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Home Winners > Winners 2017 > Champagne NV & VINTAGE

Winner Details

Champagne: NV & VINTAGE

2017 Gold: 8 Silver: 15 Bronze: 2 Commended: 17
2016 Gold: 10 Silver: 23 Bronze: 9 Commended: 19

A strong number of medals for champagne this year, with our tasters continuing to be impressed with the overall quality, and enjoying the riper fruit and lower dosage that seem to have become the norm for the region over the past five years.

Despite higher prices, and the rampaging hordes of prosecco clamouring at the gates, our tasters were unanimous in saying that champers remains a must-list, and one almost untouched by trends elsewhere.
Indeed, there was only one negative: a reduced number of entries (and smaller medal count as a result) for vintage champagne.

From one point of view, this is understandable. If they’re trading up, consumers tend to go for either prestige cuvées or prestigious grande marque NV; few really understand vintage champagne. And while it’s definitely good for food matching, the public are still taking some convincing that bubbles and food go together.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘It’s good to be able to get a house champagne that works with food as well. Cocktails are taking more space on the aperitif menu, so champagnes need to be able to do more.’ Raphael Thierry, Street XO

‘It was hard to throw stuff out, and the bottom end was amazing value for money.’ Laura Rhys MS, team leader

‘Vintage champagnes definitely work better than NV and rosé styles when matching with food, it’s the complexity and the array of texture and flavours that they bring to the table.’ Angela Reddin, team leader

‘There were a lot more good value wines at the cheaper end, so there’s no excuse for having poor champagne on the list.’ Mike Best, WSET

‘There’s a lot of English sparking and cava going out, but champagne will always set the benchmark in terms of prices.’ Harry Crowther, M Wine Store

‘When do you have champagne? You have it at the start of the meal. I don’t have the chance to match it with food much.’ James Fryer, Portland Restaurant

‘The vintage champagnes were good value regardless of what their price point was.’ Hamish Anderson, Tate Catering

STAR PERFORMER

 

Congratulations to Champagne Lanson, who picked up three Golds at this year’s Sommelier Wine Awards, for their Extra Age brut, their off-dry White Label, and their NV rosé. A fine performance!

Award winners

Found 33 wines

Sparkling: Champagne – NV

Besserat de Bellefon, Cuvée des Moines, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Gold medal winner

‘Rich and yeasty, showing yellow fruits and good mousse,’ began Street XO’s Raphael Thierry of this worthy Gold winner, with team leader Sam Caporn MW finding ‘intriguing aromas and flavours with apple notes, tight acidity and a pretty, fresh, yeasty style’. Sumilier’s Sumi Sarma enjoyed ‘mouthwatering acidity with underlying minerality’, while The Ned Hotel’s Giancarlo Cuccuru saw this working well with seafood.

£22.92 Bibendum , Matthew Clark

Lanson, Extra Age, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Gold medal winner

Describing this highly acclaimed Gold winner, Giuseppe Longobardi of The 3A Pub Company found ‘hazelnuts and cream on the nose, then a lemon and grapefruit palate with baked fig notes on the finish and a touch of warm butter’, while The Sign of the Don’s Carlos Ferreira enjoyed its ‘red and green apple nose, creamy, oily texture, hints of rose and amazing finish’. ‘A haute cuisine wine suited to white-meat dishes,’ said Tanya Mann of Linden House Stansted, adding: ‘I could sip this all night. A meditation wine for champagne lovers.’

£40.24 Bibendum , Matthew Clark

Lanson, White Label NV, Champagne, France

Gold medal winner

Mike Best of the WSET enjoyed this off-dry Gold Lister’s ‘rich and inviting, bold green apple fruit on the nose, followed by balanced sweetness and freshness on the palate, which would pair very well with grilled king scallops’, while Giuseppe Longobardi of The 3A Pub Company also noted ‘toasted nuts, baked peach with marzipan on a toasty finish’. ‘It would be interesting to try this not only with desserts, but with a dish like vegetable curry and rice, too,’ concluded Tanya Mann of Linden House Stansted.

