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Wine

Best Champagne

Champagne is the undisputed king of the sparkling wines. Vintners in Champagne, France have been perfecting the art of bottle fermentation for hundreds of years and though similarly styled wines are made all over the world, there isn't any sparkling wine that tops a really good Champagne.

France has stringent regulations about what kind of grapes can be grown in what regions. In Champagne, there are three types of grapes that can be grown, Chardonnay, a white wine grape, and Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, which are both red wine grapes. Blanc de Blanc Champagnes are always made from Chardonnay, while Blanc de Noirs are usually made from a majority of Pinot Noir that can be blended with the other two types of grapes.

Once the grapes have been pressed and the wine fermented, it is bottled with some of the yeast. The yeast finishes turning sugar into alcohol while sealed in the bottle, releasing carbon dioxide as a byproduct. Since there's nowhere for the carbon dioxide to escape to from a sealed bottle, over time, the wine becomes carbonated.

You'll notice the terms dry, extra-dry, or brut appear on each bottle of Champagne. These terms describe the amount of residual sugar in wine, with dry having the most sugar and brut the least. Occasionally, Champagnes may also be labeled extra brut and brut nature, which are drier than brut. Champagnes also have a year or the letters NV, printed on the bottle. NV stands for Non-Vintage, which means that the wine is blended from grapes harvested over a number of different years. While many NV Champagnes are very well made, NV Champagnes are not considered to be the highest quality. This means you can buy them for less than you'd spend on a vintage wine. If you're set on getting the best Champagne out there, make sure you buy a wine from a year when the harvest was excellent. 2004 was the best recent vintage in France.

Piper Heidsieck Champagne Brut

Piper Heidsieck Champagne Brut

Named one of Wine Spectator's Top 100 wines, Piper Heidsieck Champagne Brut tops this list as our favorite cheap Champagne. A blanc de noir, this wine is made primarily of Pinor Noir, with a touch of Pinot Meunier for added complexity. As a brut, this Champagne has a crisp, dry finish without any sweetness despite the soft, mellow flavors. It has notes of smoke and toast on the nose, and a full fruit-forward flavor that finishes with a hint of citrus and ginger. This wine will also hold up to a few years in the wine cellar, in case you're hoping to save some for later.

Nicolas Feuillatte Brut

Nicolas Feuillatte Brut

With a creamy texture and plenty of perfect, tiny bubbles, Nicolas Feuillatte Brut is one of the best cheap Champagnes you can buy. Each batch is aged for at least two years prior to release and can be aged for up to another five at home. There's a lot of perfume to the nose of this wine, as well as honeysuckle, pear, and floral notes. The bouquet also has plenty of fruit, and the finish is clean and dry. Nicolas Feuillatte has won numerous awards for this wine, and frequently receives ratings of 90 points and above by wine critics.

Canard-Duchene Champagne Brut

Canard-Duchene Champagne Brut

Canard-Duchene Champagne Brut is an excellent sparkling wine that's one of the most affordable on the market. It's got a clean, mineral finish, with plenty of toasted yeast notes and an excellent, lively bubble. This wine also has plenty of green apple notes from the Chardonnay grapes, and nuances of honey and flowers from the Pinot Noir. As complex as many vintage Champagnes, this wine is well-loved by critics and connoisseurs. Since it's non-vintage, you can also count on a consistent flavor profile each time you buy it.

Moet & Chandon Imperial Champagne

Moet & Chandon Imperial Champagne

Blended from no less than 100 different wines, Moet & Chandon Imperial is one of the most consistent Champagnes there are. The vintners have been perfecting their formula and process since 1869, and have created a complex wine that shows off all three of the grapes grown in the Champagne region of France; Pinot Noir, Pino Meunier, and Chardonnay. This Champagne has a lot of bright fruit, a fine bubble, and a crisp finish that makes it very easy to drink.

Laurent-Perrier Brut

Laurent-Perrier Brut

Laurent-Perrier Brut is an excellent cheap Champagne that's blended from a high percentage of Chardonnay grapes. This gives the wine a lightness and delicateness that's hard to get from blanc de noir Champagnes. The pale gold hue makes it easy to see the fine bubbles that bead slowly from the bottom of the glass. The nose of this wine is fresh and slightly fruity, and the flavor shows off a hint of citrus and white fruit. The finish is nice and dry, making this an ideal Champagne to enjoy with seafood or as an aperitif.

Krug Grande Cuvee

Krug Grande Cuvee

Krug Grande Cuvee is widely regarded as one of the best Champagnes in the world. This non-vintage wine is blended from 120 crus taken from 15 years of harvests. It takes around 20 years to craft each wine, which is carefully blended so that each year's release tastes just like the year before. This makes Krug Grande Cuvee one of the most reliable Champagnes on the market. Critics consistently give this Champagne a rating of over 95 points, for its complexity and excellent balance. It has a sweet nose, with aromas of dried fruit, flowers, and gingerbread, and a rich, nutty flavor with a long finish.

Dom Perignon Vintage Champagne 2004

Dom Perignon Vintage Champagne 2004

Dom Perignon is an instantly recognizable name that's synonymous with fine Champagne. Dom Perignon '04 didn't just earn its spot on this list because of it's name recognition, though. This complex, mineraly Champagne is one of the best out there. Dom Perignon is only available by vintage, and 2004 is by far the best recently released year. This Champagne is rich and smokey, with lots of white fruit, honey, and cherry on the palate. The finish is long and incredibly clean, with just a hint of spice, and the fine bubble gives this wine a light and crisp mouthfeel. If you're hoping to buy a few extra bottles to save, this vintage is also bold enough to stand up to a number of years of proper storage.

