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The medallists from the Champagne Masters 2022

The year’s Champagne Masters saw a record number of Golds and Masters awarded, with vintage expressions proving the high point in terms of price-quality ratio.

Now in its 11th year, The Champagne Masters has a long track record of identifying not only the best in the category, but also this fine sparkling’s strengths and weakness. In terms of unearthing the stars of Champagne in 2022, our experienced judges picked out more than 40 exceptional bottles (which are reviewed in full in our annual Champagne Report, out in a couple of week’s time). It may have been the biggest competition we’ve ever hosted, but that’s still an impressive number of truly great wines, and shows that the standard of Champagne is getting better.

But, having sampled so many bottles, what are the overriding trends? Dealing with each Champagne style in turn, let’s consider what the producers are getting right, as well as those areas where there appears to be some room for improvement. Starting with the entry-point, Brut NV, it should initially be noted that although this tends to represent the cheapest type of Champagne – and by far the largest sub-category by volume – it is still priced higher than the upper end of most rival sparkling wines. So, with fine Brut NV now costing over £40, it should be a seriously good glass of fizz.

For the most part, the standard of Brut NV being made today is excellent. A product of better viticulture and pressing, cleaner juices and more reserve wines, not forgetting longer times spent ageing on and off the lees, and improved bottling procedures, along with lower dosages, Brut NV today tends to mix depth and complexity with precision. At their best, these are layered wines, with honeyed notes, along with fresh fruit, and nutty, bready interest, along with dry and bright edge, ensuring that they serve that aperitif moment – for which they are crafted – brilliantly.

A benchmark in the competitive Brut NV sector is Piper-Heidsieck, especially its drier ‘Essential’, with a 5g/l dosage, although Lanson (both for its ‘Le Black and Le Green’ labels) is proving hard to beat, with its nutty and citric style. Also, Moët & Chandon garnered a Gold for its Brut Impérial, and, as the best-selling Champagne in the world, this fizz proves that it’s possible to be big and fine with sparkling wine. Indeed, scale may be preferable, giving one access to a wide range of wines for blending – a key for not just complexity and balance, but stylistic consistency too.

Commenting on this sector of the market, Champagne Masters judge, Jonathan Pedley MW described it as a “mixed bag with a handful of delicious wines mixed in with plenty of basic stuff.” Continuing he said, “The latter were often young, raw and lacking complexity. The better wines had maturity and complexity – doubtless derived from the judicious use of reserve wines and extended lees ageing.”

Agreeing, fellow judges Patricia Stefanowicz MW observed that “Champagne will never be inexpensive, and finding a number of exciting wines at the lower end of the £30-50 bracket with appealing fruit and fresh croissant or brioche accents, was a delight. Above £50 the Brut NV wines are excellent, and so they should be.”

It was with the move to the vintage category that our first Masters were awarded – an accolade reserved for those wines that are exceptional – with producers Joseph Perrier, Piper-Heidsieck and Henriot the sources of “wow-factor” fizz, to use Stefanowicz’s description for the best samples. Taking in harvests from 2014 back to 2006, it was notable how good the 2012s are, while the 2014s are showing their quality potential too. Recording the presence of “gems”; “A cluster of wines showed evidence of having been vinified from top quality fruit and then aged to add complexity and harmony,” Pedley said that this part of the Champagne offer is where the quality-to-price ratio seems to be highest. By way of explanation for this, he said, “With many houses focusing on Prestige Cuvées and other trendy things like Blanc de Blancs, standard Vintage seems to have become a quiet bye water where the consumer can pick up some excellent wines for sensible prices.”

Dealing next with the top-end expressions, Prestige Cuvée Champagne, there were more outstanding wines from the 2012 harvest, but also the first rate 2008, and, for a younger fizz, the relatively underrated 2013 vintage. Master-level quality was tasted from Deutz, Perrier-Jouët and Rare, as well as the multi-vintage flagship from Laurent-Perrier, called Grand Siecle, now carrying an edition number so one can find out the base wines and gauge the age of the fizz. Other delicious wines – if not quite Masters – hailed from some grower-cooperative producers, with Nicolas Feuillatte, Palmer and Castelnau picking up Golds, the latter for an exciting late-release from 2000 in magnum. Underrated names for greatness in this upmarket sphere included GH Mumm – it’s Lalou 2006 is delicious – and Pommery, whose Cuvée Louise is certainly a connoisseur’s prestige cuvée. Speaking generally about this category, Pedley recorded “glorious honeyed aromas and great length on the palate,” and “angina inducing prices to match.”