£27.32 Bibendum , Matthew Clark

Palmer, Blanc de Blancs NV, Champagne, France

Gold medal winner

A delicate and mineral character led Palmer to the Gold podium with its blanc de blancs. ‘Fresh style, with lemon and marzipan, brioche and green pepper notes on the nose,’ said Piotr Artur Tomaszewski of Buddha Bar, who found ‘lemon and lime fruit with camomile and wild strawberry on the palate, which is elegant and well structured with a lightly oxidative character’. ‘Fantastic acidity makes this a perfect pairing for lobster thermidor,’ added Marek Rakowski of Harbour Heights Hotel.

£28.72 Bibendum

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

Gold medal winner

Ultra-dry Gold winner Drappier earned judges’ praise for its rich complexity and food friendliness. ‘Complex aromas with lemon, good typical character on the palate with slightly high acidity,’ began Tanya Mann of Linden House Stansted, with team leader Angela Reddin finding ‘plenty of autolysis, biscuity and mineral notes, good for gastropubs’. ‘Pair with tandoori chicken,’ suggested Tamarind of Mayfair’s Chantal Serrano.

£29.79 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Cour des Lys, M², Merveilles de Marne NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

Alessandro de Angelis of Jamavar Restaurant felt this had a ‘lovely nose with bakery shop sensations, brioche and plum notes, followed by a fresh style on the palate that has hints of nutmeg and dried citrus’.

£24.88 Cour Des Lys

Gremillet, Blanc de Blancs, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

‘Elegant, light nose of yeasty apple fruit, attractive lemon zest on the finish,’ began team leader Tom Forrest, while J Corey Evans of St Swithins Wine Shippers found it ‘good value, with bread and brioche aromas, nettle and yeasty notes, sour apple fruit and fine mousse’.

£21.91 Boutinot, Christopher Piper Wines

De Castelnau, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

‘With its mineral, salty character, smoky style and good body and length, this is very pleasant and consumer-friendly, would be good for a gastropub,’ said Tanya Mann of Linden House Stansted.

£18.95 Castelnau Wine Agencies

De Castelnau, Brut Réserve NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

J Corey Evans of St Swithins Wine Shippers was impressed with its ‘overall very refined, rounded and elegant’ style, noting ‘golden apple turnover and Marmite yeasty notes, giving very good value’, while Buddha Bar’s Piotr Artur Tomaszewski found ‘camomile, fresh green grass and notes of raspberry’.

£19.95 Castelnau Wine Agencies

Lallier, R.012, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

‘Nutty aromas with baking apples and leesy/yeasty notes make a savoury style with a balance of fruit – has a place, and good for food,’ said WSET’s Mike Best, while Giuseppe Longobardi of The 3A Pub Company liked its ‘nice, bright zesty orange, pain d’épice and warm butter nose, and fresh, clean taste and finish’.

£21.53 Boutinot

Taittinger, Prélude, Grands Crus, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

Tanya Mann of Linden House Stansted was impressed with its ‘very beautiful style’, and found it ‘very complex, with many layers of aroma, spicy apple and nutmeg hints on a lemon fruit palate with great length – very gastronomic’. ‘Woody, toasty nose, older vintages showing through and loads of toasty, nutty elements,’ added team leader Angela Reddin.

£32.86 Hatch Mansfield, Matthew Clark

Lanson Père et Fils, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

‘A taut, fresh style, dominated by citrus and green apple,’ began Mike Best of the WSET, advising: ‘Linear on the palate, this will greatly benefit from time in the glass to open up.’

£24.93 Bibendum , Matthew Clark

Chanoine Frères, Tsarine, Cuvée Premium, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

Team leader Sam Caporn MW noted ‘a touch of development and some honeycomb hints, a broader and richer style with good length and toast’, while Street XO’s Raphael Thierry found it ‘rich and biscuity with a touch of almond on the palate and a fresh finish’.

