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The chalky soils of Champagne combined with its frigid growing environment create wines that are electric and salivating. But it’s the creation of bubbles that makes these wines stand out.

The bubbles are formed during a secondary fermentation in bottle, known as Méthode Traditionelle. The longer they age, the more nougat and brioche flavours develop and the finer the bead (bubble) becomes.

In terms of who invented Champagne, the English make a strong case as they worked out the formula for purposely making the fizz happen and their stronger coal-fired glass bottles - resulting from the Industrial Revolution - could hold the pressure. Whereas the French were still bottling in wood-fired glass which wasn’t strong enough and they hadn’t cracked the technique of creating bubbles on purpose.

Grapes
White: Chardonnay
Red: Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier

Styles
Nowhere in the world can emulate the fineness and electric detail of these wines. Non-vintage Champagnes should be enjoyed earlier in their lives, while vintage wines have more structure and can age beautifully. House styles differ too. Blanc des Blancs (100% Chardonnay) offer a more elegant and fragile expression while Blanc des Noirs (100% Pinot and or Meunier) are darker fruited with more obvious structure and power.

Favourite Producers
Pierre Peters, Louis Roederer, Vilmart, Andre Clouet, Taittinger, Larmandier, Egly-Ouriet, Jacques Selosse

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  1. Andre Clouet Grande Reserve NV 375ml
    Andre Clouet Grande Reserve NV 375ml

    ANDRE CLOUET (9/10) 

    Bouzy and Ambonnay are the epicentre of pinot noir in Champagne, and the Clouet family is the priviledged custodian of eight hectares of estate vines in the best middle slopes of both villages.  These are rich and concentrated expressions of pinot noir, wines of deep complexity, multi faceted interest and engaging character, yet with remarkable restraint and sense of control.  Recent tastings confirm my impression that this small and relatively unknown grower ranks high among Champagne's finest practitioners of pinot noir - and expresses one of the best value of all.

    100% Bouzy and Ambonnay pinot noir.  6g/L dosage
    Release after release, year after year, I have always marvelled at the lemon blossom freshness that Clouet manages to capture in pinot noir from two of Champagne's most powerful terroirs.  Here it is again, in a captivating interplay of fleshy mirabelle plums, white peaches, crunchy golden delicious apples, and even a hint of pepper.  Wild honey and mixed spice join the maelstrom along the way, gliding obediently into a well defined finish of soft minerality and integrated dosage. 
    TYSON STELZER, The Champagne Guide 2014-2015

    (100% Pinot Noir)The NV Brut Grande Reserve offers up layers of mineral-infused red fruits on a silky, mid-weight frame, with gorgeous length and a refined, subtle mousse. This impeccable, elegant wine shows terrific overall balance as well as complexity. I loved it. Andre Clouet is based in Bouzy, a village where Pinot Noir speaks with great eloquence, as is evident in these superb, pedigreed Champagnes.
    ANTONIO GALLONI, Robert Parker

    NV
    Champagne
    France
    376
  2. Pol Roger 375ml
    Pol Roger 375ml

    Stepping into Pol Roger's production facility in Epernay is like entering a different world.  'We call this the kitchen, ' introduced Laurent d'Harcourt, recently promoted Managing Director of the company.  This was not like any kitchen I'd ever seen.  Immaculately polished stainless steel tanks perfectly reflected shiny white tiles and snow-white surfaces.  It was if we were entering a brain surgery until or a NASA assembly room, and I had an uneasy feeling that I might be asked to don a body suit, lest I contaminate this precision machine with a single molecule of foreign material.  I have been buying Pol Roger for decades, but it was not until that moment that everything about this celestial estate suddenly snapped into perfect focus.  The champagnes that emerge from this extraterrestrial building are as desperately precise, intricately delicate and flawlessly pristine as its polished interior, revealing the manifesto that defines all that lies within.

    A blend of three champagne varieties in roughly equal proportions; 20% reserve wines; 150 parcels from 30 crus; 36-48 months on lees in bottle; 9-10 g/L dosage; bottle code indicates packaging date, with the first digit of denoting the year, and next three digits the day of that year.

