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Best Champagne 2021: The most delicious bottles of bubbles to celebrate with now

Joanne Gould
16 Dec 2021
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Celebrate in style with our pick of the best champagne for every taste and budget

Nothing beats the sound of a cork popping and when it comes to celebrating, only the best Champagne will do. This premium French fizz – which has to be made in the Champagne region and meet various winemaking regulations in order to be labelled as Champagne – is the perfect accompaniment to a romantic night in, and will make sure any party goes off with a bang.

Indeed, Champagne famously goes with almost everything, from fish and chips to party food and everything in between. But with bottles varying hugely in style, how do you pick a good one?

To help you spend your money wisely, we’ve put together a short guide on how to pick the best champagne for your budget, as well as offering up some of our top picks in every style and price range.


Best Champagne: At a glance


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How to choose the best Champagne for you

How much should I spend?

Most bottles of non-vintage Champagne are priced within the £25-45 bracket, but there are exceptions on both sides of this price range. Supermarket own-brand Champagne is often extremely competitively priced, with some bottles even dropping to around £10 during party season. Supermarkets are doing an increasingly good job of sourcing their Champagne too, so it’s worth experimenting even with the bargain basement bottles to discover what you can find.

Big-name Champagne houses can produce bottles with prices running well into triple figures. This is particularly true for older vintages, which have longer winemaking processes and huge marketing budgets. The key thing is to work out what style you like, then match your budget accordingly.

Vintage or non-vintage (NV)?

As already mentioned, vintage Champagnes are more expensive, but they also tend to taste different to non-vintage varieties. Vintage Champagnes usually spend longer “on the lees” (lees is the yeast used in the fermentation process) and have those prized deep, bready, brioche notes as a result. Non-vintage Champagnes are more likely to have fresher, citrus and floral notes.

What about the grapes?

Grape variety also plays a large part in determining how a Champagne will taste. Most use one or more of the classic Champagne grapes of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier. Champagnes with lots of Chardonnay are typically light, zippy, lemony and rich with orchard fruit, while Pinot Noir is a red grape so has a more fully fruited, round flavour.

Champagnes made with just white grapes are known as Blanc de Blancs, and tend to be crisper and have a more mineral character than red-white blends. Rosé Champagnes are made when the red grape skins are allowed to have some contact with the wine, lending its blushing pink colour, and often a slight berry fruit note.

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The best champagne to buy in 2021

1. Aldi Veuve Monsigny Champagne Brut: The best budget Champagne

Price: £14 | Buy now from Aldi

This bottle is a great example of the supermarkets putting their buying power to good use by championing a small, highly acclaimed Champagne house and making it accessible. It’s a fabulous Champagne at a super-affordable price, scores consistently highly in independent tests and scoops plenty of winemaking awards.

We like this fizz for its classically balanced blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier grapes, which have been carefully aged in cellars. The result is a crowd-pleasing and complex bouquet of fruit and florals, bursting with red and green apples and an elegant, crisp finish that easily holds its own against more premium Champagnes. Deliciously dry and with fine, persistent bubbles, this Champagne is such great value, you can afford to be generous when serving it as an aperitif, with light nibbles or simply enjoying it on its own.

Key details – Bottle size: 75cl; ABV: 14%

Buy now from Aldi


2. Ayala Brut Majeur Gift Box: The best Champagne to give as a gift

Price: £27 | Buy now from The Bottle Club

Champagne fans looking for a well-made bottle away from the bigger and more famous Champagne houses will enjoy being introduced to this Ayala Brut Majeur. It’s from the AYALA house, which has been making Champagne since the late 1800s and is now owned by the Bollinger family.

Very reasonably priced, this sophisticated blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier is 40% Chardonnay, giving it a lively, citrus freshness, with more than a dose of fuzzy white peach on the palate. The addition of Pinot Noir takes the freshness and adds length, complexity and a grown-up, rounded richness, while its average three years on the lees means those golden, toasty notes linger in the background.

It’s a great example of a NV Brut that offers interest, quality and value for money – plus the box makes it a smart gift option. We’d recommend drinking this one with food: think seafood, chicken dishes and light cheeses.

