These are the best bottles of non-vintage Champagne
Bank-breaking bottles of statement Champagne are all well and good — but you can’t go passing a bottle of 1959 Dom Pérignon around at a party. For these occasions, you’ll require bubbly of a different breed; good, hardworking fizz that can go flute-to-flute with even the most revered vintages and still do a sparkling job.
Of course, with lockdowns and quarantines still bubbling away around the world, parties remain few and far between. So, rather than splashing out on a smashing vintage bottle, you could instead invest in a sterling non-vintage Champagne to savour. If you’re looking to dim the lights, whip up some food pairings and enjoy a glass or two at home, here are the best bottles to buy…
Which grape varieties? Primarily Chardonnay, with hints of Pinot Noir added in to create a satisfying, complex and rewarding wine.
Flavours and aromas? Overtly fruity, the Louis Roederer also benefits from nutty, yeasty and bread notes — with a long biscuit finish.
What does it pair with? Lean into those bread flavours and buy some brioche. With a terrine or fois gras and some white fruit, such as mirabelles, the pairing is a treat.
Which grape varieties? Primarily Chardonnay, with touches of Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir blended into the bubbles.
Flavours and aromas? Subtle sweetness, with hints of Almond and Cream. Savoury touches of Bread, with a dull edge of Citrus Fruit.
What does it pair with? Ideally seafood. Warm poached oysters or lightly fired scallops work well — or soft cow’s milk cheese, such as Chaource.
Which grape varieties? Primarily Chardonnay, with additional Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir giving this Champagne an attractive amber hue.
Flavours and aromas? On the nose, Le Black Label Brut is rather floral — with flowers, fruits and citrus flavours pushing to the fore. On the palate, riper stone fruits prevail.
What does it pair with? In our experience? Goat’s cheese. Whether it’s a small serving atop a canapé, or a whole wheel bought to savour during lockdown, nothing marries with Lanson better.
Which grape varieties? Not technically a Champagne, this Sussex sparkling wine follows the usual bubbly blend of Chardonnay with Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir.
Flavours and aromas? The underlying aromas of bread, biscuit and citrus fruit are present — but with a tangier twang of green apple and rounded peach finish.
What does it pair with? That sturdier flavour profile gives this British wine more power than the French offerings. Try with a chicken dish — perhaps something subtly spiced or Asian-inspired.
Which grape varieties? A little more expensive than the other Champagnes on this list, the Krug Grande Cuvée is rich, crisp — and created from Chardonnay grapes alone.
Flavours and aromas? When poured, the fragrance immediately bubbles out of the fine fizz; of smoky, toasty notes, a hint of brioche and rounded melon fruit. A touch of citrus.
What does it pair with? With its bold, confident flavours, the Krug can — like the Nyetimber above — stand up to stronger food. Think something equally decadent, such as aged parmesan or truffle.
Which grape varieties? Another blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier sourced from the very best sites of the Champagne region.
Flavours and aromas? A fine Champagne, Billecart-Salmon’s Brut shows rich notes of pear, baked apples, citrus and biscuits.
What does it pair with? Seafood, once again. But rather than the warmer plates we suggested with the Ruinart, try colder cuts — smoked salmon, fresh oysters or calamari.