Absolute corkers: The best Champagnes to keep on board
by Jonathan Ray
There are plenty of fine wines best enjoyed on board but, for certain celebrations only Champagne will do. Whether you like a classic fizz or favour one of the best rosé Champagnes, Jonathan Ray rounds up the top tipples to fill your Champagne bucket with this season.
Veuve Clicquot Rosé Brut NV
Sometimes only pink fizz will cut it and Veuve Clicquot’s, with its familiar anchor logo, is as good as it gets. It’s the first blended rosé Champagne, created in 1818 by Widow Clicquot herself, and full of raspberry, strawberry and ripe cherry fruit.
Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve NV
Charles Heidsieck (the original Champagne Charlie) was recently somewhat in the doldrums but its latest releases have stunned critics. Today, it’s one of the best non-vintage champagnes that money can buy, full of toast, brioche, caramel, butterscotch and white peaches.
Armand de Brignac Blanc de Noirs
Famously owned by rapper Jay Z, Armand de Brignac (aka Ace of Spades) is beloved by the glitterati. Critics lap it up too, and this 100 per cent Pinot Noir was recently voted the finest in the world, full of luscious ripe red berry fruit and a touch of spice.
2006 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs
According to James Bond in Casino Royale, Taittinger’s Blanc de Blancs “is probably the finest champagne in the world”. The 2006 incarnation is full of ripe citrus notes, honeysuckle and toasted brioche.
Ayala Brut Nature NV
Sister house of mighty Bollinger, Ayala is the pouring brand in many of London’s finest restaurants and its Brut Nature – fresh, zesty, slightly savoury and with no added sugar to speak of – is famously food-friendly.
2006 Pol Roger Brut Vintage
Everyone knows that Pol Roger was Winston Churchill’s favourite champagne and it never fails to impress. The 2006 Brut Vintage might possibly be its best ever: elegant, stylish, precise; it’s what fine vintage champagne is all about.
£300 for six bottles, bbr.com
Krug Grande Cuvée 163ème Édition Brut
This opulent beauty is the 163rd Grande Cuvée release since Krug’s foundation in 1843. A remarkable example of the winemaker’s art, it’s a blend of nearly 200 wines from a dozen vintages and is elegance personified.
Delamotte Brut NV
One of the oldest champagne producers (est 1760), Delamotte is sister house to the celebrated Salon and its Brut NV is hugely admired by those in the know. Its impeccable provenance is matched by its soft, creamy, honeyed fruit.