How I Assess Champagne

In most cases, my assessment is based on numerous tasting experiences. When drawing my conclusions, I have taken into account all the times I have tasted a particular wine, putting emphasis on the most recent notes. With every wine, I indicate the most recent time I have tasted it. Some rarities I have encountered only once, and in these cases, I try to evaluate and specify the condition of the bottle. Regarding historic vintages, there are no universally great wines but only great individual bottles. This is especially true for champagne, as this delicate and fragile wine suffers more from bad storing and light than a more robust wine style. Whenever possible, I taste the wine at the producer’s cellars where it should be in its ideal condition. If not otherwise mentioned, the assessment is for a 75cl bottle.


Champagne is a tricky wine because the non-vintage nature of most of them and the alternating disgorgement dates of even single vintages make it hard to track down the exact wine that I have tasted. Information is increasingly available on the labels and from their producers, and I try to take this information into consideration and give the base years and disgorgement dates when applicable.


I have decided to rate the wines on a 100-point scale even if I do not consider points to be all-embracing nor absolute. This is, however, the best-known means to rate a wine. The 100-point scale gives enough leeway for making differences between the wines. And I do try to use the scale in its entirety and not in the inflated way it is often used today with all champagnes given over 90 points. Fine wines’ points are bound to increase over time as the wine develops new layers. Thus, each wine is also given a future potential point which is projected to be its peak over time.