This year’s Christmas celebrations could end up being a little muted, but there’s an argument that says we need to celebrate and what better way than enjoying a glass of champagne?
CALIBRE’s James Lawrence has curated a selection of exceptional bottles of champagne, from affordable to reassuringly expensive, to ensure your Christmas period goes off with a bang.
Dom Perignon 2010
Dom Perignon champagne and Christmas were made for each other. Even prosecco acolytes cannot deny that for a special occasion, vintage champagne is a cut above.
The 2010 vintage is generous, structured and refined, a slender creaminess that fizzes in the most minuscule bubbles. Expensive? You bet. But this champagne is divine.
What: Dom Perignon 2010
Where: The Finest Bubble
How much: £150
Taittinger Comtes de Champagnes Rose 2007
Comtes de Champagne, the prestige offering from Champagne Taittinger, has long commanded a cult following among the cultural elite. Famous ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev used to say: “When I drink Comtes de Champagnes, I don’t dance anymore, I fly.”
The 2007 vintage is the best yet – powerful, structured and lacy smooth.
What: Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Rose 2007
Where: Champagne Direct
How much: £165
Ruinart Blanc de Blancs
A long-established and extremely prestigious brand, Ruinart produces a 100% Chardonnay champagne that sets the benchmark for others to follow. Softly structured and beautifully scented, it is the epitome of fine fizz.
What: Ruinart Blanc de Blancs
How much: £65
Bruno Paillard Premiere Cuvee
Bruno Paillard produces a sublime, richly elegant champagne that never fails to seduce with its minerality, citrus fruit, white flower aromas and full-bodied palate.
The flavours seem to leap out of this champagne: honeysuckle, lemon, grapefruit, brioche and grilled nuts. A relatively bargain price too!
What: Bruno Paillard Premiere Cuvee
How much: £40
Philipponnat Clos de Goisses 2011
The winemaking is ancient: the village of Mont de Mareuil in Champagne, where the Clos de Goisses vineyard is located, has been planted with vines since the 16th century. Venerable champagne house Philipponnat acquired the vineyard in 1935, and immediately it became its jewel.
The 2011 vintage is spectacular and in short supply – very few bottles of this exceptional champagne are up for grabs, so the bragging rights are up there with a new Ferrari.
What: Philipponnat Clos de Goisses 2011
Where: Justerini & Brooks
How much: ~£135
Billecart-Salmon Cuvee Nicolas Francois 2007
A gorgeous, majestic wine of epic proportions, Billecart-Salmon’s prestige cuvee Nicolas Francois is in a class of its own.
A blend of the finest chardonnay and pinot noir has produced a bottle of deep, intense champagne with aromas of white flowers, mint, brioche, biscuit and ginger perfect for Christmas. Magnificent.
What: Billecart-Salmon Cuvee Nicolas Francois 2007
Where: Highbury Vintners
How much: £140
Cuvee Josephine 2008
A superlative champagne that deserves to be much better known, Cuvee Josephine is the finest fizz that CALIBRE has tasted in 2020.
The brand is owned by leading champagne producer Joseph Perrier; this prestige label was first produced in the 1982 vintage – the 2008 is only the ninth vintage released. It is named after Josephine, the favourite daughter of company founder Joseph Perrier.
But enough facts – what does it taste like? Brioche, buttery, intense, satisfying, velvety – this is such a gloriously rich champagne, it almost invokes a feeling of guilt. Almost.
What: Cuvee Josephine 2008
Where: Frazier’s Wine Merchants
How much: £100