Vintage 2002 Champagne : Twenty years on with Essi Avellan MW

Master of Wine Essi Avellan recently compiled her highlights of the Vintage 2002 twenty years on for Club Oenologique. The year 2002 is considered an exceptional vintage, probably one of the best. 2002 was a great year for the whole Champagne region, in particular for Chardonnay grape. It produced Chardonnays that are opulent and fragrant, rivaling in excellence the suppleness of the Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. It takes some 20 years for Champagne’s finest Cuvees to show their true colours, with an array of tertiary characters blooming showing aged richness and density. The very best are still on their way up delivering huge drinking pleasure right now.

Caught between the 2001 marked by persistent rain and the tender and gentle 2004, the 2002 vintage has the flesh and freshness of great wines that can stand the test of time.

The vineyards in the north of the Champagne region were particularly favoured. After a disastrous summer that left us to expect the worst, the month of September 2002 lifted the spirits of the winegrowers: A dry and sunny summer guaranteed a good ripening of the grapes. The rainfall was below the national average (a drop in average rainfall of around -30%) and fortunately kept diseases away from the vines. The harvest was able to take place under the sun.

Low acidity, good alcoholic richness ensuring good ageing potential. This vintage is synonymous with prestige. These are Champagnes that leave their mark on the memory of the connoisseur. Their unique and exquisite character offers all the qualities expected of the great Champagne houses. They exceed the reputation of the brand. Already delicious, these well-balanced and fine Champagnes can be left to rest for five to ten years in the cellar. The greatest will reach their peak in 20 years.

Here are what we have at The Finest Bubble;

Piper-Heidsieck Rare 2002 99/100
Dom Perignon Plenitude 2 2002 98/100
Krug 2002 97/100
Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 2002 97/100
Pommery Les Clos Pompadour 2002 Magnum 96/100
Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage collection 2002 95/100
Philipponnat Clos des Goisses LV 2002 95/100
Bollinger R.D. 2002 94/100
Dom Ruinart 2002 94/100