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is one of Champagne's finest standard-bearers. This family-run estate boasts a vineyard of 420 plots, 70% of which are classified as Grand Cru. Viticulture is a real priority here, notably through the transition to biodynamic viticulture. Soil cultivation is becoming the norm.
Only such an exceptional vineyard can explain the unique level of harmony and concentration in such large volumes.
It's no coincidence that the cellar master, Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon, is an oenologist as well as an agronomist, just like Jean-Claude Rouzaud, who built the current empire of the great Roederer international vineyards. He handed over the reins of the group to his son, Frédéric Rouzaud, current Chairman, at an early age.
Here, malolactic fermentation is only partial and random (between 25% and 50%). The juices are aged on their lees in vats and oak barrels, to give them thickness.
The wines: this year, Cuvée 242 is offered to us in magnum, and it confirms all the good things we think of this new profile of brut sans année.
The company's efforts to turn a corner with this type of wine are to be applauded. Vintage is a relaxed expression of the 2014 vintage: the wood creates a beautiful patina and adds complexity to the wine's definition, while a partial malo rounds out the attack, preserving the beautiful allongevity typical of the year.
The blanc de blancs is more restrained, the slight toastiness of the reduction making it more standardized.
The 2014 rosé has a lovely bouquet of red berries, with a hint of citrus and undergrowth. The palate is liberated with a balanced texture.
Cristal 2014 is a very pure juice, true to the vintage. The wine delivers incredible energy, which is worth waiting for.
On the other hand, we have our doubts about the Vinothèque 1997 cuvée.
Admittedly, the vintage reveals pastry-like, sunny aspects, but the wine lacks energy and freshness. We think that this noble house should offer older wines in much better shape, given the selling prices.
The 2000 and 1997 vintages cannot be today's reflections of Louis Roederer.
Now part of the LVMH group, rug embodies the top end of Champagne, producing only prestige cuvées, starting with the Grande Curée, now numbered, which embodies the spirit of the house.
The latter is the result of a skilful blending of dozens of wines from complementary vintages, followed by an additional ageing period of at least seven years.
A code on the bottle reveals its composition. But Krug is also a solid team, with Margareth Henriquez as sparkling president, Olivier Krug as general manager, and Julie Cavil as cellar master.
This oenologist, who has already spent over ten years with the company, replaces Éric Lebel in January 2020, with the mission of perpetuating the Krug style, a major Champagne signature. The consistency of the editions and the accuracy of the wines produced, always with great regularity, without betraying the DNA of this house, lead us to award a fourth star this year.
The wines: this year we discover the 170° Anniversary Edition, made up of 195 different wines and twelve vintages from 2014 to 1998.
The wine is fine and distinguished, with controlled power; the palate is refined and the Pinots tamed. Yet this is not a taut, chiseled wine like the 169° Edition.
It seduces with its freshness and relaxed texture. The 164° Edition delivers with class: the 2008 base, combined with the patina of reserve wines and autolysis, gives it a complex, subtle palette, combining chalky and autumnal nuances.
Brut 2008 is a racy wine that asserts its Pinot dominance, but the finesse of the vintage channels it. Notes of stone fruit, dried fruit, cookie and a mineral background give it depth.
A young wine with the power and restraint to age well. We've been waiting for Clos du Mesnil 2008 to come out, and we're not disappointed: the wine delivers a fair, elegant structure and a graceful mousse.
It has incredible scope and tension. Clearly a great vintage.
If ever there was a brand with a strong personality and a highly recognizable style, it's Bollinger.
This family-run house from Ay cultivates a taste for wines dominated by Pinot Noir, vinous and deep. The history of Bollinger is incredibly rich: a dive into the house's early vintages reveals the extent to which excellence has always been at the heart of its concerns.
It is regrettable that the R.D. cuvées (recently disgorged) are sometimes released prematurely, as they are only ever better after a few more years in the cellar, and perhaps a few Grande Année vintages are not quite up to our expectations. But Bollinger remains a benchmark for lovers of great expressive and table champagnes.
The wines: we're a little disappointed with the range we've tasted. Although the wines are still young, the two La Grande Année cuvées, in white and rosé, do not live up to our expectations and remain far from the level of the best vintages.
La Grande Année blanc 2014 is open, with that aromatic patina true to the house, but the palate dimension seems a little short to us.
The Grande Année 2014 rosé is more complex and subtle, still driven by the duo of core and floral aromas that are so seductive at first. The palate is better managed and the whole transports us a little further.
Spécial Cuvée is a unifying champagne: the reserve wines show their nose, but the dosage is a little too heavy, giving it a rounder mid-palate. In the brut sans année, the rosé is more accomplished, its dosage contrasting with the tannins provided by the red wines. RD 2007 is a wine of great dimension, full of subtlety and finesse.
Behind its clear color and generous bubbles are delicate aromas of white flowers, and a freshness that is echoed on the palate, with notes of citrus and yellow fruit, as well as a slight yeasty edge, and a smooth finish.
In 2011, the champagne brands Piper-Heidsieck and Charles Heidsieck were sold by the Rémy Cointreau group to the Descours family's EPI group, which specializes in luxury ready-to-wear brands (Bonpoint, Weston) and owns Château La Verrerie in Luberon. Both houses are managed by Cécile Bonnefond, former director of Veuve Clicquot. After twenty-five years working alongside the two former cellar masters, Thierry Roset was appointed to the position in 2012.
Sadly, this celebrated cellar master passed away on October 5, 2014 (see our article on the death of Thierry Roset). Charles Heidsieck's limited production is focused on lively, consistent champagnes, mainly made from Chardonnay.
The flagship of the range remains the Blanc des Millénaires millésimé, whose 1995 edition still shines with its energy and fine bubbles. The range now offers new, slim-necked bottles. Our opinion on Champagne Charles Heidsieck (16.5/20) The great vintages signed by the late Daniel Thibault remain on the market for the Blanc des Millénaires cuvée. The brut Réserve is easier and softer than before.
