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The Difference Between Multi-Vintage and Nonvintage Champagnes

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In 2021, Champagne producer Louis Roederer made headlines when it decided to stop making its best-selling nonvintage Brut Premier, replacing it with a new multi-vintage cuvée called “Collection.” It’s the latest producer to announce such a change, following in the footsteps of houses like Jacquesson, which—over 20 years ago—got rid of its nonvintage blend in favor of the Cuvée seven-series.

Besides Jacquesson, a handful of other houses also have multi-vintage offerings: Krug makes its Grand Cuvée, Laurent Perrier makes Grand Siecle Iterations and Champagne Lallier created the multi-vintage bottling Serié R (the “R” stands for “Recolte,” the French word for “harvest”). But are these multi-vintage wines all that different from their nonvintage counterparts?

The answer is a resounding “oui.”

What Is Nonvintage?

If you’ve ever enjoyed a moderately-priced bottle of yellow label Veuve Cliquot or blue label Nicolas Feuillatte, you’re probably somewhat familiar with nonvintage Champagne—these wines don’t have a singular harvest year (aka “vintage”) specified on the label. The wine industry has long used the term “nonvintage” (sometimes written as “NV”) to indicate wines made with grapes from several harvest years. This is a particularly important practice in Champagne, where wine reserves are kept to mitigate the effects of a bad growing season.