It might sound strange, but one of my favourite things to do is head down into the musty damp depths of my cellar and rummage among the cobweb-strewn corners, brushing dust from labels to unearth old favourites for special occasions. Whether decades old or just a handful of years, certain Champagnes and vintages become so much more given a little time.
Our priority at Sip has always been to bring you exciting Champagne to drink and enjoy right now, but that’s not to say that there aren’t some bottles worth squirrelling away for a few years or even longer.
Many of the exciting producers we work with are in their early years of winemaking and, for some, we even have their very first vintages. I don’t own a crystal ball, but if the likes of Gaspard Brochet, Domaine Vincey and Georges Remy continue on their present trajectory I think it might be worth hanging on to their early releases. Imagine owning an early vintage Champagne from Jacques Selosse for instance!
Potential monetary gain aside though, the real reason I’d suggest holding back certain bottles is that they will age beautifully and become better and better through time.
All that’s left to do is choose your Champagne. If you’d like a helping hand, here are a clutch of wines to cellar that I’d thoroughly recommend…
It’s hard to believe that Oger 2016 was only their 3rd vintage release. It’s that good! On our recent trip we met with Marine Zabarino (one half of the husband and wife team) and we can attest that it’s no fluke and their incredible devotion and hard work (which included hand picking caterpillars from vine buds every night for a week this year!) is clearly paying off. Also, their cellar is completely empty (they couldn’t even sell us a personal bottle for the trip!) so grab yourself either La Premiere 2015 (retail case) | La Premiere (in bond case) or Oger 2016 (retail case) | Oger 2016 (in bond case) from us while you still can.
A winemaker I have known personally for many years, Vincent is no young buck but he really knows his winemaking and produces incredible Chardonnays from his estate in Chouilly that age wonderfully. If you don’t believe me, you can test for yourself with a half and full bottle of Coste Beert. It’s the same wine, but the demi has an additional four years on the lees and boy can you tell! However, if you’re looking for something to hold on to, grab a case of Idee de Voyage 2008 (retail case) | Idee de Voyage 2008 (in bond case). A fabulous wine from one of the best vintages of the century and one well regarded for its ageing potential. Need I say more?!
When we first met Georges he was yet to release a Champagne but when he did it knocked our socks off! Georges ages his wines using an agrafe, which causes a spike in oxygenation over the first year or so followed by a sharp drop-off, allowing his wines to age gracefully. Unsurprisingly, once people have tasted his Champagne they are often back for more (in bulk) so we struggle to keep his wines in stock. We do, however, have the odd bottle available from across the range and, at time of writing, ONE CASE of the tremendous Les Hauts Clos 2015 (retail case) | Les Hauts Close 2015 (in bond case). Who will get there first?!
Hailing from a family of winemakers, it’s hardly surprising that some of the magic has rubbed off on Gaspard. His first release, Lion Tome I, arrived not long after Sip was established and it was a revelation. We lapped it up, you lapped it up and we couldn’t get enough of it in. His second release Lion Tome II came alongside Pie Tome I and Ane Tome I and they were arguably even better. His next set of ‘Tomes’ are on the horizon and we can’t wait. If you can’t either, add your name to the waiting list for Lion Tome II and we’ll let you know when they arrive. You won’t have long to buy them!
Legends of Meunier from Fleury La Riviere, Audrey and Jerome work with majority Meunier and create a selection of wines that age beautifully. If you want evidence, look no further than Oenoteck No.1; a pure Meunier non-vintage(!) aged on the lees for a whopping 162 months or 13.5 years. Incredibly, we still have a few in stock, so grab one while you can and, while you’re at, it pick up a case of the Lysandre 12 (retail case) | Lysandre 12 (in bond case). 1/3 each grape, 7g/ltr from the 2012 vintage, it’s a superb wine from a brilliant vintage and certainly one for the future.