A member of the Lanson-BCC group since 1997, this medium-sized house is autonomous in its sourcing and ageing.
Thanks to the new-found personality of its Clos des Goisses, it is once again making a name for itself in the upmarket champagnes segment.
The brand's rise is also the reward for the choices made throughout the range by its president, Charles Philipponnat, in office since 2000. He has introduced cold temperatures into the vinification process, reoriented the blends towards more Pinot Noir, and increased the capacity for vinification in wood on lees, without bâtonnage or malolactic fermentation. His aim? To integrate the spirit of vintage into non-vintage wines.
The third star rewards a range that continues to gain in precision.
The wines: the house maintains its position with a coherent range, from Brut Royale to Clos des Goisses. The dry 2009 is a clear success, as few estates can achieve this level of finesse with a dosage of 30 grams. Brut Royale Réserve is of a good standard, but the 2017 base does not have the level of the 2016 base presented last year.
The non-dosed version is more appealing for its openness and harmonious taste. Grand Blanc 2012 is beautifully defined, with the power to which Maison remains faithful. Cuvée 1522 is very long, almost lacking in thickness, in keeping with the 2014 vintage.
Clos des Goisses is a splendid champagne, combining full ripeness of grape and fullness of mouth. A great wine.
Owned by the Laurent-Perrier group since 1988, this small, mythical house, the paragon of blanc de blancs, has its own independent activity within the group.
Its champagne comes from a single grape variety, chardonnay, a single cru, Mesnil-sur-Oger, and a single vintage.
Like Delamotte, Salon is managed by Didier Depond, and vinification is overseen by Laurent Perrier's cellar master, Michel Faucon-net. The Chardonnays from Salon do not undergo malolactic fermentation to preserve higher acidity and promote ageing.
Salon can only be fully enjoyed after a few more years in the cellar.
The wines: we are entering a new dimension with the superb 2012 vintage.
With all due respect to the 2007, Le Mesnil's 2012 takes us much further, both in purity and in depth.
We'd still advise you not to rush out and buy this divine bottle.
The wine remains restrained, reduced and toasty, and needs time to open up and free itself.
In 2005, brothers Guillaume, Rodolphe and Richard Frerejean-Taittinger set up their own winery in Avize, in partnership with Didier Pierson, heir to an old Côte des Blancs winemaking family. Their aim: to produce top-of-the-range cuvées, exclusively from 1er or Grand Cru vines, aged from 5 to 12 years.
Premier Cru Brut
This signature wine is a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir aged for a minimum of five years, producing an elegant Champagne that embodies the richness of the terroir Frerejean Frères.
The dosage and late disgorgement make it both balanced and generous.
A salmon and gold color, luminous and sparkling, this multi-vintage Rosé is a gastronomic escapade. This champagne blends notes of freshly picked red fruit with aromas of brioche cuit.
This is a cuvée ready to be enjoyed, or to age in your cellar for a few years to enjoy all its complex aromas.
Blanc de Blancs
Our blanc de blancs is made exclusively from chardonnay Premier Cru and Grand Cru grown in Côte des Blancs.
A blend of vintages and reserve wines contributes to generous, complex aromas, and we age it longer, to produce a beautifully clear, elegant Champagne.
Named after Napoleon Bonaparte's light cavalry, in which soldiers pioneered the art of swordsmanship, Cuvée des Hussards is powerful and expressive.
2012is considered to be the benchmark vintage of the last decade.
In 2018, the Maison Frerejean Frères attempted a novel experiment: theimmersion of the Cuvée des Hussards 2008 Premier Cru in the Atlantic Ocean.
At a depth of 60 meters, off the island of Ouessant, these bottles of Blanc de Blancs are stored for 12 months. They are kept inalmost total darkness, at a constant temperature, with maximum hygrometry and optimal pressure (6 bars).
They did this aging process once, and the result was marvelous.
A new page has been turned at this legendary Avize estate.
During the 2018 harvest, Anselme Selosse handed over the reins of the vineyard to his son Guillaume. The young, discreet winemaker is carrying on the work begun by his father in the mid-1970s.
Thanks to an in-depth reflection on viticulture, grapes harvested at full maturity and vinification under multiple origins of wood (in solera-style blending, each older vintage educates the younger ones in the spirit of the great jerez), the wines have a singular, almost artistic interpretation of the chardonnays of the Côte des Blancs, distributed essentially between Avize, Cramant, Oger and Mesnil-sur-Oger, with some delicious pinots noirs from Aÿ, Ambonnay and Mareuil. The Cuvée Initial (33,000 bottles a year) embodies the unmistakable style of Domaine Selosse champagnes, combining oxidative notes with chalky depth of flavor. The concentration of dry extracts and the vibrancy of saline notes on the palate have no equal in the region or anywhere else in the world.
A great deal of thought has gone into the reds, including a pinot noir from Ambonnay (Le Bout du Clos), an infusion with a dizzying scent of rosewater.
The wines: thirty minutes of aeration will do these colorful champagnes a world of good, with their concentrated dry extracts. Initial (disgorged May 12, 2021) takes the oxidative character a step further, presenting a charming fullness, albeit with the vegetal touch reminiscent of 2015.
The wine is already very open. The high aromatic concentration of ripe Pinot Noir (cherry, pot pourri, smoked bacon...) emanates from La Côte Faron, in Aÿ.
A blanc de noirs with a voluptuous attack, tightened by an irresistibly chalky finish. Magistral! It's made for laying down. The 2010 seems a little older than its twelve years: it evolves on notes of button mushrooms and a slightly angular finish. It lacks the breed of the two previous monuments, 2008 and
Immense interpretation of Les Carelles (disgorged February 3, 2020). This Chardonnay from Mesnil-sur-Oger shines with its chalky salinity, blending magnificently rich flavors (fresh grapes, bread crust, old count, toast...).
