CHAMPAGNE REVIEWS

CHAMPAGNE REVIEWS

Champagne is considered the premier of sparkling wine. Sparkling wine production is attributed to the Benedictine Monks of the Abbey of Saint-Hilaire in the south of France. The Benedictine monks developed the process known as the ‘methode champenoise’ which is somewhat complicated and results in the significantly high price for the bubbly champagne. Dom Perignon initially witnessed this and took this process to northern France, the Champagne region, to produce the finest sparkling beverage in the world.

Seeking a less expensive and more efficient way to make high quality sparkling wine, Frenchman Eugene Charmat and independently in Italy, Federico Martinotti discovered what is now known as the Charmat-Martinotti method. Looking for a faster and cheaper way to create quality sparkling wine, Frenchman Eugene Charmat and, separately in Italy, Federico Martinotti discovered what is now known as the Charmat-Martinotti method. In this procedure, the wine is transferred from its primary fermentation vat to a large sealed pressurized tank where it undergoes secondary fermentation to create the carbonation. Then the carbonated beverage is bottled and sent to market.

Sparkling wine is divided into four progressive levels of sweetness:

Extra Brut: This is the driest of the sparkling wine where essentially all the sugar is metabolized by the yeast giving a very dry wine

Brut: This wine is dry, but with a light taste of sweetness and is the most popular of the sparkling wines. Champagne is the most common sparkling wine to be labeled Brut.

Extra Dry: Extra Dry: This a dry sparkling wine with some slight sweetness. It is not as dry as Brut or Extra Brut. Prosecco is most often considered Extra Dry.

Demi-sec: This is the sweetest of the sparkling wine. Demi-sec is often served with dessert as a sweet compliment to luscious fare.

We have revealed some of the very finest French Champagnes for your ultimate indulgence. Please explore these Champagne Reviews and make a personal selection for your uttermost pleasure.

Dom Perignon 2008

This is a classic prestige Cuvee from the house of Moet & Chandon. The Wine Spectator score for this 2008 was 96 points. This 2008 is his best Dom Perignon vintage since 1990. This Dom Perignon is smooth and elegant Champagne with a strong acidity swathed in a fine, creamy mousse and flavors of toasted brioche, kumquat, pastry frost, candied ginger and poached plum that plunge across the palate with hints of smoky minerals. This has vibrant but controlled acidity and is above all a memorable symbiosis of mature fruit and salinity derived from top terroirs. The poised mouthfeel makes this a perfect gastronomic wine, strong enough for spicy Asian cuisine from the Pacific Rim, but still compatible with classics such as roast turbot and lobster.” the Dom Perignon 2008 is going to need a number of years before it is at its best. Lemon peel, white flowers, mint and white pepper give 2008 its chiseled, bright profile.

Wine Details

Winery: Moet & Chandon

Wine Type: Sparkling

Country: France

Region: Champagne

$199.00

2009 Dom Pérignon

If you only know one name in Champagne, it is probably Dom Pérignon. What you may not realize is that Dom is a label, not a Champagne house. The wine is actually made by Möet & Chandon. It is named for a monk and cellar master who was a great Champagne innovator.

If you like the Dom Pérignon style, then 2009 is definitely a wine you’ll want to add to your collection. This Champagne offers an intensity of ripe, luscious fruit. Apples, lemons and mango dance gracefully across the palate in an elegantly ordered way. The wine lingers impressively long, leaving the lasting feeling that something special has just occurred. The Dom Perignon 2009 is an excellent choice.

Winery: Möet & Chandon

Varietal: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay

Wine: Type Sparkling

Country: France

Region: Champagne

Price: $165.

Louis Roederer Cristal 2008 Brut Champagne

Originally produced in 1809 for Tsar Alexander II of Russia, and to this day it is still the ultimate Champagne.

Wine Enthusiast Magazine scored it a perfect 100 points saying “This latest incarnation of the famous brand is a superb wine. It is on par with, maybe even better than, the already legendary 2002. Its balance is impeccable: Apple and citrus flavors working with the tight minerality to give a textured yet fruity wine. It has amazing potential and is likely to age for many years.

Its balance is impeccable: Apple and citrus flavors working with the tight minerality to give a textured yet fruity wine. The assemblage is 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. This is so fresh and tense with extremely exuberant chardonnay notes on the nose of white peach, lemon, and yellow grapefruit. The yeast characters are also super fresh, and there are subtle woody notes, with a hint of vanilla bean and light spices. Pinot Noir is a strong core and the Chardonnay sits at the edge offering lemon and white nectarine sorbet flavors. Staggeringly concentrated, yet the balance makes it seem airy and light. Acidity is perfectly positioned.

