Best Champagne for Christmas and the New Year? Try these six top drops

Best Champagne for Christmas and the New Year? Try these six top drops

Champagne and sparkling wines are synonymous with Christmas and New Year festivities, and Australia is no shrinking violet when it comes to enjoying first-class fizz.

Over 307 million bottles of Champagne were sold globally in the 2017 calendar year, with Australia the world's seventh-largest market – and the fifth if calculated per capita.

That's remarkable given the strength of the domestic sparkling wine market. Tasmania and Victoria, in particular, are making world-class sparkling wines from labels including Domaine Chandon, Jansz, House of Arras, Kreglinger and Clover Hill. Small producers including Stefano Lubiana, Radenti and Mitchell Harris Sabre also shine.

(In Tasmania alone, vineyard area has grown by more than 400 hectares over the past five years, representing more than 25% growth.)

Meanwhile, French Champagne is still highly competitive: all the leading Champagne Houses produce reliably good non-vintage wines (blends of fruit from different years), which can be found for between $50-$120 a bottle depending on where you shop and how many bottles you're buying.

Here are half-a-dozen high-quality Champagnes and Australian sparkling wines to ensure your end of year celebrations go off with a pop.

Lanson Black Label Brut NV Champagne

Founded in 1760, the Lanson house-style blends pinot noir and chardonnay grapes with a small percentage of pinot Meunier. This house is known for its fresh and lively style, and at around $60 it's reliably good value.

Bellebonne 2016 Sparkling Rosé

Bellbonne is a new Tasmanian sparkling range from former Jansz sparkling winemaker Nat Fryar. Made from 100% Tasmanian pinot noir, this underlines why she is called the “Queen of Bubbles”. Think strawberry and cream aromas, salmon blush colour and a balance of sweet fruit and complex textures ($65).

Billecart-Salmon NV Brut Reserve

Billecart-Salmon is a medium-sized Champagne house founded in 1818 with the marriage of Nicolas François Billecart and Elisabeth Salmon, it is one of the few to remain family owned and is known for the vibrancy and purity of fruit in its NV blends. Also produces a stunning rosé ($75).

Louis Pommery NV England Traditional Method

Vranken-Pommery has become the first of the big Champagne houses to release an English sparkling wine, having launched its debut release from the south coast under its new Louis Pommery label. Made from fruit grown in Hampshire, this is very fresh and lively. It is imported into Australia and is available through Qantas Wines ($99).

Egly Ouriet NV Grand Cru Brut Tradition

Fourth-generation vigneron Francis Egly makes Champagnes that are revered through the global wine industry. This is a blend of 70% pinot, 30% chardonnay from three different vintages, released after 51 months on lees to add character and complexity. One of the great “grower” producers, along with along with Selosse and Larmandier-Bernier ($170).

Taittinger 2007 Comtes de Champagne Blancs de Blanc

A great wine from a terrific Champagne vintage, and favourite with Australian winemakers, too. Made from 100% chardonnay grapes, this aged prestige cuvee boasts fine, delicate bubbles, sweet and sour notes on the palate, along with buttery hints and tremendous length ($300).

Winsor Dobbin

Winsor Dobbin

Having travelled the world as a sports journalist, foreign correspondent and now wine and travel writer, Winsor Dobbin is always looking to find a new wine producer or cellar door.
 

18 comments

  • Michael63

    Metoo

    14 Dec, 2018 01:17 am

    Egly Ouriet is a great champagne and not on everyones radar and it should be
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  • Blair Coull

    Notso Swift

    15 Dec, 2018 07:09 pm

    More on the radar these days though, it use to be around $100 - that was exceptionally cheap, now it is a mere bargain
    Geoffroy is worth seeking out in the same vein
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  • Lachlan Burnet

    Lachlan72

    14 Dec, 2018 09:32 am

    Some nice suggestions to try there. My go-to at this time of year is Laurent Perrier. A very nice drop and reasonably priced.
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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    14 Dec, 2018 11:08 am

    One to add from me in the non-vintage list would be Mumm Cordon Rouge Brut NV: I find it achieves a reasonable balance of taste and price (although Taittinger CdC BdB no doubt outranks it!).