Testament to the increasing demand for Blanc de Blancs, this was one of the biggest sectors of this year’s Champagne Masters, and home to some fantastic wines, notably those from Henriot and Telmont, but also Mumm and Perrier-Jouët, Deutz and Delamotte, along with Piper-Heidsieck and Ayala, and Besserat de Bellefon with its grand cru bottling. Clearly impressed, Stefanowicz described the Champagnes as “pristine”, with “racy acidity”. Pedley recorded a more variable standard, and while excited by “butter cream” notes in one sample, said that some others seemed “simple”, with “an absence of leesy complexity and maturity.”

Such wines were, however, better than the blanc de noirs, which was “a small but slightly disappointing flight, marked by a couple of wines that were rather vegetal,” said Pedley, with the judges agreeing that Champagne does undoubtedly benefit from the addition of Chardonnay to the blend.

The Champagnes were judged on 10 March at London’s Coravin Wine & Bubbles Bar by (left to right): Susan Hulme MW, Siobhan Turner MW, Patricia Stefanowicz MW, David Round MW, Jonathan Pedley MW, and Patrick Schmitt MW

Finishing with rosé, it was agreed upon by the tasters that, with a few exceptions – such as the excellent samples from Laurent-Perrier, Perrier-Jouët, Pommery, Joseph Perrier and Besserat de Bellefon – to quote Pedley, “this was the biggest disappointment of the day”. Commenting that “Clearly making good Rosé Champagne is not as easy as a lot of people think,” he then recorded two types of poorer-scoring pink fizz: “At one end of the scale there were wines that were raw and simple, at the other end wines that were tired and lacking freshness.”

Stefanowicz felt similarly, commenting, “Whilst the range of colours was visual enchantment, many of the wines simply do not deliver on the nose and palate. And, of course, they are mostly expensive. That said, there were a few hidden gems. But, particularly at more than £30, I’d have expected much more definition and refinement than some of the wines delivered.”

Concluding on this category in the context of the overall competition, Pedley stated, “It is a bold thing to say, but if we steered consumers away from Rosé Champagne and towards standard Vintage we would be doing them a huge favour.”

The failure of some of the pink Champagnes to meet expectations aside, the overall standard of samples in this year’s competition was not only high, but higher than ever before. And with that in mind, please read on to see where the quality lies, as we reveal all the medallists from the Champagne Masters 2022.

Non Vintage
Name of Wine Winery Vintage Dosage Medal
£10-£15
Veuve Monsigny Champagne Brut Aldi NV Brut Bronze
£20-£30
Brut Prestige GH Martel & CIE NV Brut Silver
Champagne Montaudon Brut Tradition Champagne Montaudon NV Brut Silver
Grande Reserve Chateau de Bligny NV Brut Silver
Brut Tradition Charles de Cazanove NV Brut Bronze
Premier Cru Prestige GH Martel & CIE NV Brut Bronze
Heidsieck & Co Monopole Blue Top Brut Heidsieck & Co Monopole NV Brut Bronze
Réserve 36 Mois NV Brut Bronze
£30-£50
Le Black Label Brut Champagne Lanson NV Brut Master
Piper-Heidsieck Essentiel Piper-Heidsieck NV Extra-brut Gold
Champagne Brimoncourt Brut Regence Champagne Brimoncourt NV Brut Gold
Pommery Apanage Brut Pommery NV Brut Gold
Réserve Brut Telmont NV Brut Gold
Besserat de Bellefon Bleu Brut Champagne Besserat de Bellefon depuis 1843 NV Brut Gold
Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial NV NV Brut Gold
Cuvée Royale Brut Nature Champagne Joseph Perrier NV Brut nature Silver
NV Extra Brut Grand Cru Champagne Collery NV Extra-brut Silver
Abelé 1757 Brut Champagne Abelé 1757 NV Extra-brut Silver
Extra Brut NV Premier Cru Champagne Frèrejean Frères NV Extra-brut Silver
Brut Réserve Champagne Vollereaux NV Brut Silver
NV Brut Grand Cru Champagne Collery NV Brut Silver
Piper-Heidsieck Cuvée Brut Piper-Heidsieck NV Brut Silver
Champagne Castelnau Brut Reserve Champagne Castelnau NV Brut Silver
Mumm RSRV 4.5 G. H. Mumm NV Brut Silver
Brut Réserve Champagne Palmer & Co NV Brut Silver
Mumm Grand Cordon G. H. Mumm NV Brut Silver
Champagne Delamotte Brut Delamotte NV Brut Silver
Champagne Ayala Brut Majeur Champagne Ayala NV Brut Silver
Terroir Premier Cru Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte NV Brut Silver
Pommery Brut Royal Pommery NV Brut Silver
Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Veuve Clicquot NV Brut Silver
Vranken Diamant Brut Vranken NV Brut Silver
Réserve Exclusive Brut Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte NV Brut Silver
Laurent-Perrier La Cuvée Champagne Laurent-Perrier NV Brut Bronze
Cuvée Royale Brut Champagne Joseph Perrier NV Brut Bronze
Brut Classic Champagne Deutz NV Brut Bronze
Brut Extra Intense Grand Cru Champagne Haton NV Brut Bronze
£50+
Grande Reserve Champagne Gosset NV Brut Gold
Le Green Label Organic Champagne Lanson NV Brut Gold
Célébration Premier Cru Champagne Vollereaux NV Brut Gold
Piper-Heidsieck Cuvée Sublime Piper-Heidsieck NV Demi-sec Silver