An aesthetic canon of deep substance and prodigious length. We salute the unique craftsmanship and extraordinary emotion of this wine
The Agrapart family, in the region since the end of the XIX® century, has a superb heritage of Grand Cru Chardonnay in Avize, Cramant, Oger and Oiry, enhanced by traditional methods of cultivation and vinification. Pascal Agrapart and his son Ambroise are proud to be part of the récoltants-manipulants family.
The range highlights parcel-based cuvées (malolactic fermentation done). Champagnes vinified in ancient füt are among the region's benchmarks, thanks to their strong expression of Champagne's minerality. Finishes are clear (with little or no dosage), with sapid, persistent flavors and hints of gentle, saline oxidation. With cellar ageing, the finesse of the bubbles is remarkable. Don't hesitate to open these champagnes half an hour before tasting, so that they reveal all they have to tell us.
The wines: what a shame! The domaine didn't send us its entry-level cuvées.
Complantée turns out to be youthful: behind its rather primary, rich aromatics, it soars with finesse. In 2016, we return to the monumental chalky force of the lieux-dits series, notably with Minéral, a magnificent blanc de blancs that's all restraint, long-lasting, powerful and refined. An interlude with Minéral 2012, which shows the serene ageing of this cuvée, full of concentration and substance.
Avizoise pushes the cursor of breadth and density in dry extracts further, leaving an almost tannic perception on the finish. As for Quel relief I vénus, it asserts itself with masterly elegance and energy, a sensation of extreme salinity and softness of bubbles accompanying this chardonnay of great depth. Resplendent!
Exp.16 (natural yeasts, no fining or filtration, second fermentation with must) emphasizes acid, bitter and umami flavors. An extraordinary balance for thrill-seekers!
The wisdom and serenity exuded by the champagnes of Françoise Bedel and his son Vincent Desaubeau will never leave you indifferent.
The family tandem is committed to biodynamic viticulture, essentially of meunier grapes, on the varied terroirs of the western gateway to the Marne (silty, clayey, chalky, garnished with meulleres stones). Perfectly ripe grapes and extended cellaring give rise to extremely tasty autumn wines, both poised and energetic, with a rare sincerity. Their effervescence pampers the body, their subtle oxidative notes nourish the spirit. Certified organic since 1998 and biodynamic since 2001.
The wines: built on a dominant of the 2017 harvest, Origin'elle's meunier expresses itself with a gourmet delicacy endowed with a fine autumnal patina, not of great substance this year. In a deeper, more dynamic register, Dis, Vin Secret (base 2017) ends its run on a slightly dry finish, a stigma of this year. A blend of meunier (50%), pinot noir and chardonnay, Entre Ciel et Terre (base 2017) takes off with a structured vinosity, both suave and energetic.
All three are in fine form today. Comme Autrefois 2005, despite its beautiful patina, is nevertheless marked by the vegetal framework of the vintage.
At De Sousa, champagne is afamily affair.
Erickde Sousa has been surrounded by his children for several years now: Charlotte is in charge of sales, Julie is in charge of the vines and driving the horses, and Valentin is in charge of the cellar. The domaine comprises 14 hectares of vines, mainly Chardonnays, located in the Côte des Blancs in Avize, as well as Pinot Noir, in Ay and Ambonnay. Certified organic in 2010 and biodynamic in 2013, the estate can draw on a large majority of grand cru terroir and a potential of old vines that exceed half the estate.
Constant evolution has led to much better wood management, highlighting magnificent materials full of energy and concentration. We give this estate our second star. The wines: 3A (2017) delivers a magnificent interpretation of Avize chardonnay, blended with pinot noir from Ay and Ambonnay.
The wine shows excellent ripeness, with a creamy bubble and dynamic velvety length.
Mycorhize 2015 combines superb suavity with irresistible gourmet tenderness, the powerful salinity further prolonging the flavors.
Cuvée des caudalies 2012 (Les Pierres Vaudons parcel in Avize) is as resplendent in concentration as ever: its complex patina lends serenity and majestic length. The umami flavor is at its peak. We find the same sensation in the cuvée Umami 2012 (60% chardonnay, 40% pinot noir), whose richness in dry extracts from the vintage intensifies its saline relief to a slightly generous finish.
Don't hesitate to open these champagnes an hour in advance, as they need gentle aeration.
Let's finish with the estate's first red coteaux-champenois, a 2018 from Ambonnay, with superb natural expression and dazzling finesse.
A feeling of infusion and the sensation of biting into a fresh grape.
From a long line of winemakers, Éric Rodez, mayor of the village of Ambonnay, and his son Mickael cultivate just over 8 hectares in this Grand Cru village. Renowned for the generosity and roundness of its Pinot Noirs, Ambonnay also produces deep Chardonnays from which the Rodezes remarkably know how to extract finesse and a special sparkle.
The family's approach to vinification in wood is admirable, and they have a real gift for blending wines from different years, whether or not they have undergone malolactic fermentation. And what about the dosage? They brilliantly underline the pure, slender, perfectly defined champagnes. After the luminous 2014s, the solar 2015s don't offer the same élan.
The wines: Cuvée des Crayères embodies an excellent entry into the world of champagnes, nicely patinated and dynamic, for a vinous aperitif. More pro-fond, the Blanc de Noirs (2014-2015-2016) proves magnificently defined, both dynamic and full of finesse.
What brilliance! The tasting begins under the best auspices. The 2015 lieux-dits express themselves with more fat and richness than usual, like Genettes, a chardonnay with velvety, comfortable flesh. Les Beurys pinot noir is already open and round.
Two meticulous champagnes that clearly outline the full contours of their year of birth. Empreinte Noire 2010 evolves faster than it should, with kirsch and curry notes and a slightly delicate texture. Time to drink up. The coteaux-champenois 2017 Les Bouités remains generously marked by its wood, rich and a little dry on the finish. We'll note this in a future tasting.
