Fizz collection late 2021

champagne and fireworks by Myriam Zilles on Unsplash

There's everything here from the cheapest and quite cheerful fizz (in the Other group below) to the most sumptuous of current cuvées of champagne.

There is little to unite this massive collection of tasting notes except that they were all written by us about blends of (usually) twice-fermented grape juice and carbon dioxide. We've given UK prices and stockists as often as possible.

You can jump to each group of wines using the links below:

Within these groups the 158 wines are listed in descending score order but you can change this.

Champagne

Philipponnat, Cuvée 1522 Rosé Extra Brut Premier Cru 2008 Champagne

Full bottle 1,697 g. From vineyards including the historic plots at Le Léon in Aÿ, complemented by Chardonnay from Le Mesnil-sur-Oger and Oger. Red wines from Mareuil. 72% Pinot Noir and 28% Chardonnay. Dosage 4.5 g/l, eight years sur latte, disgorged March 2019. 5,212 bottles.
Long and racy. Bitter orange oils and raspberry-leaf tea, more than a little minty but with the cool-hit lift and bite of wasabi powder, fine-ground chalk and river pebbles, cumin powder, white pepper. Enormously complex but clenched as tight as a fist. White raspberries, grapefruit, redcurrants. Precision, finger-nail-pressed origami folds, so sharp the fruit has paper cuts. Exciting. Exacting. Tense yet creamy. Spice defines the finish and brings it to a close that feels like an unfinished poem. So you take another sip. (TC)

12%
Drink
2020
2028
£82.42 Justerini & Brooks
18

Taittinger, Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2011 Champagne

From grand cru vineyards in Avize, Chouilly, Cramant, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger and Oger. Aged for nine years in Taittinger's particularly deep cellars. Dosage 9 g/l.
Quite a deep greenish primrose yellow. Meaty, substantial, quite savoury evolution on the nose. Bone-dry finish but no shortage of rather captivating fruit before then. Very appetising with good steady bead and no aggressive froth. A very successful Comtes with a deep undertow. This may have been a challenging vintage but the Taittinger team seem to have risen well to the challenges.

Drink
2021
2029
£142 RRP
18

Bollinger, PN VZ16 Brut NV Champagne

Very pale pink. Wonderfully pure Pinot Noir character on the nose. Very fine bead indeed. Tight in texture yet playful in flavour. A worthy successor to the 2015.

Drink
2021
2026
17.5

Drappier, Grande Sendrée Brut 2010 Champagne

Really quite evolved on the nose. Very piercing and dense! Extremely intense. With a very fine bead. Extremely long. Almost more of a wine than a champagne.

Drink
2019
2030
17.5

Henriot, Millésime Brut 2012 Champagne

54% Chardonnay and 46% Pinot Noir. Six premiers and grands crus: Trépail, Mailly-Champagne, Verzenay, Avenay in Montagne de Reims, and Avize and Chouilly in the Côtes des Blancs. At least 8 years of ageing on lees. Dosage 6 g/l. Disgorged 2021. Henriot write in their tech sheet: 'Although 2012 started as one of the most worrying years, it ended up being ideal. Episodes of frost, hail and heavy rain occurred in the vineyard during the first months of the year. The weather eventually turned out to be favourable until harvest, with a series of heatwaves, which ultimately led to good development of the vegetation and the ripening of grapes.'
Very pale gold, plenty of lively mousse on pouring. Intense, rich and inviting toasty aroma, deep and yeasty with ripe lemon and clementine freshness of fruit. Terrific combination of intensity and freshness on the palate, the marked autolytic character giving an impression of sweetness even though it tastes dry. Toasty on the palate and there's still lovely citrus fruit at the core. Fine mousse, vibrant freshness through the deep and long flavours. (JH)

12%
Drink
2021
2030
17.5

Laurent-Perrier, Grand Siècle No 25 NV Champagne

The 25th iteration of Laurent-Perrier's de luxe cuvée, always a blend of different vintages in their quest to make the perfect champagne.
Deep gold with the tiniest bead. Very pungently aromatic and with a texture as smooth as silk. Utterly luxurious. Slides over the palate with an undertow of surprisingly ripe Chardonnay. I'd drink this with a sophisticated fish dish, perhaps with a rich sauce. I love the gentlest of explosions on the palate. Surely this has a lower-than-average pressure? Very long. But it is not recommended for those who like their champagne on the austere side. This is to be launched in late 2021 but it tastes as though it was already gorgeous in 2020.

Drink
2021
2027
17.5

Leclerc Briant, Réserve Brut NV Champagne

Certified organic. A distinctive champagne house. 40% of each Pinot and 20% Chardonnay. Based on the 2017 vintage. Disgorged in August 2021. Dosage 4.54 g/l. Vegan.
Very deep copper colour. A really glorious array of wild, floral aromas. Hugely distinctive and the opposite of formulaic with a tiny little bead. Mouth-filling. Tingly on the (dry) finish. So amazingly long with some lemon notes on the end! This is superior champagne that I would recommend to any serious champagne lover. So full of life! GV at the special-offer price of £40 'while stocks last'.

