Best champagne 2020: the ultimate fizz selection - with some top-rated prosecco to boot
Featuring the finest vineyards offering up top-rated sparkling wine
Whether you’re hunting down a bottle for that birthday celebration or simply limbering up in advance for the festive period, it’s pretty much a given that you can never have too many bubbles in the cellar (or, more likely, the wine rack). It’s for this exact reason that ShortList have compiled our pick of the best champagne and sparkling wines around.
We’ve covered the spectrum; from high-end champagne brands renowned for their quality to deliciously affordable Prosecco. This selection really does cater to every budget.
From champagne masterclasses to showcases from the finest French châteaus, we’ve trawled the globe, with only the finest offerings around making the cut. I know, I know, it sounds like awfully thirsty work, doesn’t it? But this selection of tried and tested names have risen to the challenge and delighted our taste buds in all the right ways. Yes, we really have done the hard work so you don’t have to.
UPDATE: Champagne and wine fans alike may be intrigued to hear that a brand new wine-infused documentary is set to hit Amazon Prime. Entitled Vintage, the feature-length doc is set to hit the streaming service on 27 February. Focusing on the New Zealand wine making industry, the project explores the challenges facing the industry, the people behind the bottles and a dive into the world of Villa Maria - one of the nation's best-selling New Zealand wines. It's time to pour yourself a glass, kick back and enjoy the show.
Whilst on our travels we also discovered there’s an SOS champagne delivery service called The Finest Bubble (I know, we’ve already put them on speed dial). They guarantee 2-hour same-day delivery within London, which means you needn’t find yourself slumped on the pavement due to a lack of fizz ever again.
So, without further ado, take a look at the best champagnes on offer below and remember to upvote your favourite (and suggest any offerings you think ought to make the cut)
- You might also fancy discovering the best whiskey around while you're at it.
- If you are going to have wine after bubbles, these are the best corkscrews we have found.
1. Lanson Black Label Non Vintage
A name renowned for combining price and quality, Lanson’s Black Label Non Vintage Blend incorporates floral notes with delicious hints of toast. With its rich straw colour and a citrus edge, this is a champagne that is ideal as an aperitif. With its rich honey notes, you’ll also be pleased to hear that it’s suitable for both vegetarians and vegans. Everyone’s a winner!
2. Dom Perignon Champagne Vintage 2008
Dom Perignon is a name you're sure to recognise. A house that only offers vintage champagne during exceptional years (as opposed to a turnover of yearly releases), each vintage has its own unique, distinctive flavour that represents the year it was created. Dom Perignon store their champagne upside down to 'rest' in the bottle for a minimum of seven years before riddling and disgorgement. The yeast is then removed and the champagne is stored for another six months. With its smokey taste and hints of pineapple and guava, this is a champagne that's as light and fresh as any offering out there.
3. Louis Roederer Brut Premier
A steadfast champagne favourite, Louis Roederer Brut Premier is a culmination of wine from eight different harvests, made using all three varieties of Champagne grape from more than forty different plots. Now that takes some leg work. The reserve wines are matured in oak casks for between two and ten years before being added to Brut Premier varieties - and trust us, the taste is definitely worth the wait. With smooth hints of fresh fruit and hawthorn, the champagne also has hints of apple and pear, alongside blackberries, raspberries and cherries. It’s a fresh and elegant addition with deliciously fine bubbles.
4. Bollinger Special Cuvee
The Bollinger story began when Athanase de Villermont inherited land in the Aÿ area of Champagne but, as an aristocrat, was not allowed to produce it himself. This led to Joseph Bollinger entering the picture, creating the prized bottles we know and love today. With 60% of Bollinger’s vineyards being dedicated to Pinot Noir, it’s no real surprise that the grape features heavily in this distinctive blend. Featuring a fine mousse - that delicate continuous bubble makes yet another appearance - the Special Cuvee has a rich apple taste, hints of peach and a touch of brioche ad walnut to finish. Delightful.