Vitalie Taittinger took over as president of the house in January 2020, succeeding her dynamic father, Pierre-Emmanuel, to whom we owe the return of this fine brand to the family fold. Working with a solid team, the young woman continues to develop the brand's elegant style, with wines strongly marked by the house's signature Chardonnay grape. The cuvée Comtes de Champagne, which tops the range, is one of the most consistent of the great cuvées, perfectly expressing the taste of Taittinger and ageing admirably.
The other wines have gained in intensity in recent years.
The wines: the brut sans année is more compressed than last year, more matte. Prélude also brings out this toasty reduction, but the wine's base is above it and the palate relaxes in the width of the mid-palate.
The 2016 vintage delivers with more flesh on the attack, but a vegetal base remains, the hallmark of the Champagne vintage.
Comtes de Champagne 2011 is not the greatest vintage produced in this cuvée, but it offers itself in a chiselled and sharp style, taut and thirst-quenching. The rosé is juicy, vinous, marked by that red fruit intensity so gourmand.
Champagne's oldest wine house, founded in 1584, has been owned by the Renaud-Cointreau group since 1994. Now under the leadership of Odilon de Varine and Gabrielle Bouby-Malagu in the cellar, it stands out for the regular production of wines that are intense, powerful and carried by a beautiful tension that balances them and enables them to age harmoniously.
The wines: Gosset remains faithful to a nourishing wine profile, with breadth and staying power on the palate. The blanc de blancs confirms this style, but the dosage remains a little strong.
Grande Réserve is a full-bodied, vinous cuvée that lets the reserve wines reveal themselves.
Last year, we pointed out that Celebris 2007 showed some signs of evolution, and this year's tasting proves it again, with a finish that weighs a little and lacks energy. Drink it now.
On the other hand, Celebris rosé 2008 is a superb bottle built on a base of Chardonnay, the wine remains faithful to the 2008 structure, with a fine balance between power and freshness.
Grand Rosé, in a more primary style, is an excellent brut sans année rosé.
It's been more than three years since Richard Geoffroy handed over the reins of the house to Vincent Chaperon, who is now in charge of keeping the legend alive.
With its unique style, impressive consistency and volumes that are distributed worldwide, "Dom Pé" is more than just a champagne brand: it's an emblem of French luxury and a formidable driving force for the entire region.
Whether or not you're a fan of its unmistakable taste, with its delicate buttered and toasted notes, Dom Pérignon remains an essential reference.
The wines: we've received the same vintages as last year, so we're delighted to be able to rediscover them. Plénitude 2003 continues to surprise us with its positive evolution.
The cuvée is representative of a vintage that marked the change at Dom Pérignon towards less reduction and more openness in the wines.
Although it remains well-balanced, the 2012 vintage has closed up a little since last year. This wine of great potential remains a little strict and requires patience.
The 2008 rosé remains a true signature of the house.
It's a sparkling wine, endowed with great finesse and complexity.
Over the years, under the leadership of Fabrice Rosset, the company's president, this venerable house, now part of the Rouzaud family ( Louis Roederer champagnes), has carved out its own path, imposing the regularity of its impeccable range.
Deutz sticks to its terroir to produce champagnes dominated by harmonious Pinots, full and uncluttered (malolactic fermentation done), without artifice. The homogeneous range reflects the times, with fewer reserve wines in the brut blend.
A master of black grapes, Deutz also specializes in a vinous blanc de blancs with the brilliant Amour de Deutz. The style of the brut Classic (86% of volumes produced by Deutz), one of the best in Champagne, has been rejuvenated, while remaining singularly Pinot-like. The rosés are in resplendent form.
The wines: we were disappointed by the range we tasted, and the second star is shaky. L
he house sent us 2011s and 2015s, whose flavors are borrowed from the vegetal and rustic character of these vintages.
We question the wisdom of claiming these kinds of vintages. Amour de Deutz 20ll is far from being the finest definition of the cuvée.
The 2015 white is marked by pyrazine. In the same vintage, the rosé fares better. We appreciated the Brut William Deutz 2013, a fine definition of the tension of this late vintage, unlike the Parcellaire Meurtet, which bears too much of the stigma of 2015.
Carried by the dominant chardonnay, the Amour de Deutz 2013 rosé presents itself as a subtle, relaxed wine.
Brut Classic remains a safe bet for this house.
Champagne Pehu Simonet 's vineyards cover 5 hectares, mostly in Verzenay: "My vines are located in the heart of the terroir. The result of skilful exchanges and transactions by the generations that preceded me. They worked well! Although David Péhu does a little trading, almost all his supplies come from his own vineyards, which gives him the assurance of working with grapes whose ripeness is in line with the style of wine he's aiming for. Indeed, David is keen to work precisely on freshness, starting right from the viticulture stage, by developing higher trellising so as not to have to trim the vines. In addition to the benefits of aerial vine expansion for root development, this also provides more acidity.
This preservation of the grapes' natural freshness - a major asset of the north face, from which he named one of his cuvées - means he doesn't have to block malolactic fermentation. "I have enough acidity to let them start naturally if they have to, so I don't have to add extra sulfites Having been in organic conversion for almost three years, Pehu Simonet has not retro-pedaled despite the unprecedented attack of mildew in the summer of 2021. "I remember when winegrowers were asked to flood Champagne with grapes. As soon as I took over, I took the opposite approach by experimenting with green harvesting.
Fins Lieux n°1
The vines draw their energy from the limestone soils of the Côte des Blancs to give typicity and character to our Cuvées. The return to working the soil to ensure its maintenance has encouraged our vines to anchor their roots more deeply. Convinced that the soil of Vertus is the source of the aromatic palette of our Champagnes, we limit our interventions to maintain the natural balance and preserve the life of our soils.
