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.

René Geoffroy Premier Cru Brut Rosé De Saignée Champagne
A.C., Champagne, France
The champagne is made from Pinot Noir grapes exclusively and it shows in the robust nature and cherry-raspberry nose. Lovely. Lots of depth and complexity at a terrific price for such classic champagne. Alcohol: 13%  Sweetness: Extra Dry  750 ml  Drink: 2012‐2016  Gorgeous Gift Wine  Price: $55.95 Score: 91/100

This Champagne was reviewed March 30, 2013 by Natalie MacLean

LCBO: 245878  Check Stock
 

Taittinger Brut Champagne 2004
A.C., Champagne, France
Toasty and crisp with a surprisingly full-bodied weight. Lovely notes of tasted almond and green apple goodness. Alcohol: 12.5%  Sweetness: Extra Dry  750 ml  Favourite Sparkling Wine  Price: $74.95 Score: 91/100

This Champagne was reviewed November 13, 2010 by Natalie MacLean

LCBO: 989905  Check Stock
 

Beaumont Des Crayères  Grand Prestige Brut Champagne
A.C., Champagne, France
Crisp and refreshing: this toasty champagne is value-priced and pleasurable. Try it with shellfish. Alcohol: 12%  Sweetness: Dry  750 ml  Drink: 2013‐2016  Scrumptious Seafood Wine  Top Rated Sparkling Wine  Price: $44.95 Score: 90/100

This wine was reviewed July 6, 2013 by Natalie MacLean

LCBO: 903443  Check Stock
 

Lacourte-Godbillon Brut Champagne Pinot Noir Chardonnay 2002
A.C., Champagne, France
Vintages Wine Panel: Lacourte-Godbillon has been making award-winning Champagnes for over four generations. Nevertheless, its wines are new to this market – and should not be missed. The blend in this vintage bubbly is 50/50 Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The nose suggests pear, yellow plum and buttered brioche. On the palate, these aromas replay beautifully. The mousse is fine and robust, giving the body very good support. A great champers for flavourful seafood dishes. My note: So creamy and toasty: love it! Green apple and almond, with lots of complexity. Great price. Pinot Noir Chardonnay food pairings: crab, lobster pan-fried scallops. Alcohol: 12%  Sweetness: Extra Dry  750 ml  Drink: 2011‐2015  Favourite Sparkling Wine  Price: $54.95 Score: 91/100

This Pinot Noir Chardonnay was reviewed April 16, 2011 by Natalie MacLean

LCBO: 211052  Check Stock
 

Bollinger Special Cuvée Brut Champagne
Ac, Champagne, France
Toasty notes of baked bread and green apples. A full-bodied bubbly. Alcohol: 12%  Sweetness: Extra Dry  750 ml  Favorite Bubbly  Price: $69.20 Score: 91/100

This Bollinger Special Cuvée Brut Champagne was reviewed December 8, 2007 by Natalie MacLean

LCBO: 384529  91 in stock
BC: 384529  366 in 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.