Drink
2021
2027
£40 Berry Bros & Rudd
17.5

Penet-Chardonnet, Les Fervins Extra Brut Grand Cru 2010 Champagne

Twenty-year-old vines – 70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay – from a 15% slope facing south-east in Verzy. Disgorged 20 October 2020.
Really rather broad and it approaches the nose as a cloud not a rapier. Hint of putty and lots of minerals. Very zesty but with good undertow of ripe fruit with the Pinot Noir obvious. Really quite fruity. Good stuff!

Drink
2021
2026
17.5

Paul Déthune , Les Crayères Ambonnay Blanc de Noirs Grand Cru 2015 Champagne

Full bottle 1,599 g. Certified HVE. 100% Pinot Noir. Picked and pressed 10 September 2015. Vinified in 205-litre oak barrels. Bottled April 2016, disgorged January 2021. 2,008 bottles produced.
Oak spicy. Sandalwood, roasted hazelnuts, green cobnuts and smoke segue from nose straight to palate. Has the Déthune signature minty freshness plus grapefruit and lime zest. This is gymnastic in its firecracker, explosive lithography and yet the oak is formidably, spectacularly structural. I'd wait another three years, at least, before opening this broad-shouldered, Corinthian wine. (TC)

12.5%
Drink
2023
2030
17 ++

Bruno Paillard, NPU Nec Plus Ultra Extra Brut 2008 Champagne

This wine, the top of the line for the Paillards, has been made only in 1990, 1995, 1996, 1999, 2002 (launched after the 'audacious' 2003), 2003 and 2004. Fermented in oak barrels where it remains for 10 months. Then blended and aged on lees for at least 10 years and then aged for a further two years. Disgorged in April 2019. Dosage 3 g/l.
Pale greenish copper colour. Such a dense, ambitious nose. Tightly laced but with massive complexity underneath. Putty notes on the nose and a really punchy attack. A hint of fresh almonds. An amazingly youthful wine still. No hurry to drink this! It dances on the palate.

Drink
2021
2030
£225 Millésima UK
17 ++

Bollinger, La Grande Année Brut 2012 Champagne

Quite wild on the nose – almost like biodynamic fruit character! Really mouth-filling with savour (oak-derived?) notes and even a hint of yeast. Very distinctive. Much denser than most champagnes and probably best with food but it’s certainly very successful in the Bollinger idiom. I must look up who was the chef de cave in 2012…

Drink
2021
2029
17 +

Henri Giraud, MV16 Brut Grand Cru NV Champagne

Richly oaky/appley nose. This producer really goes his own way! (Not least with the non-traditional agrafes on the corks…) Quite a deep straw colour. Depth and complexity of savoury flavour is followed by a bone-dry (but not austere) finish. This is a wine to be pored over – either at the table or even after a meal, though maybe the Henri Giraud Ratafia Champenois Solera 90-13 occupies that slot! It’s not that old but it has certainly picked up a great deal of flavour.

Drink
2021
2027
17 +

Canard Duchêne, Brut Nature 2012 Champagne

Pinot Noir-dominated blend. Disgorged April 2021.
Deep gold. Firm, convincing nose. There may be zero dosage but this is very far from austere. The finish is actually rich and my only criticism might be that the mid palate is just a little skinny, but I think this is the best wine I have ever encountered from this champagne house. Very fine bead. Just a little short.

Drink
2021
2025
17

Dom Caudron, Coeur du Cuvée Conjugaison d’Excellence Sublimité MPC Extra Brut 2015 Champagne

Full bottle 1,659 g. Picked September 2015. Tirage June 2016. Disgorged May 2021. Dosage 3 g/l. A blend of Meunier, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Apples, citrus and a crack of smoke. Smokier on the palate. Cobnuts and lime and a billow of mouth-filling froth. Very linear on the palate – forward focus and drive. But at the same time, it leaves a sense of broad, beautifully formed fruit on the mid palate. This has length and substance. (TC)

12%
Drink
2021
2025
17

Collet, Collection Privée Brut 2008 Champagne

A decidedly mature nose. Quite soft and interesting. A good blend of age on the nose and vibrant acidity on the palate that works. May not be too expensive for a 13-year-old wine? The merest hint of the sort of lactones you encounter in whisky. Interesting!

Drink
2020
2028
£74.95 The Whisky Exchange
17

Collet, Cuvée 21 Brut NV Champagne

Contains 21 different vintages from 1961 and younger.
Doesn’t seem to have much nose at all! It has just been shipped apparently… Very arresting on the palate with a great array of flavours – pings away from really quite old to really quite young. Probably best to let this settle awhile.

