November 29, 2013 6:17 pm

Top 100 festive wines: sparkling wine

The unmissable guide to the best of Christmas drinking
Illustration by Ingram Pinn depicting sparkling wine for Christmas©Ingram Pinn

Take advantage of some great fizz deals at this time of year. Everything here is a champagne unless another appellation is cited after the vintage or “NV” for non-vintage. Wines are listed in ascending order of lowest known price in the UK. They are all likely to be 12-12.5 per cent alcohol unless otherwise noted.

Gobin, Perles de l’Angelier NV France

This is recognisably made from Muscadet with nutty, fresh, ripe distinctive fruit. Something a bit different. 11.5%

£10.99, Amps of Oundle and other independents

J Laurens, Le Moulin Brut NV Blanquette de Limoux

There’s an attractive bit of development on the nose. Very fresh and really quite special for the money. Delicate on the palate. Look out for other bargains from this Languedoc producer.

£12.10, Ditton (sold by the six-bottle case)

Dom de Montbourgeau NV Crémant du Jura

This has a pretty, retro label. Good tang – recognisably Jura – Chardonnay with bite. Clean and revitalising. Less aggressive than a cheap champagne.

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Jancis Robinson

£12.50, The Wine Society

Teo Costa, Madre Natura Rosé NV Vino Frizzante

The combination of 100 per cent Nebbiolo and 0 per cent sulphites produces a very gentle, unusual, rose-scented Piemontese fizz that would make a most distinctive aperitif. 10.5%

£16.50, Vini Italiani of London

Forget-Brimont, Brut Premier Cru NV

Forget-Brimont, Brut Premier Cru NV

From the village of Ludes. Open and relatively simple but proper stuff. A tiny bit sweet but reasonably delicate and a lot more refined and fun than the average own-label champagne selling at this price. Nicely balanced even if on the appetising end of the spectrum. Tiny bead. Neat finish.

£21.57, Justerini & Brooks

Barnaut, Blanc de Noirs Grand Cru NV Champagne

Big and brawny. Not that complex but not expensive, especially at the special offer price that lasts until Christmas.

£23.95 (price per bottle for case of six; £27.95 individually), Lea & Sandeman

Pascal Doquet, Horizon Blanc de Blancs Brut NV

This organically certified growers’ champagne has a lightly nutty nose and is chock full of flavour. A steal considering J&B’s margins. I don’t think I would guess it were all Chardonnay; seems slightly richer than many Blanc de Blancs.

£24.07, Justerini & Brooks

Ridgeview, Bloomsbury Merret 2010 England

Ridgeview, Bloomsbury Merret 2010 England

Signature wine from the estimable Ridgeview. Very frothy. Edgy in terms of acidity. Very clean but pretty tart.

£24.99, Waitrose

Chartogne-Taillet, Ste-Anne Brut NV

Very racy, direct, clean and breezy. Really neat and concentrated. The flagship blend from this champagne grower in Merfy is a great bargain.

£25, The Wine Society, Fine Wine Direct

Huet Petillant Brut 2007 Vouvray

Based on Chenin Blanc and one of the most welcome variations on the fizz theme: richer and more complex than many champagnes. Pale straw with a steady bead. Young, fresh, floral apple juice. Delicate and rapier-like acidity. Very vibrant.

£25, Berry Bros

Pierre Gimonnet, Cuis Blanc de Blancs Brut Premier Cru NV

Pierre Gimonnet, Cuis Blanc de Blancs Brut Premier Cru NV

Delicate texture but some autolysis on the nose. Real savour and refreshment. Beginning, middle and end to this proper wine – much more interesting than many champagnes at the same price.

£25, The Wine Society

Gusbourne Brut Reserve 2008 England

One of the most toothsome English fizzes with some real depth to it.

£26.45, Berry Bros

Pol Roger NV

A banker of a family-owned champagne. Price will go up once this retailer has sold all the bottles in this batch, which suggests it may have some bottle age.

£29.95, Lea & Sandeman, while stocks last

Agrapart et Fils, Les 7 Crus Blanc de Blancs Brut NV

From the seven villages where Agrapart owns vines, initially aged in old oak barrels. Complex, well-settled nose. Grapefruit peel on the finish after much throat-warming.

£31, The Wine Society

Ruinart, R de Ruinart Brut NV

Bready nose with real interest. Something to get your teeth into. Very clean and neat and tastes as if it had quite a bit of age on lees.

£37.50, Lea & Sandeman, Jeroboams

Delamotte, Blanc de Blancs NV

Grand Cru Chardonnay from le Mesnil, Oger, Avize with a full 48 months on yeast. Signature bottling of this house, a sister to Salon, based on 2006. Quite a bit of age on the nose. Racy and quite delicate on the palate. Well made – just the right quality of fizz.

£37.95, Corney & Barrow

Larmandier-Bernier Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut Premier Cru NV

Still one of the finest non-vintage champagnes from a fine, biodynamic grower. Very broad and rich compared with many other handcrafted growers’ champagnes. Quite incredible to think that this is an extra brut in view of the richness on the palate. Clean, refreshing, fabulous! Very persistent.

£39.95, Berry Bros and others

Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve NV

The spearhead of a campaign by the new owner of this house to reposition it firmly upmarket. This cuvée, based on 2007, is very good, with 40 per cent reserve wines up to 10 years old.

About £40 Haynes Hanson & Clark, Noel Young, Bordeaux Index, Harrods, Define, Shills of Cockermouth, Hay Wines, Bennetts of Chipping Campden, The Vineking, Lockett Bros, Valvona & Crolla, The Old Bridge Wine Shop, Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason and other independents

Deutz NV Rose

Deutz NV Rosé

One of the most impressive non-vintage pink champagnes I have tasted recently. Good dry finish. Solid matter on the palate.

£43.95, Vagabond Wines and others

Louis Roederer 2006

Very firm, savoury and dense, with lively acidity and a fine bead. Not massively intense or bone dry but very competent.

£44, Berry Bros; £45, The Wine Society

Bollinger, La Grande Année 2004

Bollinger, La Grande Année 2004

Hint of oak on the nose. Very winning and interesting. Extremely savoury but with flirtatious lift on the finish. Very persistent.

£65, Noel Young; £80, Berry Bros and others

Nyetimber, Tillington Single Vineyard 2009 England

Winemaker Cherie Spriggs offers record pricing with this all-Pinot bottling from an unusually ripe vintage. Quite deep bronze/pale gold. Heady nose. Lightly apple-y and more interesting than most English fizz. Not the driest but it has some autolysis and interest on the nose. Delicate bead.

£75, Philglas & Swiggot

More stockists at wine-searcher.com. Next week: Jancis’s top whites

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