    Pol Roger's infamous 'White Foil' is an attractive and refreshing aperitif style, as clean, crisp and well constructed as ever.  A sneak preview of the pristine 2008 base on the eve of its release is elegantly refreshing, harmonising lemon, white peach and nectarine purity of fruit and restraint.  Hints of apple and nougat glide over an elegant structure of soft, mineral presence.  The 2007 base has taken on a nutty, creamy persona, accented by subtle spice, showing a little more richness as it approaches the end of its run, yet retaining all of its fresh citrus energy.  While disgorgement dates are not marked on bottles, the packaging date on the carton is about three months after disgorgement.
    TYSON STELZER, The Champagne Guide 2014-2015

    NV
    Champagne
    France
    376
    $59.00
  3. Veuve Fourny Blanc de Blanc 1er Cru NV
    Veuve Fourny Blanc de Blanc 1er Cru NV
    60% 2008, 40% 2007 and 2008; majority from ‘Le Mont-Ferré in Vertus; aged one year in barrels and 2.5 years in bottle; 6g/L dosage; DIAM closure.
    Veuve Fourny encapsulates its philosophy of purity and precision right from the very first cuvée of the estate, the most challenging feat of all for any champagne house. Crunchy granny smith apples, refined white peach and taut lemon fruit cascade into a very long finish of salty minerality and ultra-fine bead. Beautifully crafted, pure and beach-fresh. TYSON STELZER, The Champagne Guide
    Plenty of forest berry pips and granny smith apple fruit in this: deep and complex-smelling but also full of sea-spray vitality. Lipsmacking, complex and pippy fruited in the mouth, with corella pear crispness and a long dry finish. Mouth-sucking and moreish to close. 9/10 - how much I like it. TIM WHITE, Australian Financial Review
    (mostly chardonnay, with a bit of pinot noir):  Light, bright gold.  Nervy, precise scents of lively citrus zest, green apple and honeysuckle.  Vibrant and deep, with very good clarity to its mineral-accented lemon, orange and orchard fruit flavors.  Picks up a deeper fig quality and closes on a sappy, vaguely saline note.  The vivacity of this Champagne would make it a great companion to sushi or simple shellfish dishes. JOSH RAYNOLDS, Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, 2011
    NV
    Champagne
    France
    376
  4. Veuve Fourny Grand Reserve 1er Cru Brut NV
    Veuve Fourny Grand Reserve 1er Cru Brut NV
    NV Brut Premier Cru Grande Reserve is gorgeous. It shows remarkable depth and balance for a NV bottling. The wine blossoms beautifully on the mid-palate, with expressive pears, apples, flowers and depth, all of which come together in a finessed, totally irresistible style. The Grande Reserve is 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir reserve in cask. This is Lot # L18053. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2015.
    ANTONIO GALLONI, Wine Advocate, 2011
    NV
    Champagne
    France
    376
  5. Pierre Gimmonet NV Brut 1er Cuvee Cuis Blanc de Blancs NV
    Pierre Gimmonet NV Brut 1er Cuvee Cuis Blanc de Blancs NV

    The NV Brut 1er Cru Cuis (Magnum) is striking, largely because this release is based on 2009, which softens some of the edges of Cuis and results in a wine of notable texture and volume. With time in the glass, the 1er Cru really shines. The flavors are bright and citrus-inflected, with plenty of mineral undercurrents, in the classic Gimonnet style, yet the 2009 base adds just enough intensity to balance things out. At times, the Gimonnet Champagnes can be a bit austere, but the 1er Cru really shines. ANTONIO GALLONI