£22.52 Bibendum , Matthew Clark

Bruno Paillard, Première Cuvée, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

The Sign of the Don’s Carlos Ferreira enjoyed its ‘soft nose of citrus fruit, lemon and lime, with hints of fresh apple and grape juice, followed by a creamy textured palate, very well balanced with good body and a beautiful finish’.

£31.58 Bibendum

Palmer, Blanc de Noirs NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

Alessandro de Angelis of Jamavar Restaurant first noted its ‘rich, bright gold colour’, before highlighting ‘complex aromas reminiscent of honey and pineapple chutney, smooth and soft texture on the palate with an oaky sensation, if a little low on acidity’.

£27.71 Bibendum

Paul Drouet, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

‘An attractive nose showing autolytic development, with fresh acidity and good balance on the palate,’ said team leader Sam Caporn MW, with Alessandro de Angelis of Jamavar Restaurant adding: ‘Generous, full of flowery and fragrant character yet fresh and crisp.’

£14.72 Majestic Commercial

Baron de Villeboerg, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

Team leader Laura Rhys MS noted its ‘bright citrus and good, delicate mousse’, describing it as ‘great value’, while The Sign of the Don’s Carlos Ferreira highlighted ‘floral and citrus, high acidity and red and green apples and lemon on the finish’.

£16.48 Bibendum

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

Silver medal winner

Sake No Hana’s Tobias Brauweiler MS noted ‘yellow fruit, creamy texture, buttery apple on the palate and notes of hazelnut cream on the finish’, while Harry Crowther of M Wine Store enjoyed its ‘great freshness and racy acidity’.

£25.30 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Drappier, Zéro Dosage, Brut Nature NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

‘Candied apple and a touch of brioche on the nose, but it’s fruit-driven with a lean and crisp, saline finish,’ said Harry Crowther of M Wine Store, while Sake No Hana’s Tobias Brauweiler MS noted ‘a lively green apple and citric nose, crisp acidity and roasted almonds on the palate’.

£26.93 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Gremillet, Sélection, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Bronze medal winner

Consultant sommelier Rebecca Coates noted ‘light citrus fruits on the nose, lemon and grapefruit, followed by a bright palate that’s fresh with good acidity’, adding: ‘Plucky!’ Team leader Tom Forrest highlighted its ‘creamy mousse, and apple and lemon meringue pie notes’.

£18.14 Boutinot, Christopher Piper Wines

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

Bronze medal winner

‘Fresh lemon citrus aromas; soft, round and fruity on the palate. Approachable house champagne style that delivers great value for money,’ said WSET’s Mike Best. ‘Ripe fruit, dosage giving nice texture,’ added team leader Laura Rhys MS.

£16.01 Boutinot

Janisson & Fils, Grand Cru, Blanc de Noirs NV, Champagne, France

Commended medal winner

H Blin, Jules Feraud, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Commended medal winner

Gremillet, Blanc de Noirs, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Commended medal winner

Taittinger, Folies de la Marquetterie NV, Champagne, France

Commended medal winner

Lanson, Black Label NV, Chamapagne , France

Commended medal winner

Palmer, Brut Réserve NV, Champagne , France

Commended medal winner

£22.65 Bibendum

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

Commended medal winner

Charles Heidsieck, Brut Réserve NV, Champagne , France

Commended medal winner

£31.46 Liberty Wines

Devaux, Cuvée D, Aged 5 Years NV, Champagne , France

Commended medal winner

£28.76 Liberty Wines

Moutard, Champ Persin, Chardonnay NV, Champagne , France

Commended medal winner

Gobillard, Grande Réserve, 1er Cru Brut NV, Champagne , France

Commended medal winner

£26.39 Enotria&Coe

Gobillard, Tradition, Brut NV, Champagne , France

Commended medal winner

£24.84 Enotria&Coe

 

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