Best Champagne Wine

The sparkling wine Champagne is named after the northern region of France where it’s produced. Other regions of France, as well as other countries, make sparkling wine, but only those from Champagne may be called Champagne.

Supposedly the eighteenth-century blind Benedictine monk, Dom Pérignon, accidentally discovered how to put the bubbles in Champagne when his wines started fermenting again in the spring after the cold winter had stopped them. Other records attribute this discovery to the British scientist Christopher Merret thirty years before Pérignon.

Pérignon is credited widely with improving the techniques of blending wines from different years as well as the three principle grapes used: the white grape Chardonnay and two red grapes, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.

My reviews of these best value Champagne wines are updated weekly. These Champagne wines offer great taste at a good price. You can also get my top rated Champagne wines with scores of 90 or higher points. You'll find a definition of Champagne at the bottom of this page as well as food pairings for Champagne in my wine matcher. This is just a sampling of my reviews, but you can get all of them when you join my wine community.

Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Vintage Rosé Champagne 2004
A.C., Champagne, France
Supremely satisfying and lovely... just like Mom. Hint. Gorgeous notes of field strawberry and some subtle smoke on a long, refreshing finish. Mouth-watering and crisp with some orange citrus lift on the mid-palate. Some kind of wonderful. Alcohol: 12%  Sweetness: Dry  750 ml  Drink: 2013‐2018  Gorgeous Gift Wine  Top Rated Sparkling Wine  Price: $97.95 Score: 96/100

This Champagne was reviewed April 27, 2013 by Natalie MacLean

LCBO: 588475  259 in stock
SAQ: 325688  Check Stock
 

Nicolas Feuillatte Rose Brut Champagne
Champagne, France
Love it! Fresh Field strawberries and a toasty goodness. Rose bubbly is sooooo much more fun than regular. Alcohol: 12%  Sweetness: Extra Dry  750 ml  Drink: 2012‐2015  Price: $55.15 Score: 92/100

This wine was reviewed November 20, 2012 by Natalie MacLean

LCBO: 267039  Check Stock
 

Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage Brut Champagne Rosé 2002
A.C., Champagne, France
Terrific refreshment with a twist of strawberry field freshness. Complex and satisfyingly expensive. Alcohol: 12%  Sweetness: Extra Dry  750 ml  Drink: 2012‐2016  Top Rated Sparkling Wine  Price: $87.95 Score: 93/100

This Champagne Rosé was reviewed November 10, 2012 by Natalie MacLean

LCBO: 69831  72 in stock
SAQ: 461160  Check Stock
 

Champagne Brut  Non-Vintage
A.C. Champagne, France
Vintages Wine Panel: Blanc de Blancs simply means that it is made exclusively with Chardonnay. My note: Lovely notes of lemon and green apples. Sweetness: Extra Dry  750 ml  Price: $46.95 Score: 90/100

This Champagne Brut Non-Vintage was reviewed June 7, 2008 by Natalie MacLean

LCBO: 658500  Check Stock
 

Krug Grande Cuvée Brut Champagne
Champagne, France
There is simply nothing like Krug. I guess that’s why there are fanatics called Krugistes. This bubbly has it all: toasty and refreshing yet deeply flavoured. Celebrate anything with this, including just owning a bottle of it. Alcohol: 12%  Sweetness: Extra Dry  750 ml  Favourite Sparkling Wine  Price: $269.95 Score: 96/100

This Champagne was reviewed November 27, 2010 by Natalie MacLean

LCBO: 38562  123 in stock
SAQ: 727453  Check Stock
 


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Champagne

The process today still involves a first fermentation to make the still, acidic wine. Then, before bottling, a small amount of wine, sugar and yeast is added (“liqueur de triage”) to trigger a second fermentation in the bottle, where the carbon dioxide bubbles are trapped. The bottle is gradually tilted upside down (riddling), by hand or machine, and eventually the dead yeast cells gather in the neck and are disgorged so that the wine is clear. Before the final cork seal is affixed, the wine is topped up with a small amount of wine and sugar (liqueur d'expédition). The amount of sugar determines whether the bubbly will be Brut (very dry), Sec (off-dry) or Demi-Sec (medium-sweet).

Rosé bubbly is made either by blending red and white wine or by limiting the skin contact of the red grapes during maceration, when the grapes soak in their own juice before fermentation.

Blanc de blancs Champagne is made only from Chardonnay while blanc de noirs is only from Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.

The grapes for vintage Champagne that show a year on the label, were harvested from one year only, while non-vintage Champagne are grapes and wines blended from many years. While Vintage Champagnes age well, non-vintage bubblies are meant to be consumed within a year or two of purchase while they still have their fruit freshness. Many producers outside of the Champagne region use this process and grapes to make their bubbly and often put méthode traditionnelle on their label.

The words Champagne and méthode champenoise may not legally be used by producers except those from Champagne itself.

Bubblies made in Burgundy, France, are called Crémants de Bourgogne while those from Alsace are Crémant d'Alsace. Spain makes Cavas (“cave”), Italy makes either Prosecco (lightly sparkling) or Spumante (fully sparkling and sweet), Germany makes Sekt or Deutscher and those from New World regions, such as Canada, California, Australia and elsewhere, are simply called sparkling wine.

Some bubblies outside of Champagne are made from a cheaper and quicker carbonation process, during which bubbles are injected into the tanks of fermenting wines. This method doesn’t create wines with the same refinement and nuance as the Champagne method. The bubbles tend to go flat quickly.

Drink bubbly from a flute glass that preserves its bubbles and concentrates its aromas. (Forget those old coupe glasses molded to the shape of Marie Antoinette’s breasts.)

Signature bubbly aromas include toast, yeast, fresh-baked bread, green apple, lemon, lime and orange zest.

Sparkling wine is one of the most versatile wines with food because of its zesty fruit aromas, mouth-watering acidity and palate-cleaning bubbles.

Pair dry styles with spring rolls, almonds, canapés, brioche bread, cheeses, poultry, sashimi, Thai coconut shrimp, pasta with cheese-based sauce, caviar, shellfish, seafood risotto, snack foods, onion rings, egg dishes, avocado salad, guacamole, pâté, pasta, charcuterie, veal, salads and vegetarian casseroles.

Sweet bubbly (doux or spumante) goes well with curries, fruit flans, cobblers, biscotti, nuts, soft cheeses, Christmas pudding, lemon soufflé, mille feuilles, pavlova and tiramisu.