Drink
2022
2026
Imported into the UK by Hallgarten & Novum Wines
17

Paul Déthune , Millésime Extra Brut Grand Cru 2012 Champagne

Full bottle 1,608 g. Certified HVE. Ambonnay grand cru. 40% Pinot Noir, 60% Chardonnay. Vinified and aged in oak casks. Bottled April 2013, disgorged January 2021. 
Smells like lime pannacotta. Pears and cocoa butter and the soft-sweet chalkiness of last season's apple but also the bitter-tart crunch of crab apples. Mouth-filling mousse; angles and curves playing cloak and dagger tag with each other. Playful, yet serious. Lemon-juice soused chalk dust doing the rumba with apple pie and soapstone sculptures and honey-heavy brioche. Then one fresh mint leaf on your tongue, right at the end. Just one. (TC)

12.5%
Drink
2021
2026
17

Paul Déthune , Cuvée à l'Ancienne Extra Brut Grand Cru 2013 Champagne

Full bottle 1,597 g. Certified HVE. Ambonnay grand cru vineyards – Les Crayeres and Les Secs. 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Chardonnay. Vinified and aged in oak barrels. Bottled April 2014 and disgorged January 2021. 
Such a dulce de leche nose! Especially once the wine had been open for 24 hours. A cloud of citrus bitters and violet powder drawn over a floral arc. Soft toasted brioche and crushed toasted hazelnuts underneath. Firm baked-apple fruit. A little spike of fresh peppermint leaf. Complex with lots of angles disappearing into softness, like a sepia-gold-leaf sketch of a Rubik's cube with some of the lines smudged out. Food, especially salty aged cheese, brings out a gentle sweetness of fruit and charm. (TC)

12.5%
Drink
2021
2028
17

Pascal Doquet, Arpège Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut Premier Cru NV Champagne

Full bottle 1,592 g. Certified AB organic. The ‘Arpège’ in this Cuvée’s name refers to the fact it is made from fruit grown in three villages: Vertus, Mont Aimée and Villeneuve. Pascal Doquet established his own estate in 2004 after making wines for his parents’ label since 1982 and runs his domaine to strict organic principles using native fermentations and a variety of vessels from concrete to wood to stainless steel. 100% Chardonnay, spontaneous fermentation, minimal-intervention winemaking, bottling with the lightest of filtrations and no fining. After malolactic fermentation in tank, the wines remain sur lie for five months with approximately one-third of the production being aged in used oak barrels before secondary fermentation in bottle. 52% 2010, 48% 2011. Tirage September 2013, disgorged 12 December 2017. Dosage 3.5 g/l.
Remarkably floral on the nose. Even a tiny bit minty. But seriously savoury on the palate. A long, firm drive with beautifully chalky bone structure and taut smoke-and-toast layers between the ripe, sharply carved citrus fruit and hazelnut. Showing elegant, confident development. This really would be a great choice for a Christmas Day aperitif. GV (TC)

12.5%
Drink
2021
2025
£34.42 Justerini & Brooks
17

Gallimard Père et Fils, Cuvée Prestige Brut 2015 Champagne

Really quite a heady, fruity nose. Already quite evolved on both nose and palate with a very gentle mousse – a sort of caress of the palate. Really very nice indeed. So easy to love already! Though maybe not for the long term. Very long. GV

Drink
2020
2025
£34.95 The Whisky Exchange
17

Charles Heidsieck, Millésime Brut 2012 Champagne

Both intense and discreet. Extremely tightly woven. Not as dry as some but certainly not simple. Tastes more youthful than many 2012s. Subtle and not flamboyant. You feel you could drink this in quantity!

Drink
2020
2029
17

Laurent Lequart, Saignée de Meunier Extra Dry NV Champagne

Full bottle 1,623 g. 100% Meunier from Vallée de la Marne (Passy-Grigny). Base 2018. Disgorged January 2021. Dosage 15 g/l.
Deep pink, almost cranberry red! Hibiscus and cherry juice with wonderful cinnamon and vanilla-pod spices. A touch of marshmallow, rhubarb candy, juniper berry and raspberry sorbet. Full of fruit and charming playfulness and yet complex. The bubbles are just right – not too loose, not too spiky. Delicious with cold, rare, smoked lamb and even more delicious when that lamb is smeared with Belazu's Turkish ezme paste! (No, Belazu are not sponsoring me!) This wine is a foodie dreamboat. The kind of wine that you could drink the whole of Christmas Day and it would work with everything; or the wine you could safely take to a picnic, a buffet or a potluck, and it would sail through all manner of fusion – and confusion – dishes. (TC)

12%
Drink
2021
2027
17

Pierre Paillard, Les Parcelles XVI Bouzy Extra Brut Grand Cru NV Champagne

Full bottle 1,603 g. 70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay from 22 individually vinified parcels of owned vineyards entirely in Bouzy, where only organic composts and treatments are used. Spontaneous fermentation, natural malo. Base wine from 2016 with 30% reserve wines. Disgorged May 2021. Dosage 1 g/l.
Walnuts, cobnuts, lean racy citrus fruit and seriously austere acidity. Long and ultra-lean. Cold-stone bones. Packed with lemon zest and so taut into the finish it feels as if it might snap in the mouth. Purity in extremis, for purists. Makes me crave oysters! GV (TC)

