Champagne vintages: years 2000-2009

The stellar years are 2002 and 2008, with the least remarkable being 2001, 2003 and 2007. According to the quality of 2000-2009 vintages, we have afforded one (★) to five (★★★★★) to each vintage.

2009 ★★★/★★★★

After early complications, a superb summer produced a clean crop of high quality, with particularly good Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims. Wines have fine expression; they are plump and approachable, with good overall quality.

2008 ★★★★★

One of the best all-time vintages! Initially a difficult, damp year with widespread mildew; drier conditions in August and a fine, warm September proved many producers’ saving grace. Classically styled wines with fresh acidity balanced by sound ripeness achieved late in the season. The wines are vivid and well-structured, with fine textural finesse and potentially long-lived.

2007 ★★

An unusually warm spring led to early flowering and optimism which soon gave way to disappointment with one of the gloomiest summers on record. Conditions improved towards September allowing a fair crop, with Chardonnay outperforming the Pinot Noir. Due to the challenging growing season few houses declared this vintage; top producers offer fresh, accessible versions.

me inspecting the 2012 vintage bottles at Veuve Clicquot cellars, Reims

2006 ★★★

An exceptionally hot and sunny June and July with grapes in fine fettle but a damp August left producers fearful of under-ripeness. Fortunately, warm, bright conditions in September redressed the balance. Wines are supple and generous. The best offer fine integration and expression.

2005 ★★★

Variable conditions throughout the year resulted in a lacklustre vintage, though favourable weather in the run-up to harvest meant that ripeness was assured. Acidity on the low side. Open-knit and approachable versions capable of short-term cellaring; Chardonnay fared best.

2004 ★★★/★★★★

Unusually, quality and quantity were both hallmarks of 2004. Structured, well-balanced wines which have exceeded expectation. Sleek and vibrant in style, particularly for Chardonnay.

Dom Pérignon tasting (2008, P2-2002 and 2006 Rosé), at Lavinia wine store, Madrid

2003 ★★

Spring frosts followed by one of the hottest summers on record led to small volumes and typically very ripe wines of middling quality. Some fine Pinot Noir dominant blends. The best can be sumptuous, but some inconsistency.

2002 ★★★★/★★★★★

A magnificent vintage for champagne with near-perfect growing conditions capped by fine dry weather at harvest. The best year since 1996 (before 2008), with complexity and richness backed by firm, lively structures and keen acidity; the finest will repay cellaring.

2001

A generally poor vintage characterised by rot and under-ripeness thanks to a wet and gloomy September. You will hardly find champagnes of this year.

2000 ★★★

Hail, rainstorms, unseasonable cold and mildew made for a testing growing season, but fine conditions in August and September redeemed the vintage. High quality wines for short-term drinking. Medium to full-bodied, the top examples are balanced, with vibrant structures and finesse.

me pouring a glass of Michel Gonet vintage 2005 at Angelita bar, Madrid
Dali watching the bottle of Michel Gonet vintage 2005 at Angelita bar, Madrid

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