 

Name of Wine Winery Vintage Dosage Medal
Vintage
£20-£30
Brut Millesime GH Martel & CIE 2012 Brut Silver
Collection Terroir – Premier Cru Albert Lebrun 2012 Brut Silver
£30-£50
Millesime 2008 Tradition Charles de Cazanove 2008 Brut Gold
Noble Vintage Champagne Haton 2016 Brut Gold
£50+
Cuvée Royale Brut Millésimé 2012 Champagne Joseph Perrier 2012 Brut Master
Piper-Heidsieck Vintage 2014 Piper-Heidsieck 2014 Brut Master
Champagne Henriot Millésime 2012 Champagne Henriot 2012 Brut Master
Brut Millesime 2015 Champagne Deutz 2015 Brut Gold
Mumm Millésime 2015 G. H. Mumm 2015 Brut Gold
Vinothèque 2012 Telmont 2012 Brut Gold
Cuvée des Hussards 2012 Premier Cru Champagne Frèrejean Frères 2012 Extra-brut Gold
Millésime 2009 Champagne Brimoncourt 2009 Brut Gold
Pommery Grand Cru Pommery 2008 Brut Gold
Piper-Heidsieck Vintage 2014 Magnum Piper-Heidsieck 2014 Brut Gold
Grande Sendrée 2010 Champagne Drappier 2010 Brut Gold
Sans Soufre Telmont 2013 Extra-brut Silver
Le Vintage 2009 Champagne Lanson 2009 Brut Silver
Empyreumatic 2014 Grand Cru Champagne Collery 2014 Brut Silver

 

Name of Wine Winery Vintage Dosage Medal
Prestige Cuvee
£50+
William Deutz 2013 Champagne Deutz 2013 Brut Master
Grand Siècle Iteration No.25 by Laurent-Perrier Champagne Laurent-Perrier MV Brut Master
Rare Champagne Millésime 2006 Magnum Rare Champagne 2006 Brut Master
Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Blanc de Blancs 2012 Perrier-Jouët 2012 Brut Master
Champagne Henriot Cuvée Hemera 2006 Champagne Henriot 2006 Extra-brut Gold
Palmes d’Or Brut Vintage 2008 Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte 2008 Brut Gold
Rare Champagne Millésime 2008 Rare Champagne 2008 Brut Gold
Amazone de Palmer Champagne Palmer & Co 2012, 2010, 2009 Brut Gold
Champagne Castelnau Oenothèque Magnum Champagne Castelnau 2000 Brut Gold
Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque 2013 Perrier-Jouët 2013 Brut Gold
Mumm RSRV Lalou 2006 G. H. Mumm 2006 Brut Gold
Pommery Cuvee Louise Brut Pommery 2005 Brut Gold
Le Sourire de Reims Brut Vintage Champagne Abelé 1757 2009 Extra-brut Silver
Cuvée Gold – Limited Edition Victoire 2015 Brut Silver
Amour de Deutz 2011 Champagne Deutz 2011 Brut Silver
Le Clos Lanson Champagne Lanson 2007 Brut Silver

 

Name of Wine Winery Vint. Dosage Medal
Blanc De Blancs
£20-£30
2015 Blanc de Blancs Vintage Champagne Aldi 2015 Brut Silver
Blanc de Blancs Charles de Cazanove NV Brut Bronze
£30-£50
Collection Terroir – Grand Cru Albert Lebrun NV Brut Gold
Cuvée des Ambassadeurs Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Comtes de Dampierre SAS NV Brut Silver
Blanc de Blancs Chateau de Bligny NV Brut Bronze
Blanc de Blancs Extra Grand Cru Champagne Haton NV Brut Bronze
£50+
Blanc de Blancs 2012 Telmont 2012 Extra-brut Master
Champagne Henriot Blanc de Blancs Champagne Henriot NV Brut Master
Champagne Castelnau Blanc de Blancs Champagne Castelnau 2007 Brut Gold
Blanc de Blancs Champagne Palmer & Co NV Brut Gold
Ayala Le Blanc de Blancs Champagne Ayala 2015 Extra-brut Gold
Piper-Heidsieck Essentiel Blanc de Blancs Piper-Heidsieck NV Extra-brut Gold
Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Champagne Collery NV Brut Gold
Besserat de Bellefon Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Champagne Besserat de Bellefon depuis 1843 NV Brut Gold
Perrier-Jouët Blanc de Blancs Perrier-Jouët NV Brut Gold
Mumm RSRV Blanc de Blancs 2014 G. H. Mumm 2014 Brut Gold
Blanc de Blancs 2017 Champagne Deutz 2017 Brut Gold
Champagne Delamotte Blanc de Blancs 2014 Delamotte 2014 Brut Gold
Pommery Apanage Blanc de Blancs Pommery NV Brut Silver
Abelé 1757 Blanc de Blancs Champagne Abelé 1757 NV Brut Silver
Champagne Delamotte Blanc de Blancs Delamotte NV Brut Silver
Grand Blanc de Blancs Champagne Gosset NV Brut Silver
Le Blanc de Blancs Champagne Lanson NV Brut Bronze

