Champagne has always been a highly competitive sector of the wine world and that hasn’t changed; I doubt it ever will. But what has changed is the playing field and the rules of engagement. Whereas once it was a battleground of sheer quality or price point, today’s skirmishes are decided less in terms of traditional commercial attributes and more along lines of interest, imagination and personality.
We tasted more than fifty Champagne producers for this year’s report, discovering much in the way of captivating, high-quality Champagne covering almost every possible stylistic angle. That such diverse quality is emanating from this region means there is still plenty to investigate, be it in familiar or unfamiliar territory. And whilst simple tradition doesn’t really pass muster these days in Champagne, classicism is certainly not dead. It is alive and well, elevated to artful reverence by the best producers.