1996 Vilmart & Cie Cuvée Creation


Opening a bottle of Champagne 20 years after its vintage date may seem like a risky proposition, but the better wines from the great 1996 vintage are just rounding into form and the best of them may go on for decades. The 1996 Vilmart Cuvée Creation is an outstanding example of this high-acid, high-ripeness vintage.

Its light gold-tinged yellow color suggests a wine younger than its years, and its nose displays remarkably vibrant notes of peach, nectarine and almond flower along with complex toast and spice notes (Vilmart is one of a small number of Champagne houses that vinifies most of its wines in oak casks) and the beginnings of truffley evolution. In the mouth, it’s still a baby yet utterly seamless, with brisk lemony acidity giving a firm edge and outstanding lift to the very pure stone fruit, citrus and salty mineral flavors. This extract-rich, Chardonnay-dominated vintage Champagne is at once dense and wonderfully elegant, finishing with outstanding saline grip and chewy persistence. 94/Drinking window: 2017-2036