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Top Champagnes priced under £50

Following the drinks business Champagne Masters held late last year, we round up the top Champagnes priced under £50 that took home a gold medal or the ultimate accolade: Master.

042-044-Champagne-masters-2015-9Nearly 200 Champagnes were judged blind by our expert panel, entered into one of six categories; Non-vintage, Vintage, Blanc de blancs, Blanc de noirs, Prestige cuvée or Rosé.

Wines that scored over 90 points were awarded a gold medal, while exceptional wines that scored 95 points or above were named Champagne Master.

Judges included Simon Field MW, buyer, Berry Bros & Rudd; Sue Daniels, buyer, Marks & Spencer; Michael Edwards, journalist, author, Champagne specialist; Nicola Arcedeckne-Butler MW, director of buying, Private Cellar; Anthony Foster MW, director/buyer, Bonhote Foster; Rebecca Palmer, associate director & buyer, Corney & Barrow; Patrick Schmitt MW, editor-in-chief, the drinks business; and Marcel Orford-Williams, buyer, The Wine Society

Here, we round up the wines that were priced under £50, and that were awarded a gold or master medal across all categories.

To see a full report on the competition and all of the wines that won a medal click here.

Tasting findings

  • This year’s Champagne Masters saw every one of the 10 largest Champagne labels by global volume sales assessed blind by our team of tasters.
  • Once more, Champagne’s grandes marques performed well in this year’s competition, particularly Charles Heidsieck.
  • The tasters were also impressed by the good results achieved, for the most part, by the co-ops.
  • Brut NV Champagnes proved high quality and good value, while rosé did better than in previous competitions, suggesting that there have been quality improvements in these commercially important categories.
  • Blanc de blancs Champagnes gained good scores, particularly the more expensive examples.
  • Without the accoutrements that come with the prestige cuvées, vintage represents the best-value category for great Champagne.
  • The overall quality standard was extremely high.

About the competition

The Champagne Masters is a competition created and run by thedrinks business and an extension of its successful Masters series for grape varieties such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, as well as regions such as Rioja and Chianti. The competition is exclusively for Champagne and the entries were judged by a selection of highly experienced tasters using Schott Zwiesel Cru Classic glasses supplied by Wine Sorted. The top Champagnes were awarded Gold, Silver or Bronze medals according to their result, and those Champagnes that stood out as being outstanding received the ultimate accolade – the title of Champagne Master. The Champagnes were tasted over the course of a single day at the Dorchester Hotel in London.

Champagne Pommery, Brut Royal NV

What the judges said: “Smoky, attractive nose with a touch of toast. Palate similarly toasty, with lovely honeyed fruit and refreshing lemon bite. The Champagne has a rounded mid-palate texture but a crisp and cleansing finish. Delicious.”

Price category: £30-£40

Medal: Master

Category entered: Non vintage 

GH Martel & Cie, Charles de Cazanove Cuvée Vieille France Blanc de Noirs

1413470573ewohGWhat the judges said: “Delicate, clean and attractive nose with some breadiness and subtle notes of honey. The palate shows similar characters, along with a touch of bruised apple. Complex, long, round and easy soft style.”

Price category: £30-£40

Medal: Gold / Gold

Category entered: Non vintage / Blanc de noirs

Lanson International UK, Black Label NV Gold

51sH0206s0LWhat the judges said: “Delicate on the nose with notes of lemon, bread and a touch of honey. On the palate there is also a hint of smoky flintiness. Fine, fresh and long with intense lemon and apple fruit. Chalky finish.”

Price category: £30-£40

Medal: Gold

Category entered: Non vintage 

Veuve Cliquot, Veuve Cliquot NV Gold

414-82008469-1047675_MWhat the judges said: “Evolved but quite delicate nose with notes of white buttered bread. Generous palate with touch of butter, bread and ripe notes of pineapple. Opulent and attractive, with a clean, crisp finish.”

Price category: £30-£40

Medal: Gold

Category entered: Non vintage 

Laurent-Perrier UK, Brut NV

laurent-perrier-brut-nv-champagne-75clWhat the judges said: “Delicate nose with a touch of chalk and smoke. Palate more open with lots of lemon fruit, touch of ripeness and creaminess and a pleasantly chalky finish. Youthful with a frothy mousse. Lovely bright fruit at the core.”

Price category: £30-£40

Medal: Gold

Category entered: Non vintage 

Champagne Charles, Heidsieck Brut Réserve

zoomWhat the judges said: “Rich on the palate with nice depth, lot of layers and freshness, this Champagne combines a delicious toasty, autolytic character with a firm refreshing acidity.”

Price category: £40-£50

Medal: Master

Category entered: Non vintage

Chassenay D’Arce, Vintage 2006

What the judges said: “Slightly evolved on the nose with tangerine notes. Palate is similar in flavour along with a lively lemon character and a frothy mousse. Very lively and complex with a dry finish.”

Price category: £40-£50

Medal: Gold

Category entered: Vintage

Champagne De Saint Gall, Brut Millésime 2007

Champagne_de_Saint_Gall_MillesimeWhat the judges said: “Attractive, ripe and evolved nose with some notes of tropical fruit and butter. Palate shows a touch of honey with tight, fresh lemon character. Pure and slightly creamy. Long and fine with the potential to unravel with further ageing on its cork.”

Price category: £40-£50

Medal: Gold

Category entered: Vintage

Champagne Palmer & Co, Blanc de Blancs 2008

What the judges said: “Attractive smoky character with a touch of burnt toast and butter on the nose, not dissimilar to aged Semillon. The palate is fresh and complex with smoky, toasty notes of grilled nuts and lemon. Very good.”

Price category: £30-£40

Medal: Master

Category entered: Blanc de blancs

GH Martel & Cie, Charles de Cazanove Cuvée Vieille France Blanc de Blancs

What the judges said: “Touch of reduction on the nose initially, which fades into an attractive smoky-toast character. On the palate, lemon fruit with a hint of toast. Clean and fresh. Very good.”

Price category: £30-£40

Medal: Gold

Category entered: Blanc de blancs

Champagne De Castelnau, Brut Blanc de Blancs 2002

castelWhat the judges said: “Showing evolution in colour and aroma. Very honeyed, lovely, long and complete. A great value wine.”

Price category: £40-£50

Medal: Master

Category entered: Blanc de blancs

Champagne Sanger, Triangle Minéral Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru 2008

Sanger TRIANGLE MINERAL bottleWhat the judges said: “Showing a touch of bruised apple and butter on the nose. The palate, similarly, has some tart apple acidity, but also some round, buttery malolactic character. Characterful, very good.”

Price category: £40-£50

Medal: Gold

Category entered: Blanc de blancs

Champagne Jacquart, Blanc de Blancs 2006

What the judges said: “Straw gold in colour with a lively persistant mouse. Notes of lemon, peach and brioche on the nose. On the palate, white peaches and citrus notes. Very long, lifted, elegant finish.”

Price category: £40-£50

Medal: Gold

Category entered: Blanc de blancs

Champagne Henriot, Brut Rosé

1142195xWhat the judges said: “Salmon pink in colour with a lovely smoky reductive nose. Palate has a delicious smoky chatacter with fresh lemon and just touch of red fruit. Long, fine and lovely.”

Price category: £40-£50

Medal: Gold

Category entered: Rosé

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