    If you're flying through Hong Kong, you can also try Mumm at most of the Cathay Pacific business class lounges and in the AMEX Centurion Lounge (including both the 'Platinum' and 'Centurion' sections of that lounge).
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  • kureus

    kureus

    14 Dec, 2018 03:43 pm

    Have a blind taste test and include Aldi's real French Champagne - Veuve Monsigny in your mix. It will probably win. Multi-award winner, tastes great and only $20 a bottle. Much nicer than Moet or Veuve Cliquot (although I agree Billecarte Salmon is amazing and my personal favourite until you get to Dom Perignon price points).
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  • Michael63

    Metoo

    15 Dec, 2018 01:04 am

    that was my best kept champagne secret ever, ssshhhhhhh

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  • Stefan Kane

    DrSK

    15 Dec, 2018 11:15 am

    Yes, it's a great wine at an astounding price point.
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  • CBR boy

    CBR boy

    17 Dec, 2018 01:24 pm

    Thanks, will try out Veuve Monsigny on the basis of your recommendation. My go-to for reasonably-priced champagne for a couple of years has been Piper-Heidsieck, regularly available at under $40 from the large chains. Far better than Moet, which in my view doesn't hold up well in comparison with other major labels. For special occasions the Taittinger, Billecart-Salmon or Bollinger NVs all work very well.
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  • John Odlum

    John Odlum

    14 Dec, 2018 03:50 pm

    Good call on Louis Pommery NV England Traditional Method, along with Billecart-Salmon NV Brut Reserve they're both exceptional value.
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  • Siddharth Raja

    sid

    14 Dec, 2018 04:02 pm

    My fav is Pol Roger.
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  • Dredgy

    Dredgy

    15 Dec, 2018 12:21 am

    Pol Roger NV is pretty great bang for the buck, but I think Perrier-Jouet beats it. That said I have a methuselah of Pol for NYE and looking forward to it.

    Pol Roger vintage is stunning, but I've been enjoying Diebolt-Vallois Prestige a bit more lately.

    Pol Roger Winston Churchill is close to unbeatable though.
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  • Stefan Kane

    DrSK

    15 Dec, 2018 11:11 am

    Agree with the Winston Churchill ... a remarkable wine. Up there with the Taittinger CdC.
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  • Raymond De La Maza

    ConcordeRay

    14 Dec, 2018 07:17 pm

    I would like to recommend to you connoisseurs to try the Veuve Cliquot Grande Dame 2006.A friend who is a professional wine list creator for high end restaurants globally treated me, and, alas, things have just never been the same!!!
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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    18 Dec, 2018 01:56 pm

    It's a great Champagne: and if you're flying with EVA Air, such as from Brisbane to Taipei or onward to London, that's the Champagne they're currently pouring in business class!

    (Just wait until after take-off, because they don't open it on the ground.)
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  • lafleche

    lafleche

    15 Dec, 2018 04:39 am

    and... if you can find it, try Deutz. A little gem that flies under the radar. When I feel like splurging then Krug is it - but that's once in a blue moon at ~$400+ /bottle!!
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  • Stephen Doggett

    Stephen D

    17 Dec, 2018 11:13 am

    Shame VA dropped Lanson Black as it was not a bad drop. However, the Hanson Gold on VS was even better still.
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  • patrickk

    patrickk

    17 Dec, 2018 04:07 pm

    Of course the top of the range tassie ones $ for $ give the French non vintage a very good run for the money indeed.
    No member give thanks

  • Greg Hansen

    GregH

    1 Jan, 2019 01:14 pm

    "...Aldi's real French Champagne - Veuve Monsigny..."
    My money, my choice.
    No member give thanks

Guest

18 Jan, 2019 11:07 am

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