5. Laurent-Perrier La Cuvee
Founded by André Michel Pierlot in 1812, Laurent-Perrier has gone on to become one of the world’s best known champagne brands. Its Laurent-Perrier La Cuvee is formed by blending Brut champagne with a majority Chardonnay - the rarest grape in Champagne - which gives every bottle a fresh and elegant finish. This champagne is known for its golden colour and persistent mousse - a fancy way of saying a continuous stream of fine bubbles - and contains delicate hints of peach and citrus.
6. La Gioiosa Prosecco DOC Treviso
A fine prosecco offering from the North of Italy (Crocetta del Montello to be precise), La Gioiosa Prosecco DOC Treviso is a tasty, affordable option. Featuring hints of ripe pears and apple blossom, each mouthful provides a clean, crisp finish. Elegant, fruity and dry. What more could you ask for?
7. Freixenet Prosecco DOC
We’re sure you’ve spotted Freixenet in your local supermarket, but the brand’s Italian range takes things up a notch courtesy of their cut-glass inspired bottles that allow the prosecco’s golden hay colour to shine through. A great option for those popping to a friend’s house for a quick tipple, Freixenet Prosecco DOC is clean and fresh on the palate and contains hints of ripe lemon, green apple and grapefruit. This is definitely a light and fresh offering that comes in at a bargain price.
8. Tempus Two Blanc de Blancs
Made from 100% Chardonnay grapes sourced from premium sparkling vineyards in the Limestone Coast, Australia this Blanc de Blancs is a bit of a taste sensation. Dry in style, you'll be able to taste hints of peach, passionfruit and green apple with a balanced citrus finished. It's delightfully bubbly - as you'd expect - and well worth every penny in our book.
9. Nyetimber Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Wine 2013
Known as one of the finest sparkling wines the world has to offer, Nyetimber is grown and pressed here in our very own British back garden (West Sussex to be precise). It can’t officially be called Champagne, as only grapes produced in the Champagne region of France can hold the name, however, the soil they’re grown in is remarkably similar. Oh, and did we mention it was voted better than its French counterparts during a 2016 blind tasting event in Paris. Ooh la la! Pale and golden in colour, Nyetimber has a light citrus aroma with floral hints. It also has a delicious flavour reminiscent of toast and vanilla - what’s not to love?
10. Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage 2012
When it comes to champagne, Möet & Chandon is an instantly recognisable name. In particular, the Möet & Chandon Grand Vintage variety is founded on three basic principles: Freedom of interpretation, selection of the year's most remarkable wines and individuality of the vintage. What does that translate to? In simple terms, one great 2012 offering, featuring hints of deliciously sweet pastry that leads to a zesty acidity with hints of pink grapefruit.
11. Taittinger Brut Reserve Non Vintage
The perfect pairing with canapes or simply drunk as an aperitif, Taittinger Brut Réserve’s light finish exemplifies Taittinger house style, complete with its golden appearance. A dry offering containing small, fine bubbles, the bottle is packed with citrus notes, deeper hints of peach and undertones of brioche that round things off. With an affordable price point (Tesco currently has 20% off - meaning you can snap up a bottle for £28), this is a must-have bottle for any celebratory occasion - or even as a Friday night ‘I survived the week’ treat.
12. Piper-Heidsieck Vintage 2008
This champagne is a little different, in that unlike many others, it doesn’t have a predefined recipe. Intriguing, huh? Each blend is unique, with Piper-Heidsieck composer Régis Camus noting that "This freedom reflects the exceptional". With its golden colouring and hints of citrus and plum that appear after the initially delicate taste has departed, this is a champagne that is definitely worth savouring.
13. Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label
Featuring the distinctive dominance of Pinot Noir grapes, the finish of this champagne makes it instantly identifiable as Veuve Clicquot. The bottle, with its vibrant yellow label (and equally golden contents), has become a bold offering in its own right. Containing a variety of grapes, this champagne mixes varieties in the proportions: 50 to 55% Pinot Noir, 28 to 33% Chardonnay and 15 to 20% Pinot Meunier. Known for its fine beads of bubbles, this non-vintage is balanced by delicate Chardonnay grapes and has hints of ripe fruits and brioche for good measure (who doesn’t love sweet carbs in a champagne?!).