Champagne: 2021 New Releases


After a brutal year in 2020 in which sales slumped dramatically, Champagne has come back with a vengeance. Demand and enthusiasm are high, no doubt buoyed by a return to more or less ‘normal’ conditions, whatever that means these days. Readers will find an extraordinary range of Champagnes in the market that span the entire stylistic spectrum ranging from the glitziest grande marque new releases to small-production artisan bottlings. 

Tastings this year were once again quite difficult from an organizational point of view. The severe challenges facing supply chains, shipping and other logistics that readers are seeing in other industries means that samples arrived at a slower than normal pace. For that reason, and for ease of future reference, we have combined all Champagne reviews from 2021 (including those that have been published previously) into a single report. There will no doubt be additions to this article in the coming weeks. 

For the second consecutive year, I was not able to travel to Champagne in the spring to taste the vins clairs, so unfortunately, I don’t have any impressions of the young 2020 vintage to share. Readers will find plenty of commentary on vintages, winemaking styles and other specifics in the producer profiles and reviews that accompany this article.

The major trends I have outlined in previous reports continue. At the high end, a strong move towards premiumization is resulting in an increasing number of ultra- tête de cuvée offerings. The smaller growers are expanding their ranges with new single-parcel and/or single-variety Champagnes. Keeping up with the pace of change is next to impossible, but also extremely invigorating as Champagne remains one of the most vibrant regions in the world. 

These are some of my favorite wines of 2021. 

Value Plays

Champagne doesn’t have the best reputation for value, but it’s there in the top NV bottlings and wines from less well-known houses. These wines all overdeliver. 

· NV Chartogne-Taillet Brut Cuvée Ste.-Anne

· 2014 Delamotte Blanc de Blancs

· NV Gaston Chiquet Brut Cuvée de Réserve

· NV Jean Lallement et Fils Brut Resérve

· NV Pehu-Simonet Brut Face Nord

· NV Pierre Moncuit Brut Blanc de Blancs Delos Grand Cru

· NV R. H. Coutier Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru

The Don’t Miss Champagnes of 2021

· 2007 Billecart-Salmon Brut Cuvée Nicolas François Billecart

· 2016 Chartogne-Taillet Les Barres

· 2017 Christophe Baron Brut Nature Le Dessus Du Bois Marie (Magnum)

· 2012 Dom Pérignon

· NV Henri Giraud MV 16

· 2016 Marie Courtin Extra Brut Sans Soufre Présence

· 2014 Pierre Péters Brut Cuvée Spéciale Les Chétillons

· 2013 Roederer Cristal Rosé

· 2014 Roses de Jeanne Blanc de Noirs Côte de Bechalin La Parcelle

· 2009 Ruinart Dom Ruinart

· 2012 Vilmart & Cie Brut Rosé Emotion

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