don’t have that luxury. All of that would mean far less choice for the consumer.

I continue to believe that Champagne is one of the last regions in the Old World where readers can find artisan, handmade wines that are still affordable. Many of those domaines are reviewed here. As always, our fall article represents the second half of our annual Champagne coverage. Readers will find many more estates and wines profiled in my article The 2019 Champagne Summer Preview. I tasted all of the wines in this article from July-November 2019. Regrettably, a few estates I follow are missing from this report purely because of logistical reasons. I will add reviews for those wines as soon as possible.

The Do Not Miss Champagnes of 2019

These are some of the most memorable Champagnes I tasted in 2019. They aren't necessarily the highest scoring wines, but those that left the deepest impression. To keep the list manageable, I limited selections to one wine per estate.

A. Margaine 2012 Special Club
Agrapart 2013 Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Vénus
Benoit Déhu NV (2015) Extra Brut Cuvée Cuvée L’Orme
Bollinger 2010 Vieilles Vignes Françaises
Cédric Bouchard-Roses de Jeanne 2015 Blanc de Blancs La Haute Lemblé
Deutz 2009 Brut Millésimé Amour de Deutz
Egly-Ouriet NV Brut Blanc de Noirs Les Crayeres Grand Cru
Henri Giraud NV Fût de Chêne (2013 base)
Jacques Selosse 2007 Extra-Brut Millesime Grand Cru
Jacquesson 2008 Extra-Brut Aÿ Vauzelle Terme
Jérôme Prévost - La Closerie NV Extra-Brut Les Beguines (2016)
Laherte Frères 2015 Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Les Grandes Crayères 1er Cru
Larmandier-Bernier NV (2015) Extra Brut Rosé de Saignée
Laurent-Perrier 1988 Brut Grande Cuvée Rosé Alexandra
Moussé 2015 Special Club Rosé de Saignée
Pierre Péters 2012 Brut Cuvée Spéciale Les Chétillons
Roederer 2012 Cristal
Roger Coulon NV Héritage 1er Cru
Salon 2008 Salon
Ulysse Collin NV Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Les Pierrières No. 85
Vilmart & Cie 2014 Grand Cellier d’Or 

The Best Buys of 2019

Champagne does not have to be ultra-expensive to be great. These are my favorite Champagnes under $60. I would be thrilled to drink any of them any day of the week.

You Might Also Enjoy

The 2019 Champagne Summer Preview, Antonio Galloni, July 2019

Cristal – The 1980s…A Decade of Change, Antonio Galloni, December 2018

Champagne – The Season’s New Releases, Antonio Galloni, November 2018

Champagne: The 2018 Summer Preview, Antonio Galloni, July 2018

Champagne: 2017 New Releases, Antonio Galloni, December 2017