Wine Details

Winery: Louis Roederer

Wine Type: Sparkling

Country: France

Region: Champagne

$220.00

Perrier Jouet’s Cuvee Belle Epoque

Perrier Jouet’s Cuvee Belle Epoque is a Champagne that’s been celebrated for generations. Wine Enthusiast Magazine scored 95 points. The iconic Belle Epoque bottle reveals a well-structured, taut wine. With Chardonnay very much in evidence in the mineral texture, the wine is almost as floral as the bottle. All the lightness of white floral notes: hawthorn blossom, linden blossom, and white clover. A fresh, stylish wine with good structure, silky and elegant, based on the mineral notes of the best Chardonnay Grand Crus. The floral, fruity notes give way to subtle spicy hints for a pleasant finish on the palate. All the lightness of white floral notes: hawthorn blossom, linden blossom and white clover. A fresh, stylish wine with good structure, silky and elegant, based on the mineral notes of the best Chardonnay Grand Crus. The floral, fruity notes give way to subtle spicy hints for a pleasant finish on the palate.

Wine Details

Winery: Perrier Jouet’s

Wine Type: Sparkling

Country: France

Region: Champagne

$160.00

Laurent Perrier Cuvee Rose Brut NV Champagne

Inspired by the times of French King Henri IV, Cuvée Rosé Laurent-Perrier has become the most recognized rosé champagne in the world and is considered a benchmark for rosé champagne. The wine is made using nearly a dozen crus, most of them Grands Crus as well as special plots in the vineyards owned by Laurent-Perrier itself. The Pinot Noir grapes are selected for their perfect ripeness and manually sorted in Laurent-Perrier harvest stations. After the maceration process, the wine bottled and aged a minimum of four years in bottle before release. With 90+ scores across the board, Connoisseur’s Guide gave this wine 96 points saying “Elegant and fruity at the same time with a quick invitation from bright, pure cherryish notes and then filled out handsomely by whiffs of chalky soils and well-integrated, rich and uplifting yeast-driven scents, this wine manages to be both vigorous and layered at one and the same time. Its bubbles are insistent, finely carved, and add to the early sensations of lightness and energy yet also carry the wine long into a balanced, refined finish. And its latter palate grip is exactly what one should expect from the genre. While service with light foods would be our first choice, this one has the beauty to stand alone.”

Wine Details

Winery: Laurent-Perrier

Wine Type: Sparkling

Country: France

Region: Champagne

$80.00

Le Mesnil Blanc De Blancs NV Grand Cru Champagne

This “Blanc De Blancs” Champagne is made by blending various parcels of Chardonnay specially selected for their finesse and ethereal qualities, giving the wine, complex and mouth-watering flavors, all from the vineyards of Le Mesnil, 100% Grand Cru and a fraction of the cost those celebrated bottlings. A Gold medal winner at the “Chardonnay du Monde” competition in 2015.

The vineyards of Le Mesnil Sur Oger are considered extraordinary for the growth of Chardonnay grapes with 100% of the vineyards being ranked Grand Cru. The village is situated in the heart of the prestigious Cote des Blancs, named for the Chardonnay grapes that grow there. Mesnil has of course been made famous by the rare and expensive bottlings by Krug and Salon of Clos de Mesnil.

Wine Details

Winery: Le Mesnil sur Oger

Wine Type: Sparkling

Country: France

Region: Champagne

$75.00

2006 Nicolas Feuillatte Palmes d’Or Brut

Nicolas Feuillatte is one of the newest faces on the Champagne scene. The house was founded in 1976 but it quickly found a base of adoring fans. The winery offers very approachable and affordable Champagnes with great packaging.

Their tête de cuvée fits this profile perfectly. Far more affordable than most of the wines on our Best Prestige Champagnes list, the Palmes d’Or is an approachable wine but one with complexity — not to mention great packaging. The wine is almost worth it for just the bottle, which resembles a glass pineapple wrapped with gold. The Champagne tastes like something that should be drunk among the stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age at a secluded resort in the South of France.

Origin: Chouilly, France

Varietal: 50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir

Country: France

Region: Champagne

Price: $135

Beaumont des Crayeres NV Grand Rose Brut Champagne

Beaumont des Crayères was founded in 1955 by a group of independent Champagne growers, Beaumont des Crayères today has 210 acres of vineyards in Epernay. These vineyards centered around Mardeuil in the heart of Champagne allow Beaumont des Crayères to produce Champagne entirely from their own fruit.

Growing all three Champagne varieties, Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir, Mardeuil has always been recognized for the quality of its Pinot Meunier. Hence, 60% of Beaumont des Crayères vineyards are planted in this archetypal variety. This Grande Rosé Brut

is 40% Pinot Meunier, 35% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay. Regulations require Champagne to be aged for 15 months for non-vintage wines, Beaumont des Crayères ages this wine 24-48 months.

Beaumont des Crayeres NV Grand Rose exhibits dark berries, rhubarb, dried rose, and toasty lees on the fragrant nose with offering intense black raspberry and blood orange flavors plus a hint of anise. A smoky nuance builds with air and carries through a long, penetrating finish. There’s good depth here, which will allow this Champagne to pair smoothly with rich, full-flavored food.”

Wine Details

Winery: Beaumont des Crayères

Wine Type: Sparkling

Country: France

Region: Champagne

$34.00

Louis Roederer NV Brut Champagne

The Louis Roederer House represents the seventh generation independent, family-owned company. The House of Louis Roederer’s annual exports currently totals three million bottles around the world.

