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Winner Details

Champagne: NV

If you want proof positive of the benefits of being able to blend vintages, then non-vintage champagne’s performance in SWA is it. It’s a model of quality and consistency. Year after year, the challenge for our tasting teams is not to find good wines, but to bring themselves to knock some back. As the big bulge of Silver medals indicates, it’s not always easy!

Pricing has been something of a challenge here for a while, but as the results show, you can still, astonishingly, find really good fizz around the £20 mark, while there’s no shortage of quality £10 north of that level.

As much as anything, choice is based on style. There were many different expressions of NV here – from light and zippy to rich and bready – so read the tasting notes (they’re all online) with care.

From The Tasting Teams

‘Champagne at this price point needs to have acidity and balance of ripeness and fruit. Around £20 to £22 for my wine list is the most useful.’ Juan Manuel Marcos Perez, The Gilbert Scott

‘We found some that were more contemporary and low intervention, all the way to the more classic, richer styles with more lees. There was versatility in price and quality too.’ Jan Konetzki, team leader

‘Overall, this was a very good standard of non-vintage, and at a reasonable price. It makes it all the more interesting to find those gems that are slightly friendlier on the wallet.’ Jan Van Heesvelde, L’Enclume

‘A very interesting flight, with loads of different characters, styles and prices.’ Chris Delalonde MS, The Dorchester

‘Ultra-dry champagnes are really good for sommeliers: they’re useful, in a pinch, with food pairings, and easy to pour in a tasting flight, while staying in budget for the customer.’ Tim Smith, Winesurfer Consulting

‘There’s definitely a place for that off-dry style, particularly with so many cuisines now where there are elements of spice. That means a wine with a bit of residual sugar.’ Martin Lam, team leader

‘Even if some stylistically aren’t your cup of tea you have to appreciate them. That array of styles is a positive.’ Nelio Pinto, Candlesticks

‘This whole flight was very good. There wasn’t one that was off pitch.’ Michael Driscoll, Careys Manor Hotel

Award winners

Found 41 wines

Sparkling: Champagne – NV

Taittinger, Nocturne, Sec NV, Champagne, France

Gold medal winner

'A lovely nose of elderflower, red apple and redcurrant, with some sweet pastry hints and sweet spice, and great balance with the sweetness on an alluring bright palate. Very much a food wine.' Angela Reddin, team leader. 'Candied citrus and fresh apricot on the nose, a delicate mousse and a clean finish make this a good match for lemon tart.' Filippo Pastorini, consultant.

£27.59 Hatch Mansfield, Matthew Clark

Taittinger, Les Folies de la Marquetterie, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Gold medal winner

'This opens with some generous lemon citrus and red apple on the nose, leading to a fresh and vibrant palate with a touch of white peach, and a long, fresh finish of apple blossom and Sicilian lemons and toast.' Claire Love, Loves Consultancy. 'A really drinkable champagne with good complexity, and some gentle and elegant bubbles. Great for fatty and complex food.' Mattia Mazzi, Cornerstone.

£39.25 Hatch Mansfield

Marc Hébrart, Blanc de Blancs, Premier Cru NV, Champagne, France

Gold medal winner

'A great wine! There's great acidity that's well balanced, with flavours from autolysis such as fresh bread, but losing none of the fresh fruit character. Some lovely bubbles too.' Chiara Sieni, MM Grocery. 'Yellow apple, ripe apricot and toast, with some yeasty, earthy notes too, and an element of crushed stone.' Markus Dilger, Dilger Sommelier Selection.

£30.91 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Lanson, Paul Drouet, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Gold medal winner

'A very expressive nose with red apples and lemon zest, as well as some biscuit, brioche complexity. There's chalky minerality on the palate, with a smooth, rounded texture.' Adam Michocki, The Man Behind The Curtain. 'A light champagne made in a fresher style, with good finesse. A nice bouquet, a good minerality on the finish.' Bianca Potenza, 212 Amsterdam.

£18.44 Majestic Commercial

Lelarge-Pugeot, Blanc de Blancs, Premier Cru, Extra Brut NV, Champagne, France

Gold medal winner

'Classic champagne, with lovely aromas of breadcrumbs, pear and apple, as well as a flinty minerality.' Rémi Cousin, Le Gavroche. 'A well-balanced, full-bodied Pinot-led champagne that's generous and voluminous.' Mattia Mazzi, Cornerstone. 'A very mineral style, with green apple, lemon pith and chalk, leading to a very long palate with decent mousse and a lip-smacking finish.' Angela Reddin, team leader.

£31.00 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Gremillet, Sélection, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Gold medal winner

'A light but rounded style with ripe yellow fruit, stone fruit and a touch of pink grapefruit, as well as a nutty, butter biscuit element and some refreshing lime acidity on the long finish, with a smooth mousse.' Carolina W Seibel, Comptoir Cafe and Wine. 'A refreshing, crisp champagne that's a really great option for a lot of pubs and bars at this price.' Sam Weatherill, Etch. by Steven Edwards.