12.5%
Drink
2021
2025
£35.82 Justerini & Brooks
17

Penet-Chardonnet, Les Champs St-Martin Extra Brut Grand Cru 2012 Champagne

100% 33-year-old Pinot Noir from Verzenay. First fermentation in oak. No malo. Disgorged 20 October 2020 with dosage 5.2 g/l.
Quite headily scented. Really quite rich. Assuming the dosage as printed on the label (disgorgement date and vintage were scribbled) is correct and as low as in all the other Penet-Chardonnet wines, then that richness is presumably from the ripeness of the fruit and the maturation effect. Pretty impressive.

Drink
2021
2026
17

Philipponnat, Royale Réserve Rosé Brut NV Champagne

Full bottle 1,635 g. 72% Pinot Noir, 26% Chardonnay, 2% Meunier, mostly from premier and grand cru vineyards in Aÿ, Mareuil and Avenay. 35% reserve wines with 7–8% coming from red wine from the upper sections of the Clos des Goisses vineyard. Disgorged April 2021. Dosage 9 g/l.
Rich nose – strawberries and cream, Eton mess. And all this in the mouth, filling the mouth, inside a framework of steel-ground stone dust. Rose petals and strawberry-juice-dipped nectarines. Almost dapper, the pink pressed starched-cotton pertness of the fruit – but it's seriously stylish too, underneath the coquettish squirl. (TC)

12%
Drink
2021
2026
£43.42 Justerini & Brooks
17

Pol Roger, Réserve Brut NV Champagne

Dosage 10 g/l. Aged 36 months on lees.
Cooked apple, biscuit, savoury and long. Delicious salted-bread aftertaste. The absolute prototype of champagne, and I appreciate the generous dosage. (RH)

12%
Drink
2021
2025
17

Louis Roederer, Collection 242 NV Champagne

A completely new approach to NV Champagne. The blend is dominated by wine from the most recent vintage, supplemented with Roederer's 'réserve perpetuelle', a blend of older harvests topped up each year.
Serious winey wine that is deep-flavoured, dry and has real personality. A beginning, middle and end. A wine that demands attention. Quite persistent. QGV

12%
Drink
2021
2027
£49.99 Majestic Wine (£44.99 Mix Six price)
17

Louis Roederer, Blanc de Blancs Brut 2014 Champagne

There’s a lot here on the nose – real intrigue and layers. This is wine! Do I detect a little oak influence? And there is certainly refreshment but intellectual stimulation too. A very complete package, with a little more obvious acidity than the regular 2014 Brut.

Drink
2021
2029
17

Louis Roederer, Rosé Brut 2015 Champagne

Pale (but not very pale) strawberry pink. Quite an opulent nose. This is going the super-fruity route! Good perhaps to have it very distinct from the Brut rather than just a Brut with a bit of colour? But it does finish dry and I could well imagine enjoying this with salmon and tuna and – hey – maybe chicken and white fish??! Very clean finish. Very slight bitterness on the end which I’m sure is intentional.

Drink
2021
2025
17

Telmont, Vinothéque Brut 2012 Champagne

There’s an undertow here and many different elements which are by now well knit. Quite a rich start but a dry finish. Correct and conscientiously made for the long haul.

Drink
2021
2030
Imported into the UK by Rémy Cointreau
17

Gosset, Grand Millésime Brut 2012 Champagne

Served from a magnum by an importer who says, ‘I don’t know why everyone doesn’t’.
Intense, dense nose with some putty notes. Bone dry and still very youthful and tense but impressive. Slightly hard work at this stage – perhaps because of the magnum? – but you have to admire it.

Drink
2022
2030
16.5 ++

Jacquesson, Cuvée 744 Extra Brut NV Champagne

There’s a real green vegetal energy about the nose of this. And I don’t mean it’s unripe! Very distinctive indeed with a briskness and pace that is rare in champagne. Though it’s not a comfortable pair of slippers to slip on but a dry wine that demands attention.

Drink
2021
2029
16.5 ++

Penet-Chardonnet, Les Blanches Voies Extra Brut Grand Cru 2012 Champagne

100% Chardonnay from 28-year-old Verzy vines, fermented in small oak. No malo. Picked 21 September. Disgorged 20 October 2020. Dosage 5.2 g/l.
Still quite tight and tense on the nose – tastes absolutely bone dry but there is an undertow of rather refined, sleek fruit waiting to unfurl. Admirably long. Very much an aperitif style.

Drink
2022
2026
16.5 +

Ayala, La Perle Brut 2012 Champagne

Rather a luscious nose. Lots of froth but very pretty balance. Really very satisfying and just the job now. Quite refined and long.

