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Home Winners > Winners 2015 > Champagne NV

Winner Details

Champagne: NV


2015: Gold 4 Silver 13 Bronze 6 Commended 11
2014: Gold 4 Silver 11 Bronze 10 Commended 9


The good news first: on this evidence there’s plenty of good non-vintage champagne around, in pretty much any style you want, from fresh to rich, and ultra-brut to off-dry. The bad news? It ain’t cheap: prices have gone up about 25% over the past five years, leaving restaurants either to pour smaller measures, negotiate harder with suppliers, or swallow the difference. Decisions, decisions.

Star performer

Well done to Drappier and Charles Heidsieck, both of whom picked up Gold for the second and third year running, respectively.

From the Tasting Teams


‘In a category that can often disappoint, these really over-achieved, especially in the ultra-brut category, with real maturity and roundness.’ Michael Harrison, consultant

‘For me, acidity is the tipping point. They need freshness, but once they start to get green flavours the klaxons go off.’ Neil Bruce, Studio Alto

‘We had diversity: something from every corner of the spectrum, rich and ripe as well as fresh and clean and crisp. It’s always good to have options for different kind of customers!’ Sandro Lyhs, Oxo Tower Bar

‘I really enjoyed the off-dry styles. I think they’re absolutely brilliant with the right food.’ William Sheard, Donostia Restaurants

‘Some were a little too light, even for a house champagne – you need some character for the guests to enjoy, as it is not a cheap option.’ Frédéric Jean-Yves Billet, Luton Hoo Hotel Golf & Spa

‘The expensive wines in this flight were very good, but there was also some really good value to be found.’ James Hocking, The Vineyard Group



Award winners

Found 34 wines

Sparkling: Champagne – NV

Charles Heidsieck, Brut Réserve NV, Champagne, France

Gold medal winner

Summing it up as 'delicious', team leader Angela Reddin described this wine as: 'Lightly autolytic nose, quite deeply coloured with lots going on. Has presence and class.' Consultant Michael Harrison agreed, saying: 'Much richer, more elegant palate', while team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW suggested matching Charles Heidsieck's NV with brown crab salad or razor clams.

£28.02 Liberty Wines

Drappier, Brut Nature Zéro Dosage, Sans Ajout de Soufre NV, Champagne, France

Gold medal winner Critics Choice

With its lean, pure elegance, Drappier provided a welcome touch of finesse. Andrea Fasan of La Petite Maison noted: 'Lovely complex nose, this is refreshing and fragrant, with elegant acidity and beautiful length.' Consultant Michael Harrison felt this was 'creamy and rich for an ultra-dry', with its pale yellow colour and evolved, yeasty aromas. Team leader Angela Reddin added: 'Mineral, wet chalk with plenty of oomph on the palate.'

£24.22 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Lallier, Grande Réserve, Grand Cru Brut NV, Champagne, France

Gold medal winner

'Great value and tastes like liquid gold,' said Roger Jones of The Harrow at Little Bedwyn, summarising the impact of Lallier's Grand Réserve, before adding: 'Toasty brioche, with full, deep flavour and fresh acidity, this delivers well, with plenty of body.' 'There's a zippy, fresh apple character spritz to this wine's elegance and length,' added team leader Jade Koch.

£18.70 Boutinot

De Castelnau, Brut Réserve NV, Champagne, France

Gold medal winner

Balance and depth stole the panel's heart. 'Vanilla, apple tatin, lemons, peaches, pears, cooked apricots,' said Julien Sahut of Wine Culture, while Roger Jones of The Harrow at Little Bedwyn found this 'very evolved' and full of character: 'Toasty, ripe, chunky, full flavoured, with bright freshness. Good balance, with soft lime, stone fruits and mushroom truffle notes.'

£24.96 Spirited Wines, Castelnau Wine Agencies

Gremillet, Comtesse de Genlis, Cuvée Félicité Brut NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

'Delicate and persistent mousse, fresh and dry with well-balanced dosage,' said team leader Annette Scarfe MW, with William Sheard of Donostia Restaurants adding: 'Yeasty and bright, with fresh lemon.'

£15.85 Molson Coors

Serge Mathieu, Tradition Brut NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

'Clean, youthful and fruity, lemon sorbet aromas,' said Neil Bruce of Studio Alto, adding: 'Dry, crisp, with decent balance on the palate.' 'Crunchy fruit with some minerality,' commented team leader Angela Reddin.

£24.79 Bibendum

Perrier-Jouët, Grand Brut NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

Yves Desmaris MS of Lutyens found good complexity, freshness and 'nutty almond gingerbread', while Roger Jones of The Harrow at Little Bedwyn noted: 'Lovely nose, rich stone fruit, lingering, fresh. Not too fizzy. Beautiful on the palate, with good depth, elegance, and complex hints of truffle and peaches.'

£33.51 Pernod Ricard UK

GH Mumm, Mumm de Cramant, Blanc de Blancs NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

'Elegant, soft mousse with defined complexity and great bubbles,' enthused consultant Deborah-Lynn Morris. 'Big, creamy, peach melba. Intense, complex, lovely style,' agreed team leader Simon Woods, adding: 'Almost a wine to decant.'

£61.67 Pernod Ricard UK

Lanson, Père Et Fils Brut NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

'Opulent, ripe, full bodied. Clean and creamy, with biscuity notes and brioche. Good wine,' said The Vineyard Group's James Hocking. 'Fleshy fruit, balanced and crisp. Hints of dry fruitiness, with floral notes and yeasty complexity,' added team leader Simon Woods.

£24.80 Bibendum , Matthew Clark

Lanson, Extra Age Brut NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

'Lovely yeasty character, lemony fresh, with some development,' said Studio Alto's Neil Bruce. While consultant Michael Harrison commented: 'Lovely complex red fruit palate, this is long and intense', team leader Angela Reddin said: 'Bright, crunchy fruit with layers of flavour.'

