The imminent arrival of Christmas and New Year marks the beginning of Champagne season, a time where there’s no excuse needed to enjoy a bottle of bubbles – and never has that been truer than now, as 2020 and its many challenges draws to a close. If you’re considering treating yourself – or your portfolio – to a more premium sparkler this year, consider a case or two from these producers, rated the most popular in the world.*
1. Dom Perignon
The ‘Father of Champagne’, Dom Perignon was a 17th century monk and cellar master at the Benedictine abbey in Hautvillers. He helped to pioneer the development of sparkling wines, with the Champagne brand named in his honour creaingd its first vintage in 1921. Since then, the label – produced by Moet & Chandon (see below) – has become synonymous with top quality vintage Champagne. The brand creates three Champagnes: the vintage, a rose, and a further offering called Plenitude 2.
Average price per bottle according to Wine-Searcher: £157
2. Louis Roederer
One of the few remaining independent, family-run Champagne houses in France, Louis Roederer was founded in 1776. Today, the Reims-based producer makes a number of Champagnes, including its multi-vintages and unique ‘Brut Nature’ expression. However, its best-known label is undoubtedly Cristal – a blend favoured by rockstars and nobility alike. Its Cristal Vinotheque blend builds on the classic with additional aging, allowing the wine to develop a more complex bouquet and even more evolved flavours.
Average price per bottle according to Wine-Searcher: £208
Another long-established Champagne producer, Taittinger’s roots date back to the 18th century, although the label as we know it today first came to life in 1932. The house produces a wide variety of Champagnes, but its standouts are undoubtedly its 100% Chardonnay Comtes de Champagne and its Comtes de Champagne Rose (comprising 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay). Taittinger was also one of the first French Champagne houses to plant its vines in England, with its first bottle – made from grapes grown near Kent – expected in 2023.
Average price per bottle according to Wine-Searcher: £132
Founded by Joseph Krug in 1843, the House of Krug is notable in that it produces a Champagne every single year. Its current line-up includes a non-vintage Grande Cuvee, Krug Vintage, Krug Rose, its famed Clos du Mesmil, the Clos d’Ambonnay and the Krug Collection, an extension of Krug Vintage, consisting of bottles that have been kept in the house's cellars in Reims for at least ten additional years to allow the development of second-life aromas and flavours.
Average price per bottle according to Wine-Searcher: £271
Founded in the early 20th century by Eugene Aime Salon, Champagne Salon is a small producer with a monopoly in singularity. Its wines are born of a single terroir: the Cotes des Blancs; a single cru: Le Mesnil-sur-Oger; and a single grape: Chardonnay. The house has released just 38 vintages since its first in 1921, the latest being the 2008 which is available only in magnum format. Its limited production and select methodology means Salon is a Champagne label that often commands higher prices.
Average price per bottle according to Wine-Searcher: £613
6. Moet & Chandon
Also known simply as Moet, Moet & Chandon is one of the most prominent Champagne houses in the world, as well as co-owner of luxury goods company LVMH. Owner of prestigious label Dom Perignon, Moet was first established in 1743, and launched its bestselling Brut Imperial in the 1860s. The house produces a number of other Champagne lines, including ‘Ice’ and ‘Nectar’, but it’s it iconic Imperial that continues to stand the test of time.
Average price per bottle according to Wine-Searcher: £55
Affectionately known by long-time fans simply as ‘Bolly’, Bollinger was founded in the Ay region in 1829 and is to this day run by members of the Bollinger family. In addition to its non-vintage Special Cuvee, Bollinger produces a range of vintage Champagnes including Vieille Vignes Françaises, R.D., and its famed Grande Annee. More recently, the house has introduced the ‘PN VZ15’, which it bills as a ‘unique vision of Pinot Noir’ from Verzenay.
Average price per bottle according to Wine-Searcher: £110
8. Pol Roger
Owned and run by descendants of winemaker Pol Roger, this Champagne house – established in 1849 – holds the prominent title of purveyors of Champagne to Queen Elizabeth II, and its prestige label, Cuvee Sir Winston Churchill, is so named for the former Prime Minister’s fondness for the wine. The house also produces three other vintages: a Brut, a Blanc de Blancs and a rose, as well as several non-vintages.
Average price per bottle according to Wine-Searcher: £187
Based in the Epernay region of Champagne, Perrier-Jouet was founded in 1811 by Pierre-Nicolas Perrier and Rose Adelaide Jouet. The house produces both vintage and non-vintage cuvee, although the jewel in its crown is certainly its prestige label Belle Epoque. This is produced as a Brut, a rose and a Blanc de Blancs – the latter being the showpiece of the range.
Average price per bottle according to Wine-Searcher: £131
10. Veuve Clicquot
One of the largest Champagne houses in the world, Veuve Clicquot – established in 1772 – owes a great deal to the wife of its founder, Philippe Clicquot. Known as ‘Madame Clicquot’, this pioneering woman has been credited with creating the first known vintage Champagne, as well as the first known blended rose Champagne. Today, the house produces a range of Champagnes, although its famed Yellow Label Brut is perhaps the most iconic. In a tribute to Madame Clicquot, the house also produces La Grande Dame, the latest release of which is the 2012 vintage.
Average price per bottle according to Wine-Searcher: £128
* All data correct at time of writing, as consolidated by wine-searcher.com.