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The Best Bottles Of Champagne For New Year’s Eve, Ranked

Champagne is a celebratory drink. It’s also something that lifts your spirits when you’re down. A nice way to reflect gratitude for what was or excitement for what’s to come. Point being, there’s just something about the effervescent wine from France that works in myriad occasions — even when you’re digging into a bucket of fried chicken from the Colonel.

Wild take of 2021: Champagne is great. Take that to the bank.

Champagne — the real stuff from France, not the California sparkling wine mislabeled “champagne” — is a complex drink to make. Champagnes all fall under fairly strict guidelines. They need to be a blend of Pinot and Chardonnay grapes (with Meunier making an appearance), generally spend three to five years cellared in oak, must be made in Champagne, France, and so forth. Beyond those law-bound parameters, this is all about taste. Hopefully, this list will give you a sense of which bottle of champers might suit your palate.

Let’s dive in!

Pro Tip: Whichever bottle you choose, you’ll want to get it chilling at least 24-hours before the ball drops. That means the 30th!

10. G.H. Mumm Grand Cordon Champagne

G.H. Mumm Champagne
Pernod Ricard

Average Price: $46

The Champagne:

The Mumms (a German wine-making family from the Rhine) moved their whole operation and family to Champagne to make this now iconic sparkling wine back in the early 1800s. Today, Mumm Grand Cordon sources around 100 crus from the Pinot, Chardonnay, and Meunier fields around Champagne, France. Those wines are mellowed in large oak vats until they reach just the right point of aromatics and texture.

Tasting Notes:

The nose on this one is like walking through a peach and apricot orchard on a warm summer day as hints of vanilla, dried yeast, and even a little honey dance through your senses. The palate, the stone fruit dries out a bit as a tart and an almost creamy sense of pineapple drive the taste towards fruit salad vibe. The finish is fruity, slightly dry, and bright.

Bottom Line:

This is a great place to start. While a bottle of Mumm is perfectly suitable, it is a bit of a fruit bomb. If that’s your vibe, then go for it!

9. Laurent-Perrier Brut

Laurent-Perrier

Average Price: $45

The Champagne:

Eugene Laurent and Mathilde Emilie Perrier were a husband and wife team who created the third best-selling champagne in the world. When Laurent died, he left the whole operation to Perrier, who took the champagne worldwide and found massive success.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a beautiful balance of bright lemon citrus and very summery French florals on the nose (think fields of lavender baking in the sun). That citrus leads towards a ripe apricot sweetness and body with a buttery underbelly that’s counter to all that dry fizz and tartness from the citrus. The end is mellow and really embraces the florals, lemon, and apricot.

Bottom Line:

This is by no means mediocre champagne. It’s perfectly suited for toasting in the New Year. It’s just that something had to be stuck in this slot. Also, this one makes for a great French 75 with all that lemony-ness.

8. Veuve Clicquot Brut

Veuve Cliquot

Average Price: $60

The Champagne:

The famed Madame Clicquot — or Veuve Clicquot which literally means “Widow” Clicquot — was instrumental in creating the world of champagne that we know today. She’s credited with the riddling process (clarifying the wine), creating rose champagne, bringing vintages (age statements) into the mix, and generally making the sparkling wine a celebratory drink in the highest echelons of the European elite.

Clearly, Clicquot was both an amazing innovator and marketer, and her champagne continues to shine.

Tasting Notes:

Imagine butter-soaked baked apples inside a buttery and slightly salty brioche next to white grapes and sultanas. Hints of tart yet sweet apples mingle with a mist of orange oils as a nutty base leads towards a savory fruitiness. That salty-sweet brioche returns on the dry yet softly sweet end.

Bottom Line:

This is really solid champagne all around. The only real reason it’s this low on the list is the note of sweetness that lingers a little too long.

7. Moët & Chandon Nectar Impérial

Moët & Chandon

Average Price: $60

The Champagne:

Moët is one of the old-school champagnes that goes back to the court of French royalty. The popularity of this wine cannot be understated. They’re one of the biggest producers of champagne in the world. That’s why we’re picking a little higher-range bottle. The Nectar Impérial is a special blend of reserve wines chosen to add a deeper sense of richness and complexity to the bubbly.

Tasting Notes:

The flute pulls you in with a sense of tropical fruits leaning towards mangos and pineapple while stonefruits lurk in the background. Those stonefruits take over on the palate with apricots and meaty plums leading toward a white grape touch next to a hint of vanilla. Finally, that vanilla takes on a slightly creamy edge (thanks to a touch of Chardonnay in the blend) that really brings a well-rounded body to this sip.

Bottom Line:

This is a crowd-pleaser! It’s light and fruity yet feels like you’re drinking something with a good body that’ll get you a little tipsy.

6. Taittinger Brut

Taittinger

Average Price: $50

The Champagne:

Speaking of Chardonnay, Taittinger is a blend of old monastery wine-making, modern Chateau culture, and a deep history of Chardonnay grapes. The non-vintage wine leans into the Chardonnay grapes in the blend (basically, flipping on its head the ratio of Pinots to Chardonnay in the average blend), making this an outlier in the world of champagnes.