£39.20 Bibendum , Matthew Clark

Taittinger, Brut Réserve NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

'Very well balanced, with its fresh fruit nicely tied in with secondary aromas and brioche notes,' noted Oxo Tower Bar's Sandro Lyhs. 'Mousse is persistent, with a creamy, rich palate, and oaking gives texture and appeal,' added team leader Annette Scarfe MW.

£24.37 Hatch Mansfield

Taittinger, Les Folies de La Marquetterie NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

Team leader Annette Scarfe MW found 'layers of complexity' here, making it: 'Fresh and dry with persistent mousse. Creamy and attractive.' 'Lovely freshness and balance,' agreed William Sheard of Donostia Restaurants.

£34.38 Hatch Mansfield

Drappier, Signature, Blancs de Blancs Brut NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

Team leader Annette Scarfe MW noted 'bruised apples on the nose', adding: 'Shows complexity on the mid-palate.' 'Oxidative, but fruit, autolytic notes and acidity well balanced,' said William Sheard of Donostia Restaurants.

£25.27 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Vincent Couche, Eclipsia Brut, Biodynamic NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

Roger Jones of The Harrow at Little Bedwyn considered this to have a 'masculine, steely and stony' style, finding plenty of diverse character: 'Marmite, brioche, toasty lime marmalade aromas. Rich and quite fizzy, with rich stone fruits and ripe peaches.'

£22.50 The Flying Corkscrew

Lallier, Zéro Dosage, Grand Cru NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

'Good mousse with a pearlescent nose. Soft, with a gently creamy palate,' said consultant Michael Harrison. 'Super-dry and tightly linear, balanced and lingering,' added Neil Bruce of Studio Alto. Seared scallops with chanterelles was suggested as the perfect match.

£36.00 Boutinot

De Castelnau, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

'Rounded and juicy, good balanced, fruity style, yet intense,' began team leader Simon Woods. 'Crisp and elegant with soft mousse,' added consultant Deborah-Lynn Morris, while The Harrow at Little Bedwyn's Roger Jones said: 'Delicate and evolved, mellow. Would be good with food.'

£23.29 Castelnau Wine Agencies

Palmer & Co, Brut Réserve NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

'Bright, lifted nose with floral and orchard scents,' commented team leader Angela Reddin, adding: 'Generous flavours which last. A lovely champagne.' 'Good citrus, elegant,' added consultant Michael Harrison.

£23.11 Bibendum

Veuve Deloynes, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Bronze medal winner

Team leader Angela Reddin noted the 'simple pleasures' of this wine's 'lifted citrus and clean finish', while consultant Michael Harrison pointed out its 'nice mousse, yeasty character and good value'.

£12.40 Bottle Green

Ayala, Brut Majeur NV, Champagne, France

Bronze medal winner

Ticked a lot of boxes for team leader Simon Woods, who said: 'Crisp, toasty, good style, slightly forward but good citrus with bready finish.' 'Balanced, ripe and full bodied,' added James Hocking of The Vineyard Group.

£16.99 Mentzendorff & Co

Lanson, White Label NV, Champagne, France

Bronze medal winner

While William Sheard of Donostia Restaurants found 'orange, green apple and cleansing acidity', team leader Annette Scarfe MW noted an 'evolved nose and an oaky mid-palate', giving added interest.

£26.50 Bibendum , Matthew Clark

Taittinger, Prélude Grands Crus Brut NV, Champagne, France

Bronze medal winner

Team leader Simon Woods described this as 'quite intense; good, crisp, pineapple and citrus character', while James Hocking of The Vineyard Group said: 'Crisp, balanced and lean. Good fruit and weight, delicate notes of brioche and honey.'

£30.63 Hatch Mansfield

Moët & Chandon, Brut Impérial NV, Champagne, France

Bronze medal winner

'Pleasantly toasty with a touch of reductive oxidity and a long finish. Very elegant,' commented Frédéric Jean-Yves Billet of Luton Hoo Hotel Golf & Spa, with team leader Martin Lam adding: 'Clean, bright, forward, floral and zesty.'

£26.30 Moët Hennessy

Gremillet, Blanc de Noirs Brut NV, Champagne, France

Bronze medal winner

Sandro Lyhs of Oxo Tower Bar was impressed with the 'vintage character' he found in this wine: 'Creamy, buttery, ripe and rich, with delectable crème brûlée aromas.'

£19.25 Boutinot

Devaux, Cuvée D NV, Champagne , France

Commended medal winner

£26.07 Liberty Wines

GH Mumm, Cordon Rouge Brut NV, Champagne, France

Commended medal winner

Devaux, Ultra D NV, Champagne, France

Commended medal winner

£28.75 Liberty Wines

Devaux, Grande Réserve NV, Champagne , France

Commended medal winner

£21.82 Liberty Wines

Linard-Gontier, Brut NV, Champagne , France

Commended medal winner

£18.85 Eurowines

Taittinger, Nocturne Sec NV, Champagne, France

Commended medal winner

£29.38 Hatch Mansfield

Pascal Doquet, Horizon, Blanc de Blancs Brut NV, Champagne , France

Commended medal winner

Drappier, Carte d'Or Brut NV, Champagne , France

Commended medal winner

Les Rives de Marne, Guy Laforge, Brut NV, Champagne , France

Commended medal winner

£14.85 Boutinot

Gremillet, Blanc de Blancs Brut NV, Champagne , France

Commended medal winner

£19.25 Boutinot

Lombard & Co, H Lanvin & Fils, Brut NV, Champagne , France

Commended medal winner

£21.97

 

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