Top 5 Champagnes this Christmas Season

written by Alexandra Casey

Without getting too ridiculous and listing out the special bottles we all save for special occasions such as Christmas and New Year. I do have a few Krug’s, Egly’s and Cristal’s put away for such occasions, but for this purpose I have listed a few of my favourite bottles that I’ll be getting into over this holiday season that are everyday sippers. Champagnes of incredible quality and value are high in my books and these are some of my favourites.

Veuve Cliquot ‘Extra Old Extra Brut’

This very new creation by Veuve Cliquot is a blend of the 1988, 1996, 2008, 2009, and 2010, which are recorded as being incredible years in Champagne. Combining these stunning vintages, they have created a wine that embodies all the best qualities that made those vintages great; undeniable freshness, generosity, length, structure and depth. ‘The Extra old Extra Brut’ is rich, powerful and complex with ripe stone fruits and delicate yeast.

Notes: Aged for a minimum of 3 years and only has a dosage of 3G/L



Veuve Fourny & Fils ‘Vertus Cuvee R Extra Brut’

This NV is something quite special. The two Fourny brothers Emmanuel and Charles-Henry took over the house in 1993 making them the 5th generation to produce Champagnes from this house since its beginning 1856. The ‘R’ in the name stands for ‘Roger’ – honouring their Father. It is one of the few wines they create that have a touch of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, as the house itself is Chardonnay dominant. This Champagne is bold and clearly shows the undeniable Fourny style; dry, incredible length and stunning freshness. The presence of black grapes and oak, give the wine more depth and maturity while still maintaining its freshness. Whereas the apple, pear, and ripe stone fruits give this Champagne a rich creamy finish.

Notes: 90% Chardonnay, 5% Pinot noir, 5% Pinot Meunier – 3.4 grams per litre, minimum 4 years on lees.



Andre Clouet Rose No. 3 NV

I adore Andre Clouet. I have never had one of Jean- Francos’s wines that I did not like. His vivacious character translates into his wines and his passion and his descriptions are always imaginative. This particular cuvee No. 3 is inspired by Coco Channel’s perfume No. 5, the number being introduced to indicate the colour and intensity of the Champagne on a scale from 1-10, as year to year the colour may vary. No. 3 represents a light elegant style and beautiful fragrance. Undeniable fruit flavours of pinot noir with light toasted accents.

Notes: 100% Pinot Noir from Bouzy and Ambonnay, 2012 base vintage



Laurent Perrier Ultra Brut NV

When Laurent Perrier launched ‘Grand Vins Sans Sucre’ in 1981, they paved the way for a new category of Champagnes. The Ultra Brut today changed its original label to an electric blue, almost mirroring the taste, feel and effect of the Champagne inside. This aromatic style of Champagne has great minerality and has incredible length. Beautiful refined palate of white peach, florals and green apple acidity.

Notes: As is a Brut Nature, this Champagne has 0 dosage, the blend is 55% Chardonnay, 45% Pinot Noir, a blend of 15 Crus, and is aged for a minimum of 6 years.



Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve

The house describes this wine to be the panicle of its style. What I find interesting is it’s described and created through an equation, 60/40/10. 60, is the number of crus gone into the blend, 40 are the percent of reserve wine used, and 10 is the average age of the reserve wines. This is a classic and exceptional example of a Brut Reserve with a little higher dosage than most, but it is undeniably Charles Heidsieck. The Champagne has beautiful bold flavors with incredible length, juicy yellow peach, grapefruit, bold acidity to lengthen the brioche and spices to finish.

Notes: The Base wine is one third each of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay; Aged 10 years in tanks; full malolactic fermentation with 7 years on lees; 11g/L dosage.

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