The result is a nice break-from-the-norm bottle of bubbly.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a lightness that’s a bit of a trick, as the nose will tempt you with hints of peaches, buttery and yeasty brioche, summer wildflowers, and a whisper of vanilla. The palate holds onto the stonefruit as a fresh honeycomb sweetness arrives late and brings the whole sip together.

Bottom Line:

This really feels like a well-rounded bottle that is very easy to drink. Really, we’re splitting hairs on the ranking from here on down.

5. Pol Roger Brut Réserve

Pol Roger Champagne
Pol Roger

Average Price: $55

The Champagne:

Pol Roger goes back to the mid-1800s (like so many on this list). The wine was so beloved that it received a “royal warrant” to become the official champagne of the court of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. That tradition carries on today as it now has the “royal warrant” for the British Crown, in large part thanks to Winston Churchill insisting that he only drink this champagne for decades. Translation: It’s really good stuff.

Tasting Notes:

The champagne draws you in with this medley for bright wildflowers next to a brioche folded with stewed apple and a touch of vanilla and jasmine. The palate revels in apricot jam, stewed plums, and more vanilla before a bright and slightly burnt orange oil arrives with hints of figs, anise, and beeswax candle wicks.

Bottom Line:

This really shines brightly in any glass. It’s complex and interesting while being somewhat earthy in its fruitiness. It pulls off the trick of having honey sweetness without being sweet.

4. Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Reserve Exclusive

Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Reserve Exclusive

Average Price: $36

The Champagne:

This champagne might be the most representative of the region in a single bottle. Nicolas Feuillatte is really more of a collective (or union) of 100 individual winemakers and 82 winemaking cooperatives covering over 5,000 vineyards around Champagne in France. That equates to Feuillatte pulling its juice from a swath of vineyards that cover around seven percent of the wine grown in the region.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a real sense of dry breadiness next to ripe apricots and peaches that draws you in. The body is effervescent and full of bubbles that burst with that fruit alongside hints of vanilla and musty cellars full of old oak barrels.

Bottom Line:

The price of this bottle really helps it scratch into the top five. There’s really no reason this shouldn’t cost $60 per bottle like so many others on the list.

3. Louis Roederer Brut Premier

Louis Roederer

Average Price: $48

The Champagne:

Louis Roederer is one of the oldest Champagne houses that also happens to be one of the few fully independent shingles. The wine really made a name as the champagne of the Russian Royal Court pre-revolution. As those royals ran for their lives, they spread the love of Louis Roederer to Paris, London, New York, and Shanghai, helping make the wine a truly international brand.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a real sense of an orchard full of stone fruits next to lightly roasted nuts with a hint of a warm croissant on the nose. That butter and yeasty bready fades first as the ripe apricot and gooseberries counterpoint a deep dryness and light bubbles. There’s very little sweetness at play as a touch of oaky vanilla pops on the very end.

Bottom Line:

This is the entry-level champagne that’ll lead you to the infamous Cristal (that brand of champers that rappers wouldn’t shut up about in the 90s.). That aside, this is almost too easy to drink. We’ll put it this way, the bottle will be empty before you know it and you’ll be left wanting more.

2. Dom Pérignon Vintage

Dom Pérignon

Average Price: $200 (depending on Vintage)

The Champagne:

Dom P is Moët & Chandon’s “prestige” line of champagne. So in a sense, this is Moët’s “good stuff.” The bottle was named after legendary monk and champagne cellarmaster Dom Pérignon. The short of it is: Ol’ Dom was instrumental in making champagne into the fizzy wine we love back in the mid-1600s. These days, Moët honors that history with their best stuff.

Tasting Notes:

This is going to vary depending on which “Vintage” you snag. The throughline with Dom is the blend of Pinot and Chardonnay but that can vary a lot depending on the year.

If you come across the 2008 Vintage, expect a really nice dose of mint, lemon oils, and peach up top. That’ll lead towards a sense of orange oils next to musty oak with a creamy body that’s refined to a whipped butter lightness.

Bottom Line:

This is the “good stuff” by definition. Still, we’d argue that there are perfectly good — maybe better — wines that reach these vaulted heights without the price tag.

This leads us to…

1. Bollinger Special Cuvee Brut

Bollinger

Average Price: $65

The Champagne:

Bollinger has spent centuries becoming the icon it is today. The wine got a huge boost when it became the champagne of Queen Victoria’s court in the late 1800s, which led to it being the official drink of Ian Fleming’s James Bond. Thanks to the guidance of Lily Bollinger post-WWII, the brand became the champagne the adventurers, jet-setters, and so-called cool kids drank.

Tasting Notes:

This draws you in with a sense of over-ripe peaches next to tart apples stewed with dark spices and wine. That spice and apple bring about an almost apple butter feel as the svelte nature of the sip leads towards a brioche loaded with walnuts and that spiced stewed apple next to a buttery foundation.

This is just smooth, subtly bubbly, and just the right amount of dry on the finish.

Bottom Line:

This 100 percent lives up to the hype. It really is that well-rounded, quaffable, and delightful. Cheers! Someone queue up Auld Lang Syne.









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