Vintage Retrospective: 1995 & 1996 Champagne

The mid-1990s saw a duo of stellar Champagne vintages that kicked off final years of the 20th Century with a bang. At more than two decades of age, how are the 1995 and 1996 Champagnes tasting today? Antonio Galloni shares his insights with these excerpts from the Vinous Vintage Charts . 1995 Champagne: 94 Points – Drink or Hold For the last twenty years, 1995 has lived in the shadow of 1996, but I think these wines still have not had their day. It is a generally a ripe year, with healthy sugars, but acidities are also proportionally high, which has allowed the wines to age quite gracefully. An insider's vintage. 1996 Champagne: 97 Points – Drink or Hold A highly unusual, freakish vintage in which sugars and acidities were both elevated, with sugars around 10 degrees of potential alcohol and acidities of 10 grams per liter. The resulting wines are austere, tightly wound and brisk. Recent tastings have found the 1996s in great shape, although my sense is that Chardonnays and Champagnes made in more reductive styles will last longer than those made in more oxidative styles.

Dom Pérignon

Brut Champagne Blend 1995

Truly spectacular champagne! The carbonation flattened with the bottle age yielding a sweeter fruit glass. If there was such a thing as a sparkling Sauterne, this would be it. One of my favorite Champagnes, period. Cheers! — 3 years ago

Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin

La Grande Dame Brut Champagne Blend 1995

Beautiful apple pie spice, citrus, hints of lees, hazelnut and chalk. Simply fabulous. To enjoy alongside Veuve Cliquot's Chef de Cave Dominique DeMarville was amazing! — 2 years ago

Gary Westby
with Gary
Gary, LM and 7 others liked this

Ruinart

Dom Ruinart Brut Rosé Champagne Blend 1996

Justin Timsit
9.8

Bread dough, strawberry cream, nuts, cheese rind, mushroom, chalk and I could go on for days... — 2 years ago

Revi liked this

Taittinger

Comtes de Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne Chardonnay 1996

Jörgen Lindström Carlvik
9.8

A near-perfect bottle, this CdC offers candied apricots, vanilla, smoky Brioche and chalky minerals on the evolved, yet lively nose. On the palate, it literally explode with perfected bubbles, loads of fruits and mineral additions, fading flowers, vanilla custard and a boatload of ripe citrusy acidity. Long and rewarding. — 4 years ago

Anthony, Eric and 18 others liked this

Charles Heidsieck

Blanc des Millénaires Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne Chardonnay 1995

So fresh you would not know it was a 1995 but disgorged in January 2014. Lemon minerality and hints of stone fruit and touch of pineapple. A fine persistent bead. The perfect balance of complexity and freshness. When I first tried this I thought it was rich enough to have a % of Pinot Noir but it is a Blanc des Blancs. Amazingly still available because they “made shitloads of it” said Stephen Leroux. A few hours later a honeyed nuance. Celebrating my 2000th Note on Delectable. I would like to congratulate Delectable for creating such an enjoyable and useable App. I can see what my American and European friends are drinking and try to purchase same. Also celebrating my son Hugh’s 31 st Birthday in New York. If anyone is looking for office space in Manhattan contact Hugh at CBRE. — 2 months ago

Casey, Ira and 24 others liked this
David T

David T Influencer Badge

Congrats Bob. PH, a nice bottling to celebrate!
Bob McDonald

Bob McDonald Influencer Badge

@David T Thanks David. It never disappoints. I think I have one left 😊

de Venoge

Brut Louis XV Champagne 1995

Hay gold with ample microscopic bubbles for its age. The effervescence is refreshing and far from piquant or harsh. On the nose almonds and brioche dominate. Starts with stewed quince, apple blossom, and pleasant acidity that crescendos through mid palate. Waves of toast and fresh baked croissant enter by mid and are joined by chocolate for the long finish. The only negative is the overly assertive acidity throughout, might be an indication that this vintage is almost past prime. Still an amazing champagne. — 4 years ago

Peter and Matt Trader, liked this

Philipponnat

Clos des Goisses Champagne Blend 1996

Michael Cruse
9.5

Took a bit of time to open up, but then was one of the more exceptional bottles of champagne I've had in a while. — 2 years ago

Thomas, Jeff and 10 others liked this

Krug

Brut Champagne Blend 1995

Andrew Lampasone
9.2

Complex aromas of hazelnut candied ginger and still a good bit of fruit fine silky bubbles candied lemon and a long layered finish. Finish 50+ biscuit most excellent — 4 years ago

jesus, Eric and 2 others liked this

Louis Roederer

Cristal Brut Champagne Chardonnay Pinot Noir Blend 1995

1995 vintage. 60% Pinot and 40% Chardonnay. Very fresh, tight nose. Medium lemon. Mineral, iron and metallic nose. Ripe lemon, no oxygenation (no MLF as usual). On the palate, very balanced and lean. No richness and fine bubbles. Clean finish. Quite long. Very elegant. Not quite at the level of 2002, but lovely nonetheless. NB: with air, some morel and white truffle notes. — 3 years ago

Matt Trader, liked this

Deutz

Cuvée William Deutz Millésime Brut Rosé Champagne 1996

Aged bubble--had a bitter orange liqueur thing going on like Grand Marnier or Cognac. Gorgeous orange color with tiny pretty bead. — 4 years ago

Anthony and Amy liked this