Drink
2020
2024
16.5

Cattier, Millésime Brut Premier Cru 2012 Champagne

Brut Millésime is produced only in exceptional years. 45% Pinot Meunier, 35% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir, seven years on lees.
Lots of age on the nose. Lightly toasted brioche flavours? With what tastes like a fairly high dosage. But delicate texture.

12.5%
Drink
2020
2026
£59.99 Majestic Wine (£49.99 Mix Six price)
16.5

Coopérative Régionale des Vins de Champagne, Delacourt Blanc de Blancs Brut 2012 Champagne

100% Chardonnay from Trépail, Villers-Marmery, Bassuet and Montgueux – smart addresses for Chardonnay grapes. Eight years on lees in the cellars of the Reims co-op. 9 g/l dosage.
Bright pale copper colour. Deep-flavoured, presumably thanks to the quality of the 2012 vintage. Real tension and stimulation before a tight-knit, dry finish. Very much a blanc de blancs aperitif style – not heavy, and not that persistent – but, for a 2012 vintage champagne, VGV.

Drink
2021
2023
£28 Marks & Spencer
16.5

Dom Caudron, Le Meunier Conjugué en Rosé Fascinante Brut 2016 Champagne

Full bottle 1,576 g. Picked September 2016. Tirage April 2017. Disgorged March 2020. Dosage 9 g/l. There is some Chardonnay blended in with the Meunier.
Deep terracotta-toned pink. Bags of juicy fruit tucked into this – blood oranges, strawberries, apricots. Lively acidity and lively bubbles. Exuberant! (TC)

12%
Drink
2020
2023
16.5

Drappier, Blanc de Blancs Brut NV Champagne

A pioneer of hands-off winemaking, and the first carbon-neutral champagne house. Made from Chardonnay and a dash of rarely used Pinot Blanc. With 5% of the wine aged in barrel, and lees ageing of 36 months.
Real energy here on the nose. A bit mouth-filling in texture but excellent interest and delicacy on the palate. Serious wine – an ideal aperitif? No hurry to drink this. GV

12%
Drink
2021
2026
£39.99 Majestic Wine (£34.99 Mix Six price)
16.5

Drappier, Millésime Exception Brut 2015 Champagne

Quite a creamy nose and rewarding fruit on the palate. Mouth-filling with something akin to candied violets. Well made and assertive without being aggressive.

Drink
2020
2027
Imported into the UK by Berkmann Wine Cellars
16.5

Duménil, Réserve 21 Premier Cru NV Champagne

Equal parts of Chardonnay from Chigny-les-Roses, Pinot Noir from Rilly-la-Montagne and Pinot Meunier from Ludes. This Chigny-les-Roses producer has a réserve perpetuelle that includes no fewer than 21 vintages. Their Réserve is a special selection made every year since 1996 so presumably this is their 21st. Vegan.
Deep greenish straw colour. Impressively persistent bead. Restrained and beautifully fine and composed. Great balance and a really lovely wine that's drinking well now, even if it's not particularly persistent. My chief criticism is the really rather cheap-looking label. If you want to impress your guests, swathe the bottle in a white napkin.

Drink
2020
2023
£35 Davy's Wine Merchants
16.5

Valentin Leflaive, Le Mesnil Sur Oger Blanc de Blancs 15 50 Extra Brut Grand Cru NV Champagne

Son of Olivier Leflaive. The first number denotes the base vintage and the second the dosage in 0.1 g/l.
Neat, well-composed nose. Pretty aggressive mousse and rapier-like, super-refreshing acidity but not austere. This would make a fine, well-balanced but revitalising aperitif. Clean as a whistle and super-brisk. But not an enormous amount of depth.

Drink
2021
2024
Imported into the UK by Bancroft Wines
16.5

Laurent Lequart, Blanc de Blancs Brut NV Champagne

Full bottle 1,604 g. 100% Chardonnay. Dosage 9 g/l. 36 months sur latte.
Cream and apples, cinnamon and nutmeg spices, shortbread underlay. Gentle broad sweep through the mouth leaving a tiny trace of bitterness, the kind you get when chewing on rocket flowers and lemon pith. The finish, though, is back to cream. (TC)

12%
Drink
2021
2027
16.5

Laurent Lequart, À Passy-Grigny Réserve Brut NV Champagne

Full bottle 1,605 g. 100% Meunier. Dosage 10 g/l. 30 months sur latte.
Smells of orange blossom and peaches. Firm and yet fruity and fleshy. A bowl of summer peaches and gold-to-pink apples with a touch of jasmine on the finish. A little bit different and rather lovely. Perfect early summer-evening champagne with melon and prosciutto. (TC)