A blend of around 40% Pinot noir, 40% Chardonnay, and 20% Pinot Meunier, Brut Premier comprises wine matured in oak produced from three Champagne grape varieties that originate from various crus selected by Louis Roederer. It is aged for 3 years in Louis Roederer’s cellars and left for a minimum of 6 months after disgorging.

This Champagne, Louis Roederer NV Brut Champagne shows a balance between freshness and maturity, crispness and richness that gives immediate pleasure. Lightly perfumed and floral, the wine is ready to drink. This vibrant version is finely knit and elegant, with floral, toast, and smoke aromas on the nose and flavors of crème de cassis and lemon curd riding the lacy mousse. It is polished, quietly complex with unending bubbles, and, if it stops short of showing the depth and dimension of the marquee bottlings of the famous French houses, it is by all measures an exceptional non-vintage Brut. Wine Spectator scored this  92 points.

Wine Details

Winery: The Louis Roederer House

Wine Type: Sparkling

Country: France

Region: Champagne

$50.00

Piper Heidsieck Brut NV Champagne

Piper Heidsieck Brut is a very famous and much admired Champagne. The presentation is stunning and the Champagne is first-rate. Wine Enthusiast Magazine scored it 92 points.

Toasty aromas are the first blush. It is soft but still very dry, with acidity tamed by both fine, mature fruit and a creamy texture that sits well in the mouth. This is a very fine, tasty wine.

Wine Spectator scored this 92 points saying “Lithe and vibrant, this graceful Champagne is driven by well-knit, acidity, carrying flavors of ripe black cherry, grated ginger, toast point and mineral on the satiny mousse.

Wine Details

Winery: Piper-Heidsieck Winery

Wine Type: Sparkling

Country: France

Region: Champagne

$50.00

2007 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne

Taittinger first released a tête de cuvée in 1952. This 2007 vintage wine is only made with juice from the first pressing and 5% of the wine is treated to new oak, to add nuanced toasty notes to the final blend.

Many wine connoisseurs consider the 2007 Comtes Blanc de Blancs to be the greatest value tête de cuvée on the market right now. This Champagne is considered to be the ultimate elegance. This is a graceful wine with aromas of tangerine, mango, pastry dough, and candied orange peel. Its texture is sensational.  It is layered with flavors of tropical fruits and baking pastries. It is a wine both remarkable in flavor and experience.

Winery: Taittinger Comtes de Champagne winery

Varietal: Chardonnay

Country: France

Region: Champagne

Price: $155

2006 Billecart-Salmon Cuvée Louis

Billecart-Salmon is a Champagne house with a rich tradition. It began in 1818 with the marriage of Nicolas Billecart and Elizabeth Salmon. For seven generations, the Billecart family has overseen the production of the winery’s award-winning Champagnes.

This wine is truly special. A Blanc de Blancs with both body and elegance, it begins with aromas of tropical fruits and baking spices. A weighty wine, it lingers on the palate with oily softness and ripe pineapple and passion fruit flavors rounded out by hints of anise.

This Champagne is the essence of structured, textured fruit but with the essential addition of age. Still hinting at the freshness and still textured, the wine is also rich with white-fruit flavors cut with limes.

Winery: Billecart-Salmon

Varietal: Chardonnay

Country: France

Region: Champagne

Price: $180

2006 Dom Ruinart

Dom Ruinart lays claim to being the very first Champagne house. The house released its first prestige cuvée in 1959 and since that time, their tête de cuvée has consistently made critics’ shortlists.

The 2006 Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs Brut is simply fabulous. The 2006 has plenty of textural resonance and richness. An elegant Blanc de Blancs, this is a pale wine with delicate floral aromas. It has a fine mousse and bubbles that cross the tongue as smoothly as silk. It offers a medley of citrus and stone fruit flavors with an underlying green note. Its acidity keeps it surprisingly fresh but the wine lingers pleasantly on the palate.

Winery: Dom Ruinart

Varietal: Chardonnay

Country: France

Region: Champagne

Price: $170

2005 Charles Heidsieck Vintage Brut

Charles Heidsieck was one of the most famous vintners of his time. A great salesman with a huge personality, he truly did things in his own fashion. His wines were definitely distinctly “Heidsieck,” and the winery has continued the style in his tradition.

Charles Heidsieck’s Prestige wine offers a more affordable experience than many of the great houses. The 2005 was a particularly good vintage for this house and this wine in particular. It is a rich, complex wine with mouthwatering apple and peach flavors. Notes of flint, spice, sourdough toast and lemon acidity add complexity. The wine delivers superb refinement in its complex bouquet of apple, pain grillé, pear, a touch of hazelnut, complex soil tones, and a gently smoky topnote. On the palate, the wine is deep, full-bodied, focused and complex, with outstanding depth at the core, bright acids, very elegant mousse, and a very long, vibrant and classic finish.

Winery:  Charles Heidsieck

Varietal: 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay

Country: France

Region: Champagne

Price: $110

After you have reviewed our repertoire of fine Champagnes please make a selection for your personal pleasure