Top blanc de blancs Champagnes7th January, 2014 by Gabriel Savage
Following our selection of the top Chardonnays under £20, the drinks business has drawn on the highest performing medallists in the Global Chardonnay Masters 2013 to bring you the top picks above £20.
The still wines in this price bracket will appear in their own list tomorrow, but such was the quality recognised by judges at this level within the sparkling category that we have highlighted the gold and master award winners separately here.
While a growing number of countries today produce excellent sparkling styles, Champagne has cultivated a highly successful niche with its Chardonnay, or blanc de blancs, expression.
More resilient than the highly strung Pinot Noir, Chardonnay can produce high quality more consistently in the marginal climate of Champagne. The variety also excels at transmitting the region’s famous chalky soils into the glass, producing crisp, mineral, styles that are often capable of long ageing.
Divided only by price bracket and, for ease of judging, whether the style was oaked or unoaked, the blind tasting format of the drinks business Global Chardonnay Masters allowed wines to be assessed without prejudice about their country of origin.
Wines were scored out of 100, with those gaining over 95 points being awarded the top title of Master. Those earning over 90 points were given a Gold, those over 85 points a Silver and those over 80 points a Bronze.
The wines were judged by Masters of Wine and Master Sommeliers over two days on 23 and 24 September 2013 at private members club Broadway House in London.
The judges were: Sarah Abbott MW, wine educator & consultant; Jo Ahearne MW, winemaking consultant; Richard Bampfield MW, consultant; Anthony Barne MW, head of wine, Bonhams UK; Beverley Blanning MW, author & journalist; Alex Hunt MW, purchasing director, Berkmann Wine Cellars; Keith Isaac MW, general manager, Castelnau Wine Agencies; Justin Knock MW, winemaking consultant; Rupert Millar, the drinks business; Sebastian Payne MW, buyer, The Wine Society; Hugo Rose MW, consultant; Gabriel Savage, the drinks business; Ronan Sayburn MS, head of wine, Dorchester Collection UK; Patrick Schmitt, the drinks business.
The full list of Master, Gold and Silver medal winners appeared in November 2013’s issue of the drinks business and we highlighted the top performing wines under £20 here.
Meanwhile read on to discover the broad selection of vintage and non-vintage blanc de blancs expressions from a wide range of Champagne houses which were rewarded in the 2013 competition.