Joseph Perrier Champagne Josephine 2004

Joseph Perrier Champagne Josephine 2004

Joseph Perrier is a well-known vintner that makes a Champagne for every taste and budget. One of their best current releases is the Josephine '04, a beautiful gold-colored wine blended mostly from Chardonnay grapes. The bubble is vibrant and explosive, making this Champagne dance on the tongue. It has a complex flavor profile, with notes of tropical fruit and vanilla, and a bouquet that's fruit forward with a hint of buttered bread. The finish is long and the acid well-balanced. Josephine has also been given scores of over 95 points by a number of well-respected wine critics.

Bollinger Grande Annee Brut '04

Bollinger Grande Annee Brut '04

The perfect blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay has helped to make Bollinger Grande Annee Brut '04 one of our Best Champagnes. As a brut, this wine is full-bodied without a touch of sweetness. It has notes of bread, brandied fruit, spice, and stone, and a clean, slightly bitter finish. It's also bold enough to hold up to decades of aging in the wine cellar, and indeed will benefit from at least a few years, though there's no reason you can't drink it right away. In order to get the most from this Champagne's complexity, you'll want to enjoy it at cellar temperature, which is around 50 degrees, instead of straight from the refrigerator.

Taittinger Brut  La Francaise

Taittinger Brut La Francaise

The Champagne of choice at Hollywood parties, Taittinger Brut La Francaise is an excellent Champagne that won't burn a hole in your bank account. This non-vintage wine is blended from 40 percent Chardonnay and 60 percent Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, taken from vintages dating back 35 years. This makes it an incredibly reliable Champagne that will taste the same from year to year. It's a creamy wine, with a fruit-forward nose and a touch of fruit and honey on the palate. It has a fine bubble and a crisp mouthfeel. Though it's already been aged for at least three years before release, it can benefit from a few more years in the wine cellar.

Moet & Chandon Imperial

Our favorite Champagne for mimosas is Moet & Chandon Imperial. This Champagne is made from a blend of 100 different wines, giving it incredible consistency from year to year, and features all three classic Champagne grapes, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. It's also highly rated by professional wine critics and bold enough that you can taste the flavor of the wine over the sweetness of the orange juice. With a vigorous, fine bubble, Moet & Chandon will also remain quite bubbly even when mixed with juice.

Montaudon Brut

Montaudon Brut

The citrus notes of Montaudon Brut pair beautifully with freshly squeezed orange juice in a mimosa. This Champagne is made from a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier taken from multiple harvests. This helps to keep this non-vintage wine consistent from year to year. The bubbles in this Champagne are long-lasting which means that your mimosa will stay bubbly while you enjoy breakfast or conversation with friends. It's also one of the least expensive Champagnes out there, so you won't have to break the bank to use genuine Champagne in your mimosa.

Champagne Cuvee Victoire

Champagne Cuvee Victoire

Though it's dry on the palate, Champagne Cuvee Victoire is an incredibly fruit-forward wine that is a great choice for mimosas. This wine has flavors of mango and apple, which are sweet fruit flavors that blend well with the acidity of orange juice. Though there's a lot of fruit to this wine, it's not at all sweet and features a clean, acidic finish. Cuvee Victoire is a relatively new winery in Champagne, which is one of the reasons that it's available for a good price. Though the winery was established in 1989, the winemakers are fourth generation, bringing a wealth of knowledge and technique to this Champagne, which is well-regarded by critics.

Veuve Clicquot Brut

Veuve Clicquot Brut

A non-vintage wine, Veuve Clicquot is a classical, dry Champagne that brings a bit of bitterness to the sweet mimosa. It has notes of grapefruit, which pairs well with orange juice, and plenty of fine bubbles that will keep your mimosa carbonated while you enjoy brunch. This wine is a blend of all three Champagne grapes and crafted from up to 40 percent reserve wines, allowing it a great deal of consistency from year to year. As it ages, Veuve Clicquot will develop notes of brioche and vanilla so if you like the sharp tang of a crisp Champagne in your mimosa, you'll want to enjoy this wine while it's still young.

Canard-Duchene Champagne Brut

Canard-Duchene Champagne Brut

Canard-Duchene Champagne Brut is an excellent sparkling wine that's one of the most affordable on the market. It's got a clean, mineral finish, with plenty of toasted yeast notes and an excellent, lively bubble. This wine also has plenty of green apple notes from the Chardonnay grapes, and nuances of honey and flowers from the Pinot Noir. As complex as many vintage Champagnes, this wine is well-loved by critics and connoisseurs. Since it's non-vintage, you can also count on a consistent flavor profile each time you buy it.

Crystal Beran
Crystal Beran has spent the past 10 years immersed in the exciting and delicious world of food and drink. She has honed her cooking skills as a baker, a caterer, and a personal chef, and currently spends a good deal of her time training the next generation of young chefs. Her work as a wine steward has helped her to develop a discerning palate and a love of excellent wines from all over the world. Over the years, she has had the good fortune to visit wineries in Northern California, Tanzania, France, and Italy. In her spare time, she brews beer and invents delectable dishes to share with friends, family, and students.
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