    NV
    Champagne
    France
    376
  6. Ayala Brut Majeur NV
    Ayala Brut Majeur NV
    The NV Brut Majeur shows lovely balance in an approachable, up-front style well-suited to near-term drinking. Clean, mineral notes add a sense of proportion on the fresh, vibrant finish. The blend is 45% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Meunier, 80% of which is from the 2004 vintage, while the rest of the wine is composed of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay reserve wines.
    ANTONIO GALLONI, Wine Advocate, 2010
    NV
    Champagne
    France
    376
  7. Taittinger Brut Reserve NV
    Taittinger Brut Reserve NV
    Taittinger Brut Réserve is a blend of Chardonnay (40%), Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier (60%) wines from over 35 different vineyards and vintages matured to perfection. This high proportion of Chardonnay, unique among fine nonvintage champagnes, and a minimum ageing of three years in the cellars, where it reaches the peak of aromatic maturity, makes Taittinger Brut Réserve a delicately balanced champagne, known for its consistently excellent quality all over the world. Taittinger considers it an honour to produce a Brut champagne every year without exception. TAITTINGER
    Champagne
    France
    376
  8. Andre Clouet Silver Brut Nature NV
    Andre Clouet Silver Brut Nature NV



    Andre Clouet Silver NV. A beautiful example of a zero dosage Champagne. With 100% Pinot noir this wine has great structure and richness. Fresh cut strawberries, stone fruits and hints of brioche present on the nose.
    On the palate a racey and and fresh acidity is complimented by red berry fruits, pink lady apple and peach with fine creamy bubbles. Brioche and a nutty aftertaste persist long after the wine has left your mouth. A brut natural worth sharing. BILLY PWS

    Jean-Francois Clouet's zero-dosage ideal is realised with magnificent clarity here.  Such is the concentration and richness of his pinot noir that it has absolutely no need for any sweetness.  The bouquet is delightfully fresh, lifted, pure and expressive, with lemon zest, yellow mirabelle plums and red apple fruits.  The palate follows impeccably, showcasing the concentration of Bouzy with exceptional purity and focus.  Its barrel work blends impeccably contributing nuances of nougat, brioche and honey.  Succulent yellow summer fruits pull seamlessly into a crunchy finish of red apple and lemon zest, concluding long and refined, with refreshingly taut acidity and soft, chalky minerality.  Classic Bouzy of the finest order.  TYSON STELZER, The Champagne Guide 2014-2015

    NV
    Champagne
    France
    376
  9. Andre Clouet Brut Rose NV
    Andre Clouet Brut Rose NV

    100% Bouzy and Ambonnay pinot noir; 2012 base vintage
    Jean-Francois 'Clouet No 3' was inspired by Coco Chanel, the number introduced for the first time this year to denote the style, recognising that the colour is different each year, and with the number 3 representing a light,  elegant aperitif style.  Elegance and freshness are his goals for rose, avoiding what he describes as the 'full, rustic and heavy" styles of the past.

    Clouet's rose epitomises elegance and focus, while flamboyantly celebrating the generous red cherry, strawberry, watermelon and pink pepper fruit of Bouzy.  It encapsulates that wonderful talent of pinot noir to build and rise on the finish, all the while retaining graceful precision as delicate as rose petal perfume.  Structure is fine and elegant, driven both by chalk minerality of the village and a very finely executed tannin presence.  It finishes with great length and poise of exquisite red cherry fruit.  A pristine and enticingly priced rose. Older disgorgements have taken on savoury suggestions of tamarillo, while upholding their primary integrity.  TYSON STELZER

     

    NV
    Champagne
    France
    376
  10. Bonnaire Prestige Blanc de Blanc NV
    Bonnaire Prestige Blanc de Blanc NV
    100% Chardonnay made from two of the very best parcels in Cramant from the oldest vines of the estate from the lieu-dits of “Le Bateau” and “Les Terres de Buisson”. Based on 2012 vintage for this release and aged for 5 years on lees and bottled in January 2018 with 6 gms/litre dosage. This is the essence of Cramant showing finesse and minerality with real depth and persistence. Very fine colour and mousse with chalky minerality and citrus notes and great length and palate presence. A stunning blanc de blancs with impeccable balance even at this early stage.
    NV
    Champagne
    France
    376
  11. Louis Roederer Brut Premier NV
    Louis Roederer Brut Premier NV