In 2016, the decision to convert our vineyard to organic viticulture was an obvious one. Respect for tradition, the terroir and the environment are the cornerstones of our approach
Blanc de Blancs
Made exclusively from Chardonnay, Brut Blanc de Blanc s is a blend of our most recently planted plots, including La Puce, Les Mazaux, Clou and Les Lyonnais. The youthfulness of these plots lends dynamism and freshness to Brut Blanc de Blancs.
Its lively, creamy mousse lingers, revealing floral and white-fleshed fruit aromas.
It will spend a minimum of 24 months in our cellars before being enjoyed as an aperitif with family and friends.
Brut Rosé is a blend of Coteau Champenois Rouge and 100% Chardonnay Champagne base wine. Pinot Noir is not the majority grape variety at Vertus, but it's very much at home here, producing ripe grapes with powerful, delicious fruit. This makes it possible to blend 20% of Vertus Rouge with Chardonnay reserve wines.
Our Pinot Noir plots are very low-yielding, and we take the utmost care of their grapes to make them highly colored, bursting with sugar and flavor.
Rosé de Saignée
A year, a character, an experience.
100% Pinot Noir from Vertus, rigorous maceration to extract fruitiness and color from the grapes.
Parcels located at the heart of the Vertus Terroir are given pride of place in our Vintage.
We need parcels that are well established and full of wisdom, so that the character of the soil, the Chardonnay and the climate can express themselves freely, making each year unique. The grapes must be perfectly ripe to produce this cuvée.
We are only tenants of our Earth.
100% Chardonnay, this cuvée is the fruit of a selection of grapes from our Les Grillettes parcel.
Delphine BRULEZ, an agronomist and oenologist, is very attached to this land, and today is responsible for its perpetuation, with a natural evolution towards organic viticulture.
Going to the very end of a particular approach through the vintages to create the uniqueness Louise Brison has demanded and still demands a great deal of courage and obstinacy..
Extra Brut Millesime 2015
Millésime Louise Brison 2015 is an extra brut cuvée that offers both freshness and complexity on the palate. Louise Brison produces only vintage cuvées, which are only offered for tasting after at least 6 years' ageing in the company's own cellars. Vinified and aged in wood for around 9 months on lees.
Champagne Louise Brison, an assertive rosé made exclusively from Pinot Noir grapes . Grapes from the house's own plots, mainly in the Noé-Les-Mallets area of the Côte des Bars. This cuvée is vinified and aged on lees in oak barrels for 9 months to develop its aromatic complexity. Malolactic fermentation is not carried out.
Louise Brison 's Cuvée Tendresse 2012 is an elegant yet complex champagne. Louise Brison produces only vintage cuvées, which are only offered for tasting after at least 6 years' ageing in the house cellars. Vinified and aged in wood for around 9 months on lees. Vinified and aged in wood for around 9 months on lees. 2012 was a sunny year, producing expressive, generous wines. This is a cuvée with no dosage, to let the wine express itself fully.
Established in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, with a beautiful vineyard on prestigious terroirs, the Maison Billecart-Salmon perpetuates its family history. Its independence allows it to grow from year to year, while expanding production volumes. The company continues to innovate in the cellar, with the creation in 2018 of a foudres cellar to complement a barrel cellar built in 2010.
Mathieu Roland-Billecart, in the seventh generation, runs the business, supported by Antoine Roland-Billecart. Denis Blée looks after the vineyards and Florent Nys is the cellar master. And let's not forget Alexandre Bader's exceptional work with top restaurants and sommeliers to raise the profile of this fine house.
The wines: we like Brut Sous Bois for its free, relaxed palette, the palate imposing its spherical dimension without softness.
Brut Réserve remains more timid, behind a more dissociated dosage. Brut Rosé remains a sure bet in the range, with its classic, unifying fruitiness.
Cuvée Elisabeth Salmon Rosé 2008 is a bomb of complexity and subtlety. Cuvée Nicolas François 2007 evolves with time, and progresses towards a much more pastry-like and broad profile, which lacks a little energy on the finish.
Vintage 2013 conveys the tension of the vintage well, without falling into harshness.
The Laurent-Perrier group (Delamotte, Salon, De Castellane, Jeanmaire, etc.), the fifth largest Champagne group, was the most innovative under its founder Bernard Nonancourt, who passed away in 2010 and was succeeded by his daughters. The historic cellar master, Michel Fauconnet, guardian of the "L-P." taste built around chardonnay, has taken his leave. The company's own vineyards cover only 10% of supplies.
Aromatic, lively, with partial malolactic fermentation, the range is a major contributor to the worldwide success of aperitif champagne, both white and rosé.
The wines: we've been saying it for years, but the style and profile of Laurent Perrier's cuvées need to evolve. Too many wines struggle to release their aromas and flavors.
This deliberately reductive style may be respectable, but it engulfs the wines more than it opens them up. Ultra Brut offers a relaxed style, thanks to Chardonnays that are more legible in the aromatic phase, and the palate is broader as a result.
The 2012 Brut shows the lovely potential of a mature vintage, with a more spherical and accessible palate, while still keeping underfoot.
Grand siècle N°25 is more toasty and roasted hazelnut than the 24 edition, at this stage.
The wine remains at the dawn of its expressions.
Hélène sees her heritage as the anchor in the memory of this winegrowing bastion.
"My great-grandfather and grandfather were farmers and wine merchants. They realized that the Montgueux terrain was ideal for growing vines. In 1919 they produced 600 liters of wine, or three barrels, which they sold to the Marne."
Celebrating the genius of those who were there when the adventure was to be written is her spearhead. She returns to the present the gift received from those predecessors.
"I know that my grandfather carried me in his arms, but he died when I was just a few months old. Yet I know that it was he who passed on to me the passion he had inherited from his father." Beyond this passionate character, Léon Beaugrand passes on his determination.
Champagne Beaugrand - Réserve Brut, this Blanc de Blancs Champagne expresses all the fullness of Montgueux Chardonnay. Unctuous, intense and highly complex, it evolves beautifully.
