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.
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.
£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
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
Signature wine from the estimable Ridgeview. Very frothy. Edgy in terms of acidity. Very clean but pretty tart.
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
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
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
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
Full Terms and Conditions
The FT Weekend Magazine prize draw (“FT Prize Draw”)
1. By entering into the FT Prize Draw, Participants agree to these terms and conditions and acknowledge that failure to comply with them may result in disqualification. The FT Prize Draw shall be void where prohibited by local law. All national and local laws and regulations shall apply.
2. The FT Prize Draw is open to participants in the UK only. Participants must be over 18 years of age. Employees and immediate family members of employees of The Financial Times Limited (“FT”) and its associated companies, professional advisers, advertising and promotional agencies are not eligible to take part in the FT Prize Draw.
3. To enter the FT Prize Draw, simply collect the four passwords printed in FT Weekend Magazine in Jancis Robinson’s column: one each will appear on 30 December 2013, 7 December 2013, 14 December 2013 and 21 December 2013. Entry period is from 23 December 2013 until 31 December 2013. Answers should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Champagne prize draw 2013” in the subject line. Only one entry per person is permitted. Multiple or incomplete entries will be deemed to be invalid.
4. The winning prize (“Prize”) consists of 6 bottles of Laurent Perrier Grand Siecle champagne for the winner. There will be one winner.
5. The winner of the Prize will be the first eligible entry drawn at random who has correctly collected all 4 passwords. The winner will be drawn by FT on Friday 3 January 2014.
6. FT shall notify the selected winner by Friday 31 January 2014 and provide details of how to claim the Prize. If the Prize is declined or unclaimed by the winner, or if the winner cannot be contacted from the details supplied within 3 business days of notification, a replacement winner may be drawn at the FT’s discretion and will be notified by the FT. The original entry that was drawn will then be forfeited.
7. The result of the draw is final and no correspondence will be entered into. The Prize is non-transferable, non-refundable and has no cash value if not used.
8. The winner may be required to complete and return an eligibility form stating their age and residency details.
9. By entering the FT Prize Draw, the winner agrees to take part in any publicity relating to the FT Prize Draw by FT if the winner is invited to do so without further compensation.
10. FT reserves the right to cancel or amend these Terms and Conditions or change the Prize (to one of equivalent value) as required by the circumstances. There is no cash alternative.
11. FT cannot accept responsibility for or liability arising from Participants taking part in the FT Prize Draw or for taking up the Prize. FT gives no warranty or guarantee in relation to the Prize and accepts no responsibility or liability for the Prize being amended by FT. To the fullest extent permissible by law, FT excludes liability for all loss, damage or claim arising as a result of the Participant’s entry into the FT Prize Draw or use of the Prize.
12. These terms and conditions shall be governed by and construed in accordance with English law. Disputes arising in connection with this FT Competition shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.
13. The Promoter is The Financial Times Ltd, Number One Southwark Bridge, London, SE1 9HL.