    I've long adored Brut Premier, a masterful presentation of impeccably ripe fruit of intricate balance and abundant appeal: a dependable bargain in the non-vintage champagne stakes. It's on the rise in this new, dedicated facility. Until the 2009 base, Brut Premier reserves came from a solera, in Lacaillon's view, lacking focus and 'showing too much character of having been made in the cellar'. The solera is now no more, bringing greater focus, more precise mineral articulation and greater emphasis on ripe fruit. dosage was sensibly dropped from 10-11g/l to 9.5g/l. The result in 2010 is a wonderful accord between pretty lemon blossom, apple and pear fruit, the spicy, tasty, nutmeg allure of barrel fermentation and bottle age, and the racy freshness of malic acidity. It's at once impeccably fresh and enticingly complex, with a long finish of soft chalk minerality. The 2009 is even more precise in its floral lift, red cherry definition and mineral detail. TYSON STELZER

    NV
    Champagne
    France
    376
  12. Pol Roger Brut Reserve NV
    Pol Roger Brut Reserve NV
    Pol Roger's infamous 'White Foil' is an attractive and refreshing aperitif style, as clean, crisp and well constructed as ever.  A sneak preview of the pristine 2008 base on the eve of its release is elegantly refreshing, harmonising lemon, white peach and nectarine purity of fruit and restraint.  Hints of apple and nougat glide over an elegant structure of soft, mineral presence.  The 2007 base has taken on a nutty, creamy persona, accented by subtle spice, showing a little more richness as it approaches the end of its run, yet retaining all of its fresh citrus energy.  While disgorgement dates are not marked on bottles, the packaging date on the carton is about three months after disgorgement.
    TYSON STELZER, The Champagne Guide 2014-2015

    Full-flavored yet crisp and delicate. Nicely doughy on the nose with distinctive mature toasty and nutty flavors. Harmonious brut with lovely balance and a great lingering finish.
    WINE SPECTATOR
    NV
    Champagne
    France
    376
  13. Louis Roederer Collection 242
    Louis Roederer Collection 242
    Iteration 242 is based on the 2017 vintage (56%), supplemented by 34% reserve wines from the perpetual reserve established in 2012 and 10% foudre-aged reserve wines.
    This debut release is very impressive indeed, wafting from the glass with notes of pear, peach, ripe citrus fruit, toasted almonds, fresh pastry and white flowers. Medium to full-bodied, pillowy and textural, it's concentrated and layered, with lively acids, an enlivening pinpoint mousse and a long, sapid finish. Brut Premier was already a very persuasive wine, but the new Brut Collection nevertheless represents a step up. WILLIAM KELLEY, Robert Parker 2021
    NV
    Champagne
    France
    376
  14. Pierre Peters Extra Brut NV
    Pierre Peters Extra Brut NV
    Extra-Brut Blanc de Blancs is another fine example of the vintage. Creamy and open-knit, with soft contours, offers plenty of near to medium-term appeal. The lemon confit, almond and dried flower notes are finely knit. The Blanc de Blancs is the first release of the same wine that will be sold as L’Esprit with higher dosage next year for the US and other countries. ANTONIO GALLONI
    NV
    Champagne
    France
    376
    Special Price $90.00 Regular Price $115.00
  15. Chartogne-Taillet Cuvee Saint-Anne NV
    Chartogne-Taillet Cuvee Saint-Anne NV
    The NV Brut Sainte Anne is a gorgeous wine, as it so often is. Pliant and inviting, with superb textural richness, the Sainte Anne shows Alexandre Chartogne's style off to great effect. Dried pear, chamomile, mint mad dried flowers are some of the many notes that run through this super-expressive Champagne. This release is a 50/50 blend of 2015 and reserve wines, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, also in equal measure. Disgorged: December 2017. ANTONIO GALLONI, Vinous Media
    NV
    Champagne
    France
    376
  16. Vilmart Grand Reserve NV
    Vilmart Grand Reserve NV
    Disgorged in June 2019, Vilmart's latest NV Brut Premier Cru Grande Réserve is showing beautifully, bursting with aromas of pear, wheat toast, yeast extract and confit citrus. Medium to full-bodied, seamless and complete, it's fleshy and enveloping, with a fleshy core of fruit, tangy acids and a pillowy mousse. While it's already showing well it will also age with grace. Derived from the 2017 vintage and complemented by reserve wines from 2015 and 2016, it was disgorged with nine grams per liter dosage. WILLIAM KELLEY, The Wine Advocate