12%
Drink
2021
2026
16.5

Laurent Lequart, À Passy-Grigny Réserve Demi-Sec NV Champagne

Full bottle 1,605 g. 100% Meunier. Dosage 36 g/l. 30 months sur latte.
Quince fragrance, ripe guavas, jasmine. Despite the high dosage, it's not a sweet wine in the dessert sense. More like rustic home-baked apple pie, made with sharp Bramleys, skin-on, and spiced rustic shortcrust rather than flaky white pastry. You could have this with a bowl of papaya and raspberries, or a late-harvest apple (sitting in the grass on an autumn afternoon), or with a slice of creamy nutty cheese. But it would be equally good with a wintery salad of roast pumpkin, honeyed gremolata and Turkish yogurt. (TC)

12%
Drink
2021
2024
16.5

Penet-Chardonnet, La Croix l'Aumonier 2012 Champagne

100% 36-year-old Pinot Noir vines on a gentle slope at 110 m in Verzy. Disgorged 20 October 2020 with dosage of 5.6 g/l. No malo. Not yet released at the time of tasting
Still quite aggressively fizzy but very obviously with an oak element. Still very youthful, with rich Pinot perfume doing battle with the low dosage. Work in progress but with interesting, self-confident elements.

Drink
2022
2027
16.5

Telmont, Blanc de Blancs Brut 2012 Champagne

Quite a light nose. Very vibrant and lively but not as concentrated as many other 2012s, which may be a deliberate choice… Transparent and nicely balanced if you seek the impact of a feather rather than a hammer.

Drink
2020
2026
Imported into the UK by Rémy Cointreau
16.5

Deutz, Brut 2014 Champagne

Smells very much more youthful than the Taittinger 2014. Not to say restrained. Very dry and bracing, and still pretty young. I’d ideally keep it for a while before broaching. Marked acidity but lots of fruit.

Drink
2022
2026
16 ++

Cattier, Clos du Moulin Brut Premier Cru NV Champagne

50% Pinot Noir and 50% Chardonnay, originating exclusively from a 2.2-ha plot which belonged to King Louis XV, located in the heart of the Reims mountain. Matte black and gold packaging.
Light bead and a hint of ginger beer. Dry finish. But it does seem expensive for what it offers.

12.5%
Drink
2021
2025
£99.99 Majestic Wine (£84.99 Mix Six price)
16 +

Taittinger, Brut 2014 Champagne

Impressive autolysis on the nose. A lot of lemony froth and then a clean, flattering, crisp, well put together palate. I’d guess the dosage is very slightly higher than average nowadays (yes, it’s 9 g/l apparently) but the balance is good. A sort of mini Comtes?

Drink
2020
2025
16 +

Vincent d'Astrée, Millésime Brut Premier Cru 2011 Champagne

Full bottle 1,608 g. 100% Chardonnay, five years' ageing in bottle on lees.
Biscuity, creamy lemon nose. Florals and citrus-pith bitters, racy, some richness hinted at but on the whole this is a very lean expression of vintage champagne. Early-bud lime leaf dipped in lemon juice and icing sugar. Crystal-sharp edges. Delivers, but not distinctively superior. Good with strong cheese. (TC)

12%
Drink
2021
2028
16

Ayala, Le Blanc de Blancs Brut 2014 Champagne

The Bollinger family-owned Champagne Ayala produces 'Le Blanc de Blancs' in limited quantities only in the best vintages. Winemaker Caroline Latrive, who has experience in a wide variety of the leading champagne houses, picks Chardonnay grapes only from grand cru vineyards to craft it.
Rather reductively smoky on the nose. Big and bold – atypical Blanc de Blancs. A meaty mouthful. Bone-dry finish – so much so it's almost painful.

12%
Drink
2021
2025
£61.99 Majestic Wine (£54.99 Mix Six price)
16

Billecart-Salmon, Cuvée Nicolas François Billecart Brut 2007 Champagne

Tightly woven nose. This doesn’t taste especially old, and is very dry on the end. This bottle is not showing its luxurious nature at the moment. Just a little suppressed. I wonder whether it has light TCA? There’s no obvious fault other than a tight dryness. Score applies to this bottle only.

Drink
2022
2027
16

Alexandre Bonnet, Blanc de Noirs Brut NV Champagne

100% Pinot Noir grown mainly around Les Riceys in the Aube. Full malo and then aged for around two years on the lees and has four months' ageing after disgorgement. TA 4.6 g/l, pH 3.12, RS 8 g/l. Available in 320 shops.
Quite a deep straw colour. Smells quite rich and the texture is a little astringent on the finish. This is country champagne as opposed to a refined urban blend but taken on its own terms it's very honest and satisfying – as well as VGV, especially at the special-offer price.

Drink
2021
2023
£23.99 Waitrose (reduced to £17.99 in December 2021)
16

Cattier, Blanc de Blancs Brut Premier Cru NV Champagne

Champagne Cattier is a new and exclusive Majestic partnership. The Cattier family began planting vines in the picturesque village of Chigny-les-Roses in 1625. 1918 saw them release their first champagne. The Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru is made from their nine favourite terroirs of the Montagne de Reims (mainly from Chigny-les-Roses, Rilly-la-Montagne and Ludes). Aged for three years on lees. Clear flask bottle.
Tiny steady little bead. Rather aggressively frothy texture. Good balance and easy, transparent fruit but not a standout for the price.