£20.00 Boutinot, Christopher Piper Wines

Alfred Gratien, Brut Classique NV, Champagne, France

Gold medal winner

'For those looking for a more fruity champagne, this is expressive, with flavours of mature apples and pears, following a floral, expressive nose.' Alonso Abed, Trivet. 'A very complex wine, with lemon, lemon zest and crunchy green apples, as well as toast, brioche and biscuit. Well structured, with a long finish, and some good potential for ageing.' Adam Michocki, The Man Behind The Curtain.

£34.34 Enotria&Coe

Besserat de Bellefon, Cuvée BB 1843 NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

'A serious champagne, with toasted cashews and toasted croissant notes, and some dried lemon and apple notes on the palate.' Alonso Abed, Trivet. 'Nutty and bready on the yeasty nose, with some cooking spices, ginger and sage, leading to a complex and earthy mid palate. Mineral throughout, with a zingy finish.' Chris Delalonde MS, The Dorchester.

£303.35 Lanson International UK Ltd

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

Silver medal winner

'A fresh but eloquent wine, with high complexity and an intense nose dominated by primary fruit skins, as well as ginger root and spices. A complex, rich concentrated palate follows, with lingering acidity and bright, ripe fruit.' Chris Delalonde MS, The Dorchester. 'An elegant style of champagne with clean vibrant mousse and lovely subtle spices. I could easily see this paired with some oysters or fresh scallops.' Sarah McKenzie, Nut Tree Inn.

£35.00 Hatch Mansfield

Lacourte-Godbillon , Mi-Pentes, Premier Cru NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

'Fervent and racy, this is very tense and very mineral, with purity of fruit and precision.' Mattia Mazzi, Cornerstone. 'Intense yet delicate, with flavours of yeast, brioche, roasted almonds and green apple.' Lucie Hammerschmiedova, Portland Restaurant. 'With good stony minerality and good weight, this would complement fish in a creamy sauce.' Filippo Pastorini, consultant.

£38.78 Bibendum

Gosset, Grande Réserve NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

'Very much a food wine, and very mineral-driven, with cleansing acidity and fine bubbles.' Andres Ituarte, team leader. 'Nutty and rich, with some lightly toasted oak and stone fruit notes, with some warm lemon on the nose, leading to a fuller, rounded body with more stone fruit and sweet vanilla.' Carolina W Seibel, Comptoir Cafe and Wine.

£34.38 Louis Latour Agencies

Duval-Leroy, Brut Réserve NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

'Really expressive on the nose, with prominent toasty notes and some dried apple too, leading to good freshness on the palate with some weight to its mouthfeel.' Sam Weatherill, Etch. by Steven Edwards. 'Quite citrusy on the nose, leading to a refreshing palate with additional toasty complexity. Definitely one to enjoy during the summer.' Immacolata Cannavo, Hakkasan Mayfair.

£28.00 Champagne Duval-Leroy UK

Louis Dornier & Fils, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

'A very mineral, flinty and floral expression, with lime and candied lemon peel, and fresh acidity. A chalky, lively wine leading to a long finish with herbaceous features.' Carolina W Seibel, Comptoir Cafe and Wine. 'A fresh autolytic character accompanied by white peaches and lemons, followed by a palate full of fruit with some brioche on the back palate.' Juan Manuel Marcos Perez, The Gilbert Scott Restaurant.

£18.55 Matthew Clark

Piper-Heidsieck, Essentiel, Cuvée Résérvée NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

'Opening with subtle bakery aromas, citrus blossom and shaved green apple, there's more presence in the mouth - this is fast-paced, with a good lingering mousse and finish.' Angela Reddin, team leader. 'This has a lovely rich palate, with a touch of spice coming through. A complex and fresh wine.' Gaetano Giangaspero, C&C.

£35.50 Liberty Wines

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

Silver medal winner

'With bright acidity and ripe citrus fruit dominant, this is a fresh, juicy style, showing the beginnings of some complexity.' Laura Rhys MS, team leader. 'A light and bright aperitif champagne that's delicate and restrained on the nose, with a big smack of citrus wrapped in apple skin on the palate.' Tim Handley, Royal Automobile Club.

£24.00 Boutinot, Christopher Piper Wines

Palmer & Co, Blanc de Blancs NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

'Very rich and decadent, with cream and lightly toasted brioche, good acidity and a wonderful full body, accompanied by subtle peach and nectarines. Green apple skin carries the acidity through to the palate, with a fine and delicate mousse.' Tim Handley, Royal Automobile Club. 'An elegant style that's vibrant with acidity and with a creaminess on the palate, with minerality and a slight saltiness to the finish.' Sarah McKenzie, Nut Tree Inn.

£39.48 Bibendum

Taittinger, Brut Réserve NV, Champagne, France

Bronze medal winner

'Opening with a lemon citrus and bready nose, there's good balance and some interesting ginger and lemon verbena notes, with crunch and zest on the refreshing finish.' Claire Love, Loves Consultancy. 'Full of lemons and limes on the nose, with additional fresh almonds, green apples and peaches. A very pleasant palate, with good acidity and freshness.' Juan Manuel Marcos Perez, The Gilbert Scott Restaurant.