    NV
    Champagne
    France
    376
    Special Price $95.00 Regular Price $110.00 As low as $85.00
  17. Moet & Chandon Brut Rose NV
    Moet & Chandon Brut Rose NV

    (roughly 45% Pinot Noir, 35% Pinot Meunier and 20% Chardonnay, with 9 g/l dosage; LAH9V): Dark, vivid pink. Ripe red berries, rose oil and tangerine on the nose, plus a subtle note of toasty lees. Bitter cherry and berry skin flavors give way to softer raspberry in the middle, with a tangy blood orange nuance adding cut and lift. Packs a punch but shows very good clarity and delineation, finishing round, smooth and quite long. JOSH REYNOLDS, 2015

    NV
    Champagne
    France
    376
  18. Laherte Freres Ultradition Brut NV
    Laherte Freres Ultradition Brut NV

    Cleverly named Ultradition, 'because our work in the vines and the winery now is not traditional' Aurelian explains. 'We are trying to do something different'. This is certainly a characterful expression of an entry cuvee, with plenty of complexity of apple, fig, lemon butter and the mixed spice, anise and ginger of barrel maturation. Sone dry extract on the finish is heightened by toasty barrels and low dosage, conspiring to create dry, textural grip, typical of this cuvee. Malic acidity keeps things tense and tight. TYSON STELZER

    60% Meunier; 30% Chardonnay; 10% Pinot –is exuberantly dominated by juicy and vivacious lime, peach, grapefruit, and Persian as well as honeydew melons, their succulent fruit mingled on a polished palate with nut oils and shitake, as well as suffused with a saliva-drawing sweet-saline, iodine-rich savor of crab and lobster shell reduction that makes for a compelling finish. Yes, this is certainly a capital “U” umami-rich wine! I’m astounded to realize – given its sense of energy and vivacity – that it is based on vintage 2009. Whatever be “ultradition,” it’s an approach I can only heartily commend to other growers! (Of course, you might not be able to make anything like this if you lack that “secret ingredient,” good Meunier; and scrolling down to my review of Lahertes’ “Les 7” might raise suspicions of a connection between their greatest successes – as I perceive them –and the prominence of unjustly neglected cepages!) DAVID SCHILDKNECT, erobertparker

    NV
    Champagne
    France
    376
  19. Jean-Marc Seleque Solessence Extra Brut NV
    Jean-Marc Seleque Solessence Extra Brut NV
    The NV Extra Brut Solessence 7 Villages is bright, focused and full of energy, not to mention a terrific introduction to these Champagnes and Jean-Marc Sélèque's style. The low dosage of 3 grams per liter gives the Solessence real energy and briskness throughout. Bright Chardonnay top notes meld together with the textural richness of the Pinots in a wonderfully complete, expressive Champagne. Hints of dried flowers, sage, mint, red plum and citrus peel add the closing shades of nuance. Disgorged: January, 2019. ANTONIO GALLONI, Vinous 2019

    NV
    Champagne
    France
    376
  20. Pierre Peters Cuvee de Reserve Brut NV
    Pierre Peters Cuvee de Reserve Brut NV

    Rodolphe Péters took over the reins of this venerable estate in the southern Côte des Blancs in 2008, becoming the fourth generation to lead since the estate was founded in 1919. Today, the estate is over 18 hectares of vineyards, with a majority of the vineyards in the grand cru of Les Mesnil-sur-Oger.

    Rodolphe's wines have cult status around the world and his skills as chef de cave have few equals. The subtle, sleek and elegant wines are marked by their fine acidity and prominent minerality, yet never come off as austere or thin, they are vibrant, alive, and perfectly balanced. PWS

    A precise, crystalline wine, the NV Brut Cuvée de Réserve is the perfect wine with which to explore the Péters Champagnes. Lemon peel white, flowers and slate are super-expressive throughout in a Champagne that impresses with its finely-sculpted personality and energy. The Cuvée de Réserve is quite powerful, but never heavy. Slightly tropical overtones add the final shades of nuance. The Cuvée de Réserve draws on fruit sources outside Mesnil. It remains one of the best values in artisan Champagne. ANTONIO GALLONI

    NV
    Champagne
    France
    376
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