Champagne Beaugrand - Rosé Brut, this Champagne de terroir combines the finesse of Chardonnay and the power of Pinot Noir with the fruitiness of our red Pinot Meunier.
Carte Blanche Brut
Made exclusively from our Montgueux Chardonnay grapes.
Champagne Beaugrand - Carte Blanche, at full maturity, this Champagne Blanc de Blancs is supple and fruity.
Family-run from father to son for four generations, the estate is managed by Maëlle and Jean-Christophe Delavenne. The vineyards are located in three communes classified as Bouzy Grand Cru since 2014, and the winemakers respect the environment as much as possible, using mainly natural molecules.
Grape varieties: 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Meunier.
Blend of wines vinified in oak barrels with indigenous yeast fermentation.
Aged on lees with spontaneous malolactic fermentation.
Liqueurs de dégorgement are made from our wines vinified in
oak barrels and cane sugar from France
Champagne Rare Long presented as the top-of-the-range cuvée of the Piper-Heidsieck house, Rare is now an entity in its own right (as is Dom Pérignon vis-à-vis Moët et Chandon). The aim is to position this brand in theworld of luxurychampagnes and exceptional cuvées produced exclusively in great years. To bring this project to fruition, the Descours family, owners of the brand, have entrusted the reins to a brilliant and experienced cellar master: Régis Camus. His challenge is to make the iconic crown that adorns the bottle shine in the firmament of Champagne.
The wines: we were surprised, in the good sense of the word, by the quality of the 2006 vintage.
Of course, it's in magnum, and we all know the importance of this container for the evolution of wines. But it's clear that this is a wine of great complexity, with a profile for drinking today. The 2008 vintage is more restrained in its freshness and chalky dimension. The nose marries well with this vintage without being austere. The palate is still chiselled and needs to be rounded out. The 2012 rosé is a lovely wine with fruity nuances, hibiscus and an oriental touch. On the palate, the 70% Chardonnay base gives it a fine, creamy feel.
True to tradition, Henri Giraud has reconstituted oak barrels with Argonne oak to age its cuvées, and with a preference for local wood species, it has chosen to showcase a complete terroir that gives its Champagnes a very distinctive woody character. If you're a lover of complex wines and champagnes, this is the house for you. Some wines are aged in terracotta or sandstone amphorae.
Rediscover the simple pleasure of sharing a glass with Cuvée Esprit Brut Nature by Champagne Henri Giraud.
This brilliant wine is the flagship of Henri Giraud's commitment to protecting nature and human health. Its emblem, the Paper Oak, describes the fragility of living things, but also man's ability to rebuild them.
Blanc de Craie
Cuvée Blanc de Craie from Henri Giraud is an exceptional cuvée from the finest terroirs of the Montagne de Reims. Made exclusively from Chardonnay, it sublimates this grape variety by giving it a new facet, a true alliance between the fatness of the fruit and the minerality of the chalk.
Tribute to Pinot Noir
Champagne Henri Giraud "Hommage au Pinot Noir" Pinot Bleu, also known as petit doré in Aÿ because the golden dots stuck to its bloom shine so brightly at harvest time, is so complex, fresh and elegant that it has become the grail that every great wine wants to achieve. A wine that can trace its origins so far back to a bed of coccoliths stratified there 90 million years ago deserves respect.
This is an atypical Cuvée, vinified in "Dame-Jane": an earthenware jar used by merchants (from the Persian city of Damghan, francized Dame-Jeanne, located on the Silk Road) until the Middle Ages in Europe, then replaced by the barrel.
More than 35 amphoras are now dedicated to the vinification and ageing of Dame-Jane at Henri Giraud.
Fût de Chêne MV 17
Cuvée Fût de Chêne MV17, the emblem of Champagne Henri Giraud, is a founding cuvée in the history of this house, so much so that it defines its style. Cuvée Fût de Chêne MV17 (for Multi Vintage base 2017) is built around the 2017 harvest, which accounts for 2/3 of the blend, complemented by wines from a perpetual reserve begun in 1990.
The Fût de Chêne Rosé MV cuvée completes the top of the Champagne house's range Henri Giraud. Produced on the same basis as the Fût de Chêne MV cuvée, it benefits from the addition of 2005 red wine made from old Pinot Noir grapes from a plot in the commune of Aÿ. The ultimate touch of elegance, a diamond-engraved pink gold clasp crowns this original bottle.
Nestled in Damery, just a few kilometers from Épernay, Maison Maurice Choppin has been sublimating the unique terroirs of the Marne Valley for over 7 generations. Proud of his family heritage and his highly respectful approach to life, Benjamin Choppin crafts natural, distinctive wines that express power, roundness and balance. Inspired by the "Belle Champagne", a region that values its exceptional heritage and puts the spotlight on the winegrower's craft, this revealer of terroirs invites you to discover his authentic, sun-drenched world.
Cuvée Mi-Côtes du Champagne Maurice Choppin is a blend of wines vinified in oak barrels and aged for 36 months in our cellars. A Champagne of character and many qualities.
Age and Reason
The complexity of Champagne blending
Champagne Maurice Choppin 's L'Âge et la Raison cuvée is a blend of wines vinified in oak barrels, from Damery vines only. An extra-brut Champagne with real complexity.
Pioneers of biodynamic viticulture in Champagne since 1989, the Fleury family uses its own vineyards and organic grape purchases to produce delicious champagnes dominated by pinot noir.
Their vineyards in Barséquan are ageing, and the viticulture they have introduced adds extra flavour to juices vinified partly in wood, partly in cork (Boléro, extra-brut millésimé) and sulphur-free for certain cuvées.
Atypical in the Champagne world, this visionary house expresses the roundness and maturity of Aube Pinot in a delicious range.
Jean-Sébastien Fleury has brilliantly taken up the torch from his father Jean-Pierre, a biodynamist respected by his peers.