12.5%
Drink
2021
2024
£49.99 Majestic Wine (£39.99 Mix Six price)
16

Cattier, Brut Premier Cru NV Champagne

60% Pinot Meunier, 20% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir. 30% of the blend is comprised of reserve wines. Brut Premier Cru spends four years on lees in the deepest cellars in Champagne, which also happen to be the birthplace of world-famous Armand de Brignac.
Not sure the Armand de Brignac connection is very linear. But there is some interest here. Fruity and flirtatious.

12.5%
Drink
2021
2023
£39.99 Majestic Wine (£29.99 Mix Six price)
16

Dom Caudron, Le Meunier Conjugué au Vieilles Vignes Épicurienne Brut 2013 Champagne

Full bottle 1,589 g. Picked September 2013. Tirage June 2014. Disgorged March 2019. Dosage 8 g/l. 100% Meunier from vines over 50 years old.
Roasted toasty nuttiness and the earthy-sweet-savoury smell of roasted potato skins. Lots of sweetness, though, on the palate. Honeyed lemon and sharp but honeyed peaches. There is a lot going on here. Not the most refined, but very expressive and ample. Earthy. A good food champagne – bring on the roast chicken or pork. (TC)

12%
Drink
2020
2024
16

Dom Caudron, Le Meunier Conjugué au Chardonnay Sublimité 50/50 Brut 2010 Champagne

Full bottle 1,641 g. Picked September 2010. Tirage June 2011. Disgorged May 2020. Dosage 6 g/l. The Chardonnay is oak-aged.
Grilled hazelnuts, bergamot, lemon-cream aromas. Big, spicy, broad sweep of Chardonnay fruit underpinned by toastiness. Lovely ripeness here. Emphatic. Dramatic. Fine-knit texture and sharp but lacy mousse. Long, bold, pithy acidity that builds into the finish. (TC)

12%
Drink
2020
2025
16

Deutz, Blanc de Blancs Brut 2013 Champagne

The chap pouring is pretty certain this is all grand cru but it’s not on the label because ‘they don’t like to show off’.
Attractively evolved nose. And mouth-filling mousse with no great weight on the palate. Takes the Blanc de Blancs style almost to the limit! Neat rather than mind-blowing. Quite restrained.

Drink
2021
2025
16

Gosset, Grand Blanc de Blancs Brut NV Champagne

A blend from 15 different vintages of the Côte des Blancs and Côte des Noirs. No oak and at least three years on lees. Clear glass is traditional so the bottles are sold in boxes to protect against lightstrike.
Greenish deep straw colour. Quite a rich nose. And much more formulaic than the Leclerc Briant Réserve Brut based on 2017 tasted immediately before this. Tight, tense, emphatic and correct even if not exactly distinctive and inspiring.

Drink
2021
2024
£55–£65 RRP Petersham Cellars, Davy's Wine Merchants, Huntsworth Wine Company, The Whisky Exchange, Harvey Nichols and many more independents
16

Labbé et Fils, Brut NV Champagne

Labbé et Fils is a small, family-owned domain. It's run by brothers, Damien and Jérôme, and the wine is made from 65% Pinot Noir, 20% Pinot Meunier and 15% Chardonnay. 80% of the wine is aged in stainless-steel tanks for nine months and the other 20% in oak barrels for the same period of time. The blend is aged on the lees for a minimum of 15 months in the bottle.
Light and clean on the nose. Quite a gentle palate – certainly no excess of acidity! Is this a new feature of less-expensive champagne? That the tart, greenness of old has given way now that summers are warmer? QGV in the current pricing climate.

12%
Drink
2021
2023
£33.99 Majestic Wine (£27.99 Mix Six price)
16

Laurent Lequart, L'Héritière à Passy-Grigny Extra Brut NV Champagne

Full bottle 1,607 g. 40% Meunier, 40% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay. Dosage 6 g/l. 30 months sur latte.
Smells buttery, in a cold, white, creamy, mild goat's butter kind of way. Cellar-cold butter with lemon zest. White pebbles, lemon verbena, elderflower blossom. A cool champagne that brings images of milky winter sunlight spilling a path between muslin curtains across a white marble floor. Very gentle mousse and the finish presses ever so lightly on the tongue. (TC)

12%
Drink
2021
2026
16

Laurent Lequart, Blanc de Noirs Brut Nature NV Champagne

Full bottle 1,608 g. 100% Pinot Noir from Vallée de la Marne (Passy-Grigny). Based on 2016 plus vins réserves from 2014 and 2015. Zero dosage. Disgorged November 2018.
Biscuity, a little smoky but in a 'green' way – new-green spring-time lime leaves tossed on a campfire. It has a rather addictive kefir-like sourness combined with lemons-in-brine salty citrus, and a quinine-like metallic tang on the finish. Strong and bold: a statement, underlined. Almost a little too aggressive, but a good salty cheddar took the edges off it. (TC)