Key details – Bottle size: 75cl; ABV: 12%

Buy now from The Bottle Club


3. Tribaut Rose NV Champagne: The best rose Champagne

Price: £32 | Buy now from Northern Wine and Beer

There’s something about rose Champagne that always feels that extra bit special, and this brilliant bottle is certainly that. Made from 40% Pinot Noir – hello, buckets of red fruit – and equal Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier in the remainder, this Champagne owes its pretty salmon pink shade to the clever incorporation of 10% red wine, rather than just the skins.

There are aromas of summer fruits abound. And on the palate we found crisp red apples and tart redcurrants bursting from the silky mousse, rather than the sweeter, strawberry flavours you may expect from light rose. This is still delightfully long and dry, and embodies the spirit of Champagne thanks to the three years spent maturing on the lees. And, having won plaudits from many well respected wine experts, we’re not the only ones to think this is a classy, refined rose Champagne.

Key details – Bottle size: 75cl; ABV: 12.5%

Buy now from Northern Wine and Beer


4. Taittinger Nocturne Sec City Lights NV: The best sweet Champagne

Price: £36 | Buy now from Tesco

Designed to be drunk late at night, this Nocturne bottle is the latest offering from big name Champagne house, Taittinger, which is one of the only remaining major houses still owned and managed by the family. It’s completely different to anything else on this list in that it’s a sweeter, more indulgent Champagne.

While the grape varieties are still the traditional Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier, with the Chardonnay dominating at 40%, Taittinger Nocturne is a ‘Sec’ Champagne. This means it has two to three times the dosage of sugar usually used to produce Brut, so expect a sweetly sparkling, mellow and fruit-filled bottle.

As with all Champagnes, this bottle has been subject to slow cellar ageing, so there is still a level of creamy complexity and maturity – it’s not just a straightforward, sweet tipple. Though this wouldn’t be drunk as an aperitif, it’s just right to enjoy after dinner and we’d wager this fun fizz would be good with chocolate or fruity puddings.

Key details – Bottle size: 75cl; ABV: 12.5%

Buy now from Tesco


5. Bruno Paillard Premiere Cuvée Champagne: The best Multi-Vintage Champagne

Price: £45 | Buy now from The Whisky Exchange

Maison Bruno Paillard has been making top-notch Champagne from its independent, family-run house for 40 years, and “Multi-Vintage” Champagne is something of a signature style. This Bruno Paillard Premiere Cuvée Champagne is its latest release, showcasing the very best of the organic vineyards, grape varieties and vintages.

There are 35 crus used in this bottle, each selected for its individual character, with the aim of expressing the true terroir of the region. As usual, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Meunier are used in the blend, though Pinot Noir dominates with tons of crunchy ripe fruit and good acidity.

But the key thing in the winemaking of this bottle is how older vintages, as far back as 1985, are blended with newer wines to create a consistently high-quality Champagne. Although technically it can’t be classed as vintage, this method allows all the incredible brioche notes, oak maturity and startling complexity to be expressed in an accessible and interesting style. This year’s release is bone dry, with the perfect balance of zest and freshness against deep, yeasty notes you’d hope to find in Champagne twice the price.

Key details – Bottle size: 75cl; ABV: 12%

Buy now from The Whisky Exchange


6. Tesco Finest Premier Cru Champagne NV: the best party Champagne

Price: £21 | Buy now from Tesco

This bottle from the Tesco Finest range can often be found on our wine rack. Having scooped the 2021 IWSC gold for best value sparkling wine, we can confirm that £21 represents brilliant value for this Champagne, which has been sourced by Tesco from a small cooperative. The producer is the largest owner of premier and grand cru grapes in the region and this wine is made from the very best Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes.

Add to that some long ageing in-bottle (30-36 month maturation), and you have some of the finest party fizz going: light and bubbly but with enough complexity and body to still be interesting. There are classic Champagne flavours of crisp citrus, orchard fruits and soft apricot abound, topped with a toasted brioche note and beautifully fine bubbles. It’s vegan too. Perfect for drinking right away or keeping for up to two years.

Key details – Bottle size: 75cl; ABV: 12.5%

Buy now from Tesco


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