The wines: coteaux-champenois rosé seduces with its fruitiness and volume on the palate, its tannic dimension giving it the profile of a clairet.
The Rosé de saigné has a lovely nose: it takes full advantage of the maceration process in terms of fruit and mouthfeel, but without the tannic hardness.
Cépages Blancs 2011 is a bottle to drink, its evolution turning to the vegetal imprint of the vintage, which remains marked on the finish. Destined for the table, Variation is a very interesting wine that imposes quality volume and power. The blanc de noirs base 2017 exhibits the quality juice of a jovial pinot with creamy mousse. Bolero 2008 lacks the tension of northern Champagne, but the juice imposes complexity and volume.
Francis Égly's vision can be summed up in one phrase:
Vines are like horses: if you want to master them, you have to give birth to them A good horseman-breeder, this producer has a vineyard approaching 40 years old, built by his family around remarkable massal selections, the source of the rare flavor of his grapes and therefore of his champagnes. Over three generations, the family has built up a heritage of Grand Cru vineyards in Bouzy.
Verzenay and above all Ambonnay, at the heart of the terroir. In premier cru, they have pinot meunier on the terroir of Vrigny, in the Marne valley. The opposite of a Champagne that sells its bottles younger and younger.
Francis Égly, following in his father Michel's footsteps, has patiently built up a treasure trove that enables him to market his Bruts after four years' ageing, and his Vintages after six years.
The champagnes are always admirably crafted, dressed up by füt maturation followed by the long ageing on laths that have made their reputation.
The wines: a judicious novelty to start the tasting! The back label specifies the composition of the champagnes, including the base year.
Built around a dominant 2017, Les Prémices (Massif de Saint-Thierry) is already very golden and shows a marked aromatic evolution on a tender palate. It should be drunk now. The new cuvée Les Vignes de Bisseuil (base 2016) is more powerful, finely mastered, and manages to tame the rich fullness of the vintage through to a deliciously long finish.
Back in the Montagne de Reims region, Grand Cru (base 2016) pushes even further the admirably chiselled framework: it is endowed with solid flavors and an extremely delicate bubble.
The rosé (base 2016) asserts itself by its structured, deep momentum, leaving a mouth without any excess of richness. VP (2013 base) rests on an admirable toasty patina and the firm, austere feel of the vintage. A great Champagne classic.
Finely smoky-larded thanks to singular füt ageing, the blanc de noirs W (base 2014) soars with incomparable power and breed, and promises much for laying down. Let's finish with the Am-bonnay rouge 2020, incomparably rich and deep.
This estate in the north-western part of the Montagne de Reims region stands out for its exemplary viticulture, which is close to organic, in the service of expressive, characterful champagnes produced by selective, parcel-based vinification. This is the result of rigorous family work, carried out by Raphaël Bérêche, winemaker, and his younger brother Vincent, vineyard manager, who are among the most ambitious winemakers in Champagne.
Initiated by their father Jean-Pierre (over twenty years ago), the Bérêche brothers have not neglected maturing in füt and demi-muid.
On a terroir dominated by Pinot Noir and Meunier, with a naturally solid expression, the quest for maturity is never at the expense of tension on the palate. The dosages are impalpable.
We recommend that you leave these champagnes in the cellar for one or two years before opening them.
The wines: dynamic, vinous and driven with great precision of flavor, the brut Réserve is one of the most ambitious in its category.
All lieu-dit cuvées benefit from cork aging to gain patina and creamy texture.
The full-bodied 2017 Rive Gauche meunier displays a certain aromatic fragility and firmness due to the vintage, despite its meticulous production.
The historic 2014 Le Cran (pinot noir and chardonnay from Ludes) evolves with a seductive toasty patina, deep vinosity and fine Andalusian oxidation. This is a very fine autumnal champagne. A superb series of grands crus in 2016, starting with Mailly-Champagne, whose cool, streamlined balance is endowed with a profound intensity of flavor.
Naturally more mature, Ambonnay doesn't have the same élan and draws generous, almost plant-like curves. First venture into the Côte des Blancs with Cramant (two parcels cultivated by the Mignon brothers). Superb aromatic exoticism from this mature champagne, well nourished by its lees, voluptuous and dynamic.
What a novelty! The very pretty coteaux-champenois 2019, pulpy and devoid of any showiness, proves to be a real delicacy, with extremely tasty length.
Based in Vertus, Pascal Doquet cultivates his vines organically on magnificent terroirs in the Cote des Blancs (Grand Cru at Mesnil-sur-Oger and Premier Cru at Vertus, Bergères-les.
Vertus and Mont Aime) and in the Cotes du Perthols, in the Vitry-le-François area. The style of these chardonnays is resistant (indigenes yeasts).
unification is partly carried out in old barrels, malolactic fermentation is generally carried out, dosage is minimal (3.58 6 8/) after long ageing in cellars, the result of skilful and wise blending of years.
What estate can claim to offer such radiant 2004s? Their champagnes are whole, sincere and precise in their rendering of flavors, with long, chalky, racy finishes. An air of the Jura with an outstanding Champagne identity.
The wines: a superb opener, Arpège (66% 2015) announces the ripe, dynamic flesh of the rest of the range.
Diapason (2014, 2013, 2012) grand cru du Mesnil, reveals extraordinary sap and a salinity that is both stimulating and reassuring.
Head for the vintage wines, with a series of admirably driven, solar 2009s: Le Mont Aimé, full-bodied and rich, with a long, insistent, finely mineral finish; Vertus, more exotic and charming, with lacy, fine bubbles; and Mesnil-sur-Oger Cœur de Terroir, a blanc de blancs dense with dry extracts, resplendent with salinity and depth, crystal-clear evidence that this champagne is one of the greatest.
