So you’ve been exploring the exquisite world of craft gins with prowess. You marvel at your substantial selection of single malts and you’re finally on allocation for the legendary Bass Phillips Pinot Noir…but are you still drinking mass-produced champagne?
Whilst mass produced champagnes are created with astonishing consistency and quality – much like the lauded Mazda – there are far more exciting options to titillate your taste buds and impress your guests.
Prepare to open your eyes to the world of the boutique champagne maisons.
We have a revolution happening in Champagne. A new generation of Champenois has taken the reigns of the vineyard and they have a much more worldly approach. They are staunchly focused on viticulture unlike their ancestors that were firmly focused on yield. The new young bloods have studied abroad and have friends who make wine in Argentina and as far abroad as Australia. Yes, new world countries of wine have some advice to offer an old world!
The experts say that champagne has simply never been better. We have the highest-ranking champagnes ever available right now and yet some of the best you simply wouldn’t know!
Let me introduce you to some of these exceptional houses and consider your training wheels of champagne off!
Charles Collin: Brut – $74.95 & Rosé at $85
Go no further then this quality house. It’s a regular order for the informed champagne lover. With above-average cellar ageing of four years for the non-vintage, and only using the noble grapes of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, this house does not disappoint. This should be in every fridge, every day, in case your mother, lover or brother calls in unexpectedly. It’s fresh but has enough complexity to satisfy the connoisseur and casual champagne drinker alike. It’s beautifully presented and exceptional quality for the price point.
And don’t stop at the Brut, the Rosé from Charles Collin is a well constructed, savoury style of rosé, a la Provence. Just ask Gourmet Traveller Wine who just ranked it 92 points out of 100.
This is your ‘9am to 9am’ champagne that will partner with pretty much any cuisine.
Frerejean Frères Cuvée de L’Empereur – $119.00
How can a relative newcomer to the champagne world such as maison Frerejean Frères absolutely blow the market away with a range of champagnes which are truly sublime? They are the Taittinger brothers, born into a champagne pedigree with both business acumen and serious wine skills.
This limited release, exceptional cuvée has been created in honour of the first Emperor of France, Napoléon Bonaparte to mark 250years since his birth. (A fascinating fact: the Frerejean family actually made the cannons for Napoleon Bonaparte and his army – cool dinner party claim to fame for these talented brothers!)
Six long years of aging with only the best pinot noir and chardonnay is inside each bottle – expect a voluminous champagne which is silky smooth and loaded with aromatic complexity. Prepare to have your mind preverbally blown.
De Sousa 3A – $139
This outstanding champagne house has an unfair advantage to the others as they have some of the best Grand Cru vineyards in the Champagne region. Taking full advantage of this outstanding terroir they use both organic and biodynamic winemaking practices. This allows the grapes and wine do all the talking…and boy do they talk!
The extremely rare and prized 3A is named after the three vineyards it sources its fruit from; the exceptional villages of Ay, Ambonnay and Avize. This family-owned estate uses an unusual technique of co-fermenting the very best pinot noir and chardonnay in a giant wooden egg – a thing of beauty.
Read the reviews on this house – all the wines are knock outs and you cannot go wrong with this stunning cuvée. Watch the elegance of Grand Cru chardonnay add finesse whilst the pinot noir explodes in red berry flavours with power and poise.
Want to see artisanal champagne production at its finest? Get your mitts on this. Only 948 exquisitely hand-crafted bottles are created and each is individually numbered. With all Grand Cru fruit from the iconic village of Avize you have a precise, mineral driven champagne with crystalline purity akin to that of Salon or Crystal…without the hefty price tag. Not only is the contents of the bottle insanely good – so is the packaging.
Heroine is hot property. Order this bottle in a bar in New York or London and get the knowing nod of approval from the Sommelier. The genius coupling of Francois and Justin Petite-Boxler (winemakers of this sensational micro-producer) are the new young guns of the region. Watch them closely… we are!
Did we mention that 2008 was the vintage of the decade? It’s sensational now but has oodles of ageing potential and is a great investment if you can hide it from yourself!
Expand your horizons and try something new and utterly brilliant in the champagne category this festive season.
Explore the champagne universe
To shop exceptional champagnes, like these and so many more, please head to www.emperorchampagne.com.au where we live and breathe champagne. If you want more personalised service call 1800 Champagne and speak to one of our in-house Champagne experts. May the bubble be with you!