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2002 or 2004 Champagne? Jancis Robinson’s verdict 

What’s happening in the market?  

Trade from Friday through to Monday was led by Bordeaux, which represented 30.7% of total trade with wines from Château Mouton RothschildChâteau Lafite Rothschild and Château Haut-Brion trading.  

Burgundy and Tuscany trailed behind Bordeaux, holding 16.7% and 14.3% of total trade by value respectively. Tuscany saw activity surrounding wines from Argiano and Rampolla as well as multiple vintages of Sassicaia changing hands (specifically the 2020, 2017 and 2018). 

However, in terms of volume traded, it was Nicolas Maillart, Platine Extra Brut NV that led rankings since Friday, boosting Champagne’s trade share to 13.0%. Wines from Egly-Ouriet, Jacques Selosse and Dom Pérignon were also popular. 

Today’s deep-dive: 2002 or 2004 Champagne? Jancis Robinson’s verdict 

In November 2023, Jancis Robinson tasted 50 champagnes blind to test which vintage would come out on top between the 2002 or the 2004. The wines featured in the tasting represented some of the most famous names in the Champagne world. 

The tasting panel consisted of three tasters: Jancis Robinson, Nick Baker and Richard Bampfield MW. 

According to Jancis Robinson’s scores and the combined scores of the three critics, the 2002s came out on top. 

As well as providing the average scores for each wine, Nick Baker provided current prices for the wines and calculated that, on average, the 2004 champagnes were 19% more affordable than their 2002 counterparts. 

Analysing the Liv-ex Market Prices for the 34 wines, the 2004 Champagnes, on average, are priced at a 24.5% discount to the 2002s. 

Jancis Robinson noted that given the narrow gap in average scores between the two vintages, consumers might perceive the 2004 champagne as a relative ‘bargain’. 

Jancis Robinson’s top-rated wine in 75cl format was Taittinger, Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2002, which she awarded 19 points out of 20. This score is an upgrade from the 18 points Robinson gave the wine in 2019. Neal Martin awarded the wine 98 points in August 2020, potentially contributing to the rise in its price at that time. The wine was released at £925 per case and has since risen 224.3% to a Market Price of £3,000. 

Taittinger, Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2002 trades on Liv-ex 

Robinson had two top Champagnes from the 2004 vintage: Taittinger, Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs and Pol Roger, Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill, both receiving 18.5 points. 

Regarding Taittinger 2004, Robinson noted it is ‘brisk and energetic. More youthful than the earlier vintage but with great promise and persistence’. The wine was scored 96 points by Antonio Galloni in both 2012 and 2013, and has a much lower Market Price than the 2002, coming in at £1,650 per 12×75. 

Taittinger, Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2004 trades on Liv-ex 

According to Liv-ex’s Fair Value methodology, Taittinger Market Prices have a 72% correlation with age. As shown below, the 2004 comes in under the line, meaning it offers relative value compared to other vintages such as the 2002, which comes in above it. 

There are currently 133 LIVE bids and offers for Taittinger, Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs wines on Liv-ex. Log in to the exchange to view them and trade. 

The other top-rated 2004 champagne, Pol Roger’s Sir Winston Churchill, was slightly downgraded by Robinson, from 19 points in 2019 to 18.5 points when tasted blind. The wine was released at £1,224 per case and has gradually risen to a Market Price of £1,700 per case. It reached its peak trade price of £2,154 per 12×75 in December 2022 and was last traded at £2,000 per case.  

Pol Roger, Sir Winston Churchill 2004 trades on Liv-ex 

1.5 litre magnums were also scored by the trio of critics, six 2002 and six 2004 wines. Interestingly, in the magnum format, the 2004s came out on top with an average score of 18.1 vs 17.4 points for the 2002s. The top magnum according to the three critics was Clos Pompadour 2004.  

There are currently 1929 LIVE bids and offers for Champagne wines on Liv-ex. Log in to the exchange to view them and trade. 

In case you missed it 

Here’s what we’ve been reading:  

  • Liv-ex: Château Beychevelle features in top-traded twice 
  • Decanter: Call for net reduction of more than 12,000 vineyard hectares in California 
  • The drinks business: Which wines consistently perform on the secondary market? 

Liv-ex analysis is drawn from the world’s most comprehensive database of fine wine prices. The data reflects the real time activity of Liv-ex’s 620+ merchant members from across the globe. Together they represent the largest pool of liquidity in the world – currently £100m of bids and offers across 20,000 wines.               

Independent data, direct from the market.