A vintage champagne (also called «millésime») is only produced in those wine-years where the grapes are of a particularly exceptional quality. The grapes used for this champagne all come from the same, and only the best, vintage.

Vintage champagne rests on its yeast up to a few years. A chemical process called "autolysis" begins. The dead yeast cells release aromas of bread, sponge cake and toast into the liquid. This process usually takes about 4 to 5 years, but has also been observed to occur over periods of 10 years. Champagne that rests on its dead yeasts remains fresh - even beyond the many years of the maturation.

For champagnes without specified years (non-vintage), usually about 70% base wines from the current year and 30% reserve wines from previous years are used. This enables producers to bring a very similar champagne to market every year and thus continue their "house style".

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