12%
Drink
2021
2027
16

Vincent d'Astrée, Brut Premier Cru NV Champagne

Full bottle 1,601 g. 80% Meunier, 20% Chardonnay 
Lovely satsuma notes on the nose and into the mouth. More ripeness than the other two Vincent d'Astrée champagnes tasted alongside. Mouth-filling mousse. Hint of guava. Sturdy. (TC)

12%
Drink
2021
2024
15.5

Ayala, Blanc de Blancs 2014 Champagne

Firm, no excess of fruit on the nose. Really quite meaty and impactful on the palate but a tad short of finesse. Is this from harder-pressed fruit? Serviceable, I’d say.

Drink
2020
2023
15.5

Ayala, Majeur Brut NV Champagne

Previously only available in top restaurants, the Brut Majeur Extra Age has benefited from an additional 12 months' ageing in the Ayala cellars, providing depth and savoury complexity.
You can certainly smell the age on this. But the overall impression is of a rather sweet champagne on the palate. A little frothy. Not bad and I certainly wouldn’t turn it down but it's not thrilling.

12%
Drink
2021
2024
£44.99 Majestic Wine (£39.99 Mix Six price)
15.5

Dom Caudron, Le Meunier au Singulier Prédiction Demi-Sec 2018 Champagne

Full bottle 1,591 g. 100% Pinot Meunier. Picked September 2018. Tirage February 2019. Disgorged October 2021. Dosage 33 g/l.
Ripe-apple scented. Apple pie and sherbety acidity with soft frothy texture. There are more complex demi-sec champagnes to be found, but could be useful with leftover mince pies on Boxing Day! (TC)

12%
Drink
2022
2024
15.5

Dom Caudron, Le Meunier Conjugué au Fût de Chêne Cornalyne Brut 2013 Champagne

Full bottle 1,640 g. Picked September 2013. Tirage June 2014. Disgorged March 2019. Dosage 6 g/l. 100% Pinot Meunier – blanc de noirs.
Rich honeysuckle and clotted-cream nose. Very, very toasty on the palate with marked bitterness. Smoked white grapefruit. Firm fruit but there is a hole in the middle. Acidity and fruit are quite hard, and although the bubbles are fine, the wine overall feels a bit coarse. (TC)

12%
Drink
2019
2023
15.5

Cattier, Rosé Brut Premier Cru NV Champagne

Blend of 40% Pinot Meunier, 40% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay. Red wines then form 14% of the blend.
Pale strawberry colour. Very light nose. Extremely marked by strawberry fruit and a bit of astringency. Not that much fun really at the moment.

12.5%
Drink
2022
2024
£49.99 Majestic Wine (£34.99 Mix Six price)
15 +

Castelnau, Réserve Brut NV Champagne

40% Chardonnay, 40% Meunier, 20% Pinot Noir. Around five years sur lattes, 30% reserve wines. Dosage 8 g/l.
You can smell the years on the secondary lees. That nose is all shortbread and cold toast. Fairly straightforward champagne, relevant boxes ticked. A bit shrill. Although if asked, blind, what the price point was I'd put it at an £18 supermarket champagne. I certainly would not pay (anywhere near) £32 for it! (TC)

12.5%
Drink
2021
2023
£32 The Wine Society, $35 RRP
15

Dom Caudron, Le Meunier au Singulier Prédiction Brut 2017 Champagne

Full bottle 1,570 g. 100% Pinot Meunier. Picked September 2017. Tirage February 2018. Disgorged September 2021. Dosage 9 g/l.
Smells of stollen and lemon icing. Even though the dosage is higher than their Le Meunier Conjugué au Vieilles Vignes Épicurienne Brut, it tastes sharper and drier. Floral and dusty. Grapefruit pith and white grapefruit and a bitter spine. Then candied sweetness on the edges. It tastes as if this hasn’t quite come together. (TC)

12%
Drink
2022
2024
15

Dehours, Vieilles Vignes Extra Brut 2011 Champagne

Lots of information on the back label.
Some light autolysis on the nose. Pretty aggressive froth and rather green, underripe fruit. Not that rewarding a drink. Rather hard work!

Drink
2022
2024
15

Veuve Monsigny, No III Brut NV Champagne

The neck label tells us that the wine was 'elaboré' by Philizot.
Very pale straw colour. The mousse is not exactly persistent. Light, simple but not unpleasant nose. Mouth-filling froth and quite a bit of sweetness. But it has been cunningly added to exactly counterbalance the acidity and to distract from the phenolic chewiness on the finish. It hasn't got too much recognisably to do with champagne and really is a bit uncomfortably sweet. I feel a little headache coming on. But it's a wonderfully low price!

Drink
2021
2022
£13.49 Aldi
15
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