What a thrill! Let's finish with a 2004 just out of the cellar, straight from the Champ d'Alouette lieu-dit in Mesnil, remarkable for its elegance and concentration in a vintage with generous yields. The range offers magnificent champagnes, designed for the table, for laying down and for meditation.
Pol Roger is an authentic Champagne icon, exemplary in the precision, generosity and consistency of its range. The vineyards are planted on the slopes of Épernay, in the Côte des Blancs, as well as in Mareuil and Ambonnay: all terroirs that are sources of high quality and consistency. The three grape varieties are present in thirds, as in the purchases (a balance that is reflected in the
cuvées): malolactic fermentation is systematic (which brings roundness): settling is done cold (for aromatic intensity).
Pol Roger is the last house of its size to stir its 18 million annual bottles by hand in its 75 km of Sparnacian cellars. The cuvées are differentiated by the ageing of the reserve wines, as well as by the origin of the crus. Pol Roger has rediscovered the style and generosity of the wines that made him famous.
The wines: we're disappointed by the size of the 2015 vintage. The Blanc de Blancs are marked by the vintage, with their vegetal bitterness on the finish. Vintage is much better managed and displays a completely different scope on the palate, without reaching the race of the 2013s.
The rosé is marked by sincere, juicy fruit, but the nose and palate suffer from the stigma of the vintage. Sir Winston Churchill 2013 requires patience. The wine, too tightly wound for the moment, needs to relax; we have no worries about this Brut Réserve confirms this year, behind a graceful bubble that gives it a certain charm. Opened, the cuvée extra-brut Pure presents a lovely complexity and fullness on the palate.
Brother and sister, Antoine and Anne Malassagne have taken this small estate to new heights of quality. The wines are more "vigneron" than "maison" in style.
Maturation in wood for certain cuvées and low dosage levels produce vibrant, deep wines, marked by their origins. The range is complete and very coherent. The MAG designation followed by a number, which now appears on some of the bottles, provides information on the cuvée's base year, to which reserve wines kept in corked magnums are added. It's a detail that gives the wines an extra touch of complexity. These bottles do particularly well at the table.
The wines: tasting confirms the level of this cellar and the homogeneity of the wines. The rosé, increasingly refined, takes on an extra dimension with a year of evolution.
The blanc de blancs 2012 retains this energy while displaying the patina of time.
Gentilhomme 2013 is a fine bottle for this cold vintage, the extra year relaxing the aromas and flavors. Les Aventures, from this Chouilly parcel, made up of 2008 and 2009 vintages, has a definition close to that of a good mazanilla pasada: incredible complexity on rancid butter, spices and roasted dried fruit.
The cuvée brut nature
MAG 17 remains a serious wine in its conception, but the taste harmony is less accomplished and some bitterness appears on the finish.
Luxury goods group LVMH, owner since 1987, has made Veuve Clicquot the second-largest champagne brand by volume, with its famous Carte Jaune brut (top-selling champagne in the USA). The house owns vineyards in premier and grand cru, mainly destined for vintage cuvées and La Grande Dame.
Marked by pinot noir, Clicquot wines are historically renowned for their vinous, structured palate.
Didier Mariotti, who joins from
G. H. Mumm, has taken over from Dominique Demarville as cellar master.
The wines: Carte Jaune reveals a classic nose with toasty notes of reduction and the dominant imprint of pinot noir. The reserve wines play their part, loosening up the palate a little, with a structure typical of the mai-son style. The same is true of the rosé, driven by its fruity intensity and powerful mouthfeel. La Grande Dame 2012 continues to evolve slowly.
It has great depth, so don't rush it.
LVMH is the most powerful Champagne player in terms of both the size of its vineyards (around 1,200 hectares, only a quarter of its needs i) and the distribution of its brands (Moët, Veuve clicquot, Ruinart, Krug, Mercier). Within this galaxy, Moët is the world's best-selling champagne, with its flagship brut impérial accounting for 85% of production. Under the leadership of excellent cellar master Benoit Gouez, Moët's consistency is truly impressive, given the volumes produced.
Creamy, toasty, lemony wines that reassure consumers the world over. Alongside the brut Impérial, the house delivers Grand Vintage wines that gain in definition and depth vintage after vintage.
The wines: we received few new wines to taste this year compared to the previous edition, but let's remain positive: it's interesting to judge the cuvées with a year's hindsight. The late vintage of 2013 gains in complexity with time, and manages to shed its engrained style, caused by the straightness of the vintage.
Grand Vintage 2013 is the perfect demonstration of this, as it frees itself.
Le rose 2013 is a pretty bottle that gains in dimension.
Rosé Impérial is certainly one of the best-managed rosés in the great houses: still young, its dosage is a little off, but its final tannic structure reassures us of its potential.
Brut impérial is no longer on the reduction, the patina gives it that quality opening, brioche, dried fruit.
The reserve wines are making themselves felt and the palate is gaining in legibility.
Acquired in 2012 by a passionate American couple, this little house, which had fallen into oblivion, is charting its course and rising from the ashes with wines of great personality. The vines are cultivated biodynamically and purchased from organic or biodynamic winegrowers. Partially aged in wood, with low doses of sulfur, the cuvées produced here are in tune with the times.
The wines: we're delighted to taste the 2016 cuvée Abyss, which has much more breed and depth than the 2011. This vintage has a brilliance and purity that shine with sincerity.
The palate remains chiseled and restrained, but we're not worried: the potential is there.
The 2015s come as a pleasant surprise, the house having managed this complicated vintage well. The non-vintage bruts are beyond reproach: the white assumes its relaxed, unifying side, largely dominated by blacks; but our preference goes to the extra-brut rosé, for the dimension of the fruit and its harmony.
Rosé de Saignée remains a stylistic exercise that may please, but we find the whole a little rustic in aromas and flavors, and hardened by the perception of tannin.
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If you want to taste the best champagne in the world, you've come to the right place. In this article, we present the 50 best champagnes in the world in 2022-2023.