There’s no celebration that isn’t made better by a bottle of bubbles. But how do you choose which Champagne to get? This guide will give you the best Champagne to buy at any budget and any place.
I was once told by a date that it was “unladylike” for a woman to order the wine at a dinner. (Yes, he was very British and proud of it). But I think every ambitious lady out there should know what she wants and what to order. Also when it comes to Champagne and wine.
Not all Champagnes are available everywhere though, so it’s not always possible to stick to your favourite. If you like Champagne, but don’t always know what to get, you’ll enjoy these lists of the best options for each occasion.
Because if you’re like me, you love Champagne, but you don’t want to overpay for something that isn’t good.
The best Champagne to buy at the supermarket
Champagne at the supermarket? What?
If you’re picking up a bottle on your way home from work, or you simply don’t have time to go anywhere else, you might buy your bottle of Champagne at the grocery store.
And this option really isn’t as bad as it sounds like. Some really good entry level non-vintage Champagnes are sold at the supermarket.
The challenge is that you usually have a limited selection, and since the people who work there aren’t specialised in wine, they can’t always help you pick a good one either.
The grocery shopping list
Most supermarkets choose to stock the same Champagne brands (the big and famous houses), so it’s possible to find a few safe options that are available most places, and that you know will be good.
- Bollinger is always a safe bet, both the Special Cuvée NV and the Rosé are amazing.
- Same goes for Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve NV. You’ll get some lovely rosés and normal non-vintages from this producer.
- Lanson Black Label NV is also a very reasonably priced and readily available Champagne.
- Louis Roederer Brut Premier NV is also found almost anywhere, and it’s a great choice.
If you go into a supermarket, I can almost guarantee you that one of these Champagnes will be on the shelves.
The best Champagne to buy at a club or in a bar
If you’re the kind of girl who likes clubbing and bottle service, more power to you. But you’ll likely overpay no matter what you get.
Most restaurants will price the Champagnes at 2-3 times the price of buying at a store, but at a club, you can end up paying 4 or 5 times what the bottles are selling for elsewhere.
You’ll also usually not find a lot of different types of Champagne when you’re out clubbing. Unless you go somewhere that specialises in nice Champagne, which is rare.
So as with the grocery store, your options are limited, but the downside is even higher since you’re paying a much steeper price.
Which Champagne to order for the table
In general, the Champagnes you will find at clubs will be the entry-level cuvées from each house, so all you need to remember is the name of the producer.
- The widow Veuve Cliquot Brut NV is not too bad and on most lists.
- But for a better quality and lower price, go for R de Ruinart or Ruinart Blanc de Blancs NV(or the rosé). It’s a party Champagne people love because of the distinct bottle shape, and it’s actually worth the money.
- You’ll sometimes be lucky and find Billecart Salmon Brut Réserve (or the rosé) at some clubs as well, and this is always a good choice, with better value-for-money.
- Those same places will also sometimes have Louis Roederer or Bollinger as well, which you remember have some nice non-vintage Champagnes.
- If you want to spend some money, go for the Krug Grande Cuvée NV or a Cristal from Louis Roederer (you’ll end up with 2009 unless they state otherwise).
Don’t buy the Dom Perignon. You’ll get the youngest vintage which is nothing special and very overpriced.
If I’m only drinking to party, I would actually often choose to drink Prosecco or Cava instead of Champagne because I don’t want to overpay for something that’s mostly a marketing gimmick.
The best Champagne to buy at a restaurant or a wine shop (good value for money)
Here is where you can make interesting choices and find a lot of great value-for-money Champagnes. These bottles are all priced from around 30 to 50 pounds and are all a fiest for your taste buds and nose.
