I promised myself I would not tell you the same story again this year, but I just could not refrain myself. So sorry ! Its not due to senelity, but rather just being overly persistant in trying to make sure the message is out there and spreading!
Champagne : is the most overated and worst wine value in the wine world.
Luckily there’s a good selection of quality sparkling wines at the SAQ. Lots to choose from. Most wine critics and sommeliers continue to praise Champagne and put it on a pedestal. Champagne marketing has succeded in convincing most wine professionnals that Champagne is the best, the one and only, high quality sparkling wine.
Hopefully, a day will come when more sommeliers, wine critics and journalists accept to compare (in blind tastings) Champagnes and other sparkling wines from around the world. When this thruthful taste test reaveals its surprises, we should get a very different message. This reality check regarding Champagne production is long over due.
Sorry to bust your bubble : Champagne a nordic wine region
As consumers we need to be aware that a high percentage of Champagnes is made with unripe diluted grapes. Worst, they repair the wines by adding a sweet liqueur (mix of wine and sugar) to mask faults due to overproduction. Few wine professionnals are aware, and even less risk bringing it up.
It’s a fact that Champagne produces sparkling wines with fine delicate bubbles and creamy froth, but today many competitors from around the world have also mastered the art of effervescence. A growing number of producers are crafting lovely bubblies with great finesse and elegance. With continuously inceasing Champagne prices, it seems logical to seek out the high quality and better priced California, Spanish or Italian sparklers.
I’ve recently tasted over 90 sparkling wines, including thirty some Champagnes. Here is my top 10 sparkling (5) and champagnes (5) :
For the past two years this Ca’ del Bosco Cuvée Prestige is my favourite sparkling wine (Champagne included)! Lovely complex nose in which Chardonnay (75 %) dominates. A few grams of residual sugar add volume and a soft texture. Savoury and seductive! Serve it blind to Champagne aficionados and see the reaction. Score: 92/100
A lovely blend of Chardonnay (60% and Pinot Noir (40%) from Mendocino’s excellent Anderson Valley. Fresh and lively with some evolution. Good balance and finesse. Roederer Estate produces some of the best California sparklers. Score: 90/100
Made with Champagne’s 3 classic grapes: Pinot Noir (60%), Chardonnay (30%) and Pinot Meunier (10%). An excellent flavourful sparkling rosé. Elegance with character and good length. Score: 89/100
4-Perle d’Aurore Rosé, Crémant de Bourgogne, France 23,75$ 11232149
A lovely sparkling rosé made with Pinot Noir (80%) and a bit of Gamay (20%). Fresh and flavorful with some evolution and complexity. Good quality affordable sparkler! Score: 88/100
5-Seleccion Raventos Brut Cava, Codorniu, Spain 17,25$ 12206671
This Cava is made with equal amounts of xarel-lo and chardonnay. A Brut (drier) sparkler offering great value. Typical nose with lots of toasted bread. A creamy and fresh cava that delivers good character for $17. Score : 87/100
CHAMPAGNES : For those who must pay more!
Made with chardonnay only, this Blanc de Blancs Champagne offers complexity and good character. Refreshing with a hint of bitterness that adds length. Score : 90/100
2-Taittinger Brut Réserve 65,25$ 10968752
Nose of good intensity and complexity. A rather charming and easy drinking Champagne. A lovely blend of Pinot Noir (60%) and Chardonnay (40%). Score : 89/100
3-Louis Roederer Brut Premier 65$ 268771
Discreet nose displaying some apple and citrus. Sharp acidity, but remains soft and easy drinking. Score : 88/100
4-Gosset Grande Réserve Brut 68,75$ 10839619
This Grande Réserve is made with the classic three varieties of Champagne: Chardonnay (43%), Pinot Noir (42%) and Pinot Meunier (15%). Good character, complex nose and a refreshing slightly bitter finish. Score : 88/100
5-Veuve A.Devaux Blanc de Noirs 50,50$ 11588381
Reasonnably priced, this Blanc de Noirs is made with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier only. Some evolution, fresh acidity and good length. Score : 87/100