 

Name of Wine Winery Vint. Dosage Medal
Blanc De Noirs
£20-£30
Collecction Terroir – Blanc de Noirs Albert Lebrun NV Extra-brut Silver
Blanc de Noirs Charles Orban NV Brut Silver
£50+
Blanc de Noirs Grand Cru 30 HA NV Brut Gold
Blanc de Noirs 2014 Telmont 2014 Extra-brut Gold
Le Black Réserve Champagne Lanson NV Brut Gold
Besserat de Bellefon Blanc de Noirs Grand Cru Champagne Besserat de Bellefon depuis 1843 NV Brut Silver
Mumm RSRV Blanc de Noirs 2013 G. H. Mumm 2013 Brut Silver
Blanc de Noirs Champagne Palmer & Co NV Brut Silver
Pommery Apanage Blanc de Noirs Pommery NV Brut Bronze

 

Name of Wine Winery Vint. Dosage Medal
Alternative Grape Varieties
£30-£50
Collection Organic Extra Brut Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte NV Extra-brut Bronze
£50+
Clos de Chateau – 6 Cepages Chateau de Bligny NV Brut nature Bronze

 

Rosé
£15-£20
Veuve Monsigny Rosé Champagne Brut Aldi NV Brut Bronze
£30-£50
Cuvée Royale Brut Rosé Champagne Joseph Perrier NV Brut Gold
Pommery Brut Rosé Royal Pommery NV Brut Gold
Rosé Solera Champagne Palmer & Co NV Brut Silver
Heidsieck & Co Monopole Rosé Top Brut Heidsieck & Co Monopole NV Brut Silver
Le Rosé Champagne Lanson NV Brut Silver
NV Rose Brut Grand Cru Champagne Collery NV Brut Silver
Réserve Exclusive Rosé Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte NV Brut Silver
£50+
Besserat de Bellefon Rosé Brut Champagne Besserat de Bellefon depuis 1843 NV Brut Gold
Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé Champagne Laurent-Perrier NV Brut Gold
Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Rosé 2012 Perrier-Jouët 2012 Brut Gold
Piper-Heidsieck Rosé Sauvage Piper-Heidsieck NV Brut Silver
Mumm RSRV Rosé Foujita G. H. Mumm NV Brut Silver
Rare Champagne Rosé Millésime 2012 Rare Champagne 2012 Brut Silver
Grand Rosé Champagne Gosset NV Brut Silver
Cuvée Marguerite Rosé Champagne Vollereaux 2012 Brut Silver
Palmes d’Or Rosé Intense Vintage 2008 Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte 2008 Brut Silver
Mumm Grand Cordon Rosé G. H. Mumm NV Brut Silver
Champagne Carbon Rosé Champagne Carbon NV Brut Bronze
Perrier-Jouët Blason Rosé Perrier-Jouët NV Brut Bronze
Brut Rosé Champagne Deutz NV Brut Bronze
Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Rosé 2013 Perrier-Jouët 2013 Brut Bronze

About The Champagne Masters

The Champagne Masters is a competition created and run by the drinks business, and is an extension of its successful Masters series for grape varieties, such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, as well as regions like Rioja and Tuscany. The competition is exclusively for Champagne, and the entries were judged using Schott Zwiesel Cru Classic glasses supplied by Sensible Wine Services. The top wines were awarded Gold, Silver or Bronze medals according to their result, and those expressions that stood out as being outstanding received the ultimate accolade – the title of Champagne Master.

The Champagnes were judged on 10 March at London’s Coravin Wine & Bubbles Bar by Patrick Schmitt MW, Patricia Stefanowicz MW, Jonathan Pedley MW, David Round MW, Susan Hulme MW, and Siobhan Turner MW.

Please visit The Global Masters website for more information, or, to enter future competitions – giving you the chance to feature online and in print – please call +44 (0) 20 7803 2420 or email Sophie Raichura at: sophie@thedrinksbusiness.com

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