“I drink Champagne when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it — unless I’m thirsty.”
Sparkling wines have had a massive surge in popularity over the past few years. While Prosecco, Cava and Champagne have been enjoyed since the 1500s, recently Britons seem to have rediscovered their penchant for bubbles. Here at Drinkly, we love Prosecco. However, right now, we are championing making the everyday special. Who says Champagne has to be reserved for your mum’s 60th birthday, your parents’ silver wedding anniversary or your brother’s graduation? While Champagne is always a welcome accompaniment to these kind of celebrations, that shouldn’t mean it has no place on a regular Saturday night. Surely, the simple fact that you can have a cold bottle of Champagne delivered to your door within an hour of ordering is cause for celebration alone?
Champagne tastes like exclusivity, there’s no denying that. It gets its name from the Champagne region in northeast France, where the grapes for the wine must be sourced in order to be christened with the prestigious title. There is more to the process of making Champagne than simply knowing where to grow your grapes, however. The wine requires a secondary fermentation to create those signature bubbles and there are pressing regimes and practices specific to each different vineyard. It’s no surprise that the big names in the Champagne industry are a tad secretive when it comes to the ins and outs of making their liquid gold.
So, here’s our list of five, top-quality champagnes:
Taittinger remains a family brand even a century after its inception. It’s currently run by Pierre Emmanuel, Clovis and Vitalie Taittinger who are dedicated to maintaining the excellence that their family name has embodied since 1932. The Taittinger Brut Réserve Champagne is composed of 40% Chardonnay and 60% Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes sourced from over thirty-five different vineyards. This golden Champagne has notes of fresh fruit and honey complemented by the delicate, sophisticated fizzing of the subtle, signature bubbles. It really is the ultimate drink to get you feeling fancy. There’s no doubt that this luxuriousness amplifies a celebration, but Champagne brings the party whether there’s one already happening or not. Why shouldn’t you be a bit decadent every once in a while?
Moët et Chandon
Moët et Chandon is the world’s premier Champagne brand. Established in 1743 by Claude Moët, the brand currently produces around 28,000,000 bottles of Champagne a year. Moët Imperial, which gets its name from notable appreciator Napoleon Bonaparte, is the brand’s most iconic Champagne. With 30-40% Pinot Nero, 30-40% Pinot Meunier and 20-30% Chardonnay, this Champagne offers the flavours of pear, peach and green apple coupled with the tang of citrus. The elegant, fine bubbles dance across the tongue, spreading their fiery starlight. With brand ambassadors like Roger Federer, Moët et Chandon oozes class and sophistication; this one really is ace.
Established in 1812, Laurent Perrier was originally founded by André Michel Pierlot, who bequeathed it to his cellar master Eugene Laurent upon his death. Laurent ran the company alongside his wife Mathilde Emilie Perrier, who took control when her husband died, added her name to the company and lead it to great success. It’s a true feminist story, with Mathilde Perrier passing the company down to her daughter, Eugenie, and then Eugenie subsequently selling the company to Mary-Louise Lanson de Nonacourt in 1939. What better reason to pop open a bottle of Champagne than feminism? The Laurent Perrier Cuvée Rosé, created in 1968, is made of 100% Pinot Noir grapes and offers the crisp taste of fresh, red fruits: raspberries, red currants, strawberries and black cherries. With its inviting, exciting salmon-pink hue, this Champagne is a vibrant alternative to the classic golden favourite. It’s pink, it’s delicious, what’s stopping you?
Founded in 1829, Bollinger has a place in the hearts of many Britons, not least because of Jennifer Saunders’ and Joanna Lumley’s iconic characters’ fondness for the brand in the much-loved television series Absolutely Fabulous. Following the success of Ab Fab, Bollinger was really brought to the attention of the British public, with the brand expressing their delight and bemusement that Bollinger was better known in Britain than in its native France. The Bollinger Special Cuvée is one of the finest non-vintage champagnes on the market. Composed of 60% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Meunier, this golden Champagne combines aromas of fruit and spice with the taste of pear, brioche and spices. All this, accompanied by the traditional velvety bubbles, makes a very dry and full-bodied Champagne. It’s Absolutely Fabulous, darlings.
Veuve Clicquot is one of the best-selling Champagnes worldwide, second only to Moët et Chandon. Established in 1772 by Philippe Clicquot, the company was later taken on by his daughter-in-law after the untimely death of her husband, making Madame Clicquot one of the world’s first businesswomen operating on a global stage. Indeed, the brand is even named in her honour, with ‘veuve’ translating to widow in English. At the time, in the early 19thcentury, the Napoleonic Code prohibited women from working, voting, learning, essentially existing without the consent of a man. Widows were exempt from these laws, however, thus allowing for Widow Clicquot to establish herself as a capable businesswoman at the head of the Veuve Clicquot empire. She was an innovative figure in the Champagne field, creating the first vintage Champagne in 1810, inventing the riddling table process to clarify Champagne in 1816, and in 1818 she invented the first rosé Champagne. She was such a pioneer that her friends even referred to her as the Grande Dame of Champagne, a title it is heavily recommended you adopt for yourself after a flute of her Champagne.
Correct us if we’re wrong, but all that sounds worth celebrating and worth raising a glass to Madame Clicquot. After all, she did give us pink Champagne, it’s truly the least we could do. The Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label champagne is instantly recognisable by its iconic yellow label, which was initially introduced in order to distinguish the champagne from sweeter varieties on the market, meaning the colour yellow has become synonymous with dry sparkling wines. With 50-55% Pinot Noir, 15-20% Pinot Meunier and 28-33% Chardonnay, this Champagne is fresh, intense and full-bodied with notes of apricot, vanilla and brioche.
There you have it: five top-quality Champagnes all available from Drinkly right now. Champagne is an ideal accompaniment to any celebration and is always a welcome, thoughtful gift. At Drinkly, however, we’re asking you to be kind to yourself. Life is too short to wait for an occasion to drink Champagne!