Champagne de Castelnau has announced it will release its Blanc de Blancs Vintage 2003 this month, offering fans a rare opportunity to experience premium quality Vintage Champagne from a controversial year.

Very few Champagne Houses produced a Vintage Champagne in 2003, due to the extreme summer heatwave, which meant the average acidity of most base wines was very low. Castelnau felt it had enough premium quality still wines to made a small quantity of Blanc de Blancs Vintage Champagne.

Castelnau’s Chef de Cave Elisabeth Sarcelet said the majority of the fruit for the drink is grown on soils in the Montagne de Reims crus, more usually associated with Pinot Noir production, giving richer, nuttier and more complex flavours to Chardonnay.

She described the wine as having “faint tobacco, spice and a touch of mint followed by crystallized orange on the nose and a lemon-zesty freshness plus richer creamy caramelized exotic fruits on the palate, leading to a toasty and elegant finish.”

Keith Isaac MW, who is head of Castelnau Wine Agencies in the UK, said: “We are excited about the release of the Blanc de Blanc Vintage 2003 and I’m happy to say that most of its rather limited supply will reach the UK, offering our customers the rare opportunity to experience a superb example of Vintage Champagne from 2003.”

The limited release, which comprises 11,000 bottles, will be available to the independent trade and has a price of £43 per bottle.