- Lanson Gold Label Vintage Brut 2008
- Eric Rodez Cuvée Des Grands Vintages Brut NV
- André Clouet Silver Brut Nature (or anything else from this producer)
- Claude Cazal Grand Cru Cuvée Vive Blanc de Blancs 2007
- Tarlant Zero Rosé Brut Nature NV (or the normal NV)
- Bereche & Fils Brut Réserve NV
- Bruno Paillard Prémiere Cuvée Brut NV
- Camille Saves Brut Grand Cru Vintage 2009
- Gosset Grande Réserve Brut NV (or 2006)
- Jacquesson Cuvée No 738 (or 740)
There are so many more Champagnes I would like to add to the list, but this is a great place to start if you want to explore your newfound love for bubbles
Your shopping list for Champagnes between 100 and 200 pounds
While you can get some bottles of both Krug and Cristal under 200, you can also pay a lot more for them. If you want to have a truly amazing Champagne experience for under 200 pounds (at a wine shop, not at a restaurant), check out the list below.
- Taittinger Comte De Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2006 or 2007, or 2008.
- Bollinger La Grande Année 2007, or the Rosé from the same vintage.
- Duval-Leroy Femme de Champagne 1996. Of the Champagnes I’ve tasted the past two years, this is the absolute best of them.
- Egly-Ouriet Grand Cru Blanc De Noirs Vielle Vigne NV.
- Billecart-Salmon Cuvée Nicolas Francois Billecart 2002.
- Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill either 2002, 2004, or 2006, with 2006 being the latest one that’s released and easiest to find. The 2002 is one of the smoothest Champagnes you will ever drink.
- Pierre Peters Cuevée Speciale Blanc de Blancs Les Chetillons 2008
This list of the best Champagne to buy could also go on forever. And since a lot of great vintages are stored by the producers for a long time before they’re ever sold to consumers, you’ll see new Champagnes from these vintages all the time.
The best Champagne to buy if you really want to spend some money
Are you willing to spend more than 200-300 pounds of your hard-earned money on each bottle? Then this is the section for you.
I wouldn’t buy the standard Dom Perignon from the latest vintage because I personally think it’s overpriced. But if you’re looking to get your hands on a really old vintage, look for second and third releases of this wine (called P2 and P3).
Anything from Krug is usually top notch, but it comes with a price tag. You can get the entry level NV for around 150 in a store and 200-300 at a restaurant. If you want to go even further, try any vintage of Krug Clos du Mesnil. In my opinion, Krug is the undisputed king of Champagne.
Another one of the more famous Champagnes you can drink is the Louis Roederer Cristal, either rosé or regular. The rosés come with a hefty premium but can be worth it. You will mostly find 2006, 2007, 2009, or 2010 available now.
What Champagnes not to buy
A list of which Champagnes to buy wouldn’t be complete without corresponding advice on what not to buy.
All Champagne isn’t good Champagne. But if there’s one thing that’s worse than drinking bad Champagne, it’s to pay a lot for it, So these examples are not necessarily the worst Champagne you can drink, but it’s definitely way overpriced.
First out is Moët & Chandon Imperial, and I know I’ll offend a lot of people when I say this. It’s expensive and not great. It’s still the most sold Champagne in the world, so they know how to do branding.
From the same family, you should also avoid Nicolas Feuillatte. It’s just… Not good.
The Ace of Spades Champagne from Armand de Brignac is also great to stay away from. It’s an average plus champagne. But who on earth would want to pay 300 pounds for something that’s worth 30 at best?
You don’t have to be an expert to know what you like
So who am I to tell you which Champagnes to drink? I’m certainly not a sommelier, and I work in finance and not in the food industry.
But I have always loved great Champagne, and I spend a lot of time going to tastings. I also love to read about the bottles I drink.
I see so many people who want to buy Champagne, but end up paying a lot for an average bottle because they don’t know what to buy. That’s what I want people to avoid.
And you can still get a good bottle of Champagne if you’re buying it at the supermarket.
What you need to know about Champagne
The world of Champagne can sometimes be daunting, and I want it to be more accessible to young women like myself. Especially since knowing your way around wine is sometimes expected in business.
That’s why I’m also writing a guide with all the intro-level questions you might have about Champagne, so you never have to feel insecure about ordering Champagne again.
In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed my list of the best Champagne to buy for every occasion. I’ll be drinking all of these, and then some. Maybe I’ll even pick some of The Independent’s list of top 20 Champagnes.