£27.59 Hatch Mansfield

Perrier-Jouët, Blanc de Blancs NV, Champagne, France

Bronze medal winner

'Good! Notes of delicate pastry with lovely fresh lemon with yoghurt and peach, leading to refreshing acidity balanced with intensity and complexity of flavours.' Chiara Sieni, MM Grocery. 'Beautifully balanced, this is a creamy, luscious style with balance, purity and a very clean finish.' Nelio Pinto, Candlesticks.

£58.44 Pernod Ricard UK

G.H. Mumm, Mumm Grand Cordon NV, Champagne, France

Bronze medal winner

'This has bright, elegant citrus fruit accompanied by mineral and toasty lees complexity. A lovely wine either as an aperitif or for food matching.' Laura Rhys MS, team leader. 'With its big mouthfeel and warmth, and well-balanced mousse – with lots of citrus on the long finish – this feels elegant and a little special.' Jade Koch, team leader.

£37.32 Pernod Ricard UK

Bernard Remy, Brut Blanc de Blancs NV, Champagne, France

Bronze medal winner

'There's good complexity here, with pastry and brioche notes integrated with lemon and citrus flavours, as well as good structure and a lovely fresh finish.' Chiara Sieni, MM Grocery. 'Light and delicate, with some floral notes to the fore. This would be a good by-the-glass option for a bar.' Nelio Pinto, Candlesticks.

£26.15 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Marc Hébrart, Cuvée de Resérve, Premier Cru, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Bronze medal winner

'A layered champagne with rounded structure and notes of brioche, bread, biscuit and nuts, with some mirabelles and golden apples too.' Adam Michocki, The Man Behind The Curtain. 'Complexity is the word here, with mature stone fruit and oak at first, and more fruit coming up afterwards. A rich and muscular wine with fine bubbles.' Riccardo Guzzardo, Hakkasan Mayfair.

£29.09 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Andre Jacquart, Expérience Le Mesnil, Grand Cru, Brut Nature NV, Champagne, France

Bronze medal winner

'A very delicate champagne with flavours of croissant, dried chamomile and some subtle yeasty notes, as well as some green apples and almonds.' Lucie Hammerschmiedova, Portland Restaurant. 'Developed and ripe, with some secondary flavours, this is yeasty and mushroomy, with good weight and cleansing, intense acidity. Persistent and classy.' Mattia Mazzi, Cornerstone.

£40.96 Top Selection

Castelnau, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Bronze medal winner

'Well-made, with some lees character and minerality joining good balance of fruit and a lively palate with a dry finish.' Chris Delalonde MS, The Dorchester. 'A pretty wine - fresh, with green apple and lemon curd, and lots of minerality. Good value.' Andres Ituarte, team leader. 'Light and refreshing with a touch of oak and good length.' Immacolata Cannavo, Hakkasan Mayfair.

£25.26 Castelnau Wine Agencies

Piper-Heidsieck, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Bronze medal winner

'A super-elegant wine, with stone fruit and rich oak notes coming through.' Riccardo Guzzardo, Hakkasan Mayfair. 'A fresh and linear style with bright acidity.' Victoria Sharples, St John Restaurant Group. 'Complex, with lemon, lemon zest, bruised apples and biscuit notes, as well as bread, brioche and toast flavours.' Adam Michocki, The Man Behind The Curtain.

£30.37 Liberty Wines

Irroy, Extra Brut NV, Champagne, France

Commended medal winner

£20.63 Hatch Mansfield

Alexandre Bonnet, Blanc de Noirs NV, Champagne, France

Commended medal winner

£28.33 Matthew Clark

Alexandre Bonnet, Grande Réserve NV, Champagne, France

Commended medal winner

£23.24 Matthew Clark

Alexandre Bonnet, Noir Extra Brut NV, Champagne, France

Commended medal winner

£31.74 Matthew Clark

Lanson, Green Label NV, Champagne, France

Commended medal winner

£36.71 Ocado

R Pouillon & Fils, Terres Froides, Premier Cru, Extra Brut NV, Champagne, France

Commended medal winner

£42.66 Bibendum

Tsarine, Cuvée Premium Brut NV, Champagne, France

Commended medal winner

Devaux, Cuvée D NV, Champagne, France

Commended medal winner

£32.70 Liberty Wines

Devaux, Ultra D NV, Champagne, France

Commended medal winner

£34.00 Liberty Wines

Devaux, Grande Réserve NV, Champagne, France

Commended medal winner

£26.65 Liberty Wines

Andre Jacquart, Expérience, Premier Cru, Blanc de Blancs, NV, Champagne, France

Commended medal winner

£30.43 Top Selection

Castelnau, Brut Réserve NV, Champagne, France

Commended medal winner

Duval-Leroy, Prestige, Extra Brut NV, Champagne, France

Commended medal winner

G.H. Martel & Co, Prestige, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Commended medal winner

£21.18 Matthew Clark

Duménil, Grande Réserve Brut NV, Champagne, France

Commended medal winner

Piper-Heidsieck, Essentiel, Blanc de Blancs NV, Champagne, France

Commended medal winner

£39.20 Liberty Wines

Palmer & Co, Brut Reserve NV, Champagne, France

Commended medal winner

£27.77 Bibendum

 

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