Close Menu
News

Top 10 vintage Champagnes

Here are the 10 best vintage expressions from the 2022 Champagne Masters, featuring single-harvest samples from 2008 to 2016 – including star performers from 2012 – all of which were Gold medallists or higher in the UK’s leading Champagne-only, professional blind-tasting competition.

CHAMPAGNE JEAN-NOEL HATON, CUVÉE NOBLE, 2016

  • Producer: Jean-Noel Haton
  • Grape varieties: 50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir
  • Abv: 12%
  • Dosage: Brut
  • Vintage: 2016
  • Approx. retail price: Approx £40
  • Medal: Gold

This good-value sub £50 expression from Champagne Jean-Noël Haton, called Cuvée Noble, was this year’s least expensive Gold medallist of the vintage category. Hailing from the 2016 harvest, it shows the characters of a relatively young vintage Champagne, with lots of zesty citrus notes, but also some riper yellow fruit flavours, along with baked apple and fresh bread, along with a subtle nutty and chalky edge. (Patrick Schmitt MW)

CHAMPAGNE BRIMONCOURT, MILLÉSIME 2009

  • Producer: Champagne Brimoncourt
  • Blend: Chardonnay: 70, Pinot Noir: 30
  • Vintage: 2009
  • Dosage: Brut
  • Price Category: £50+
  • Approx UK Retail Price: £75
  • Medal: Gold

Champagne Brimoncourt’s inaugural vintage release from the 2009 harvest is a stunner, with layers of flavour from creamy coffee to vanilla essence, and lemon juice, poached pear and nuts, before finishing with a persistent dry chalkyfresh character. (Patrick Schmitt MW)

CHAMPAGNE FREREJEAN FRÈRES, CUVÉE DES HUSSARDS, PREMIER CRU, 2012

  • Producer: Champagne Frerejean Frères
  • Grape varieties: 85% Chardonnay, 15% Pinot Noir
  • Abv: 12%
  • Dosage: Extra Brut
  • Vintage: 2012
  • Approx. retail price: Approx £180
  • Medal: Gold

Taking its name from Napoléon’s army of Hussars, who became famous for ostentatiously opening Champagne with their sabres, Cuvée des Hussards is the top vintage expression from Frerejean Frères. It’s made with Chardonnay and a touch of Pinot Noir from vineyards planted more than 40 years ago in villages Cramant, Avize and Oger, and has intensely zesty flavours of lemon and lime, grapefruit pith and baked apple. Along with these fruit characters are notes of baked break, grilled hazelnuts, crushed chalk and a sherry-like saltiness. Texturally, it’s full but fine, with a lively, tangy and refreshing finish. (Patrick Schmitt MW)

CHAMPAGNE CHARLES DE CAZANOVE, MILLÉSIMÉ TRADITION, 2008

  • Producer: Champagne Charles de Cazanove
  • Region: Champagne
  • Country: France
  • Grape varieties: 60% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Noir, 15% Meunier
  • Abv: 12%
  • Dosage: Brut
  • Vintage: 2008
  • Approx. retail price: £32
  • Medal: Gold

Located in Reims on the Place de République, Charles de Cazanove produces wines in a biscuit, malolactic style. This wine displays a pale luminous gold hue and ripe nectarine and wild peach with a hint of pink grapefruit behind. A dense palate with plenty of toasty autolytic character and lively acidity supporting, there are also hints of honey and cream. A delicious, complex mature wine, and quite a bargain. (Patricia Stefanowicz MW)

CHAMPAGNE POMMERY, GRAND CRU ROYAL, 2008

  • Producer: Champagne Pommery
  • Grape varieties: 50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir
  • Abv: 12%
  • Dosage: Brut
  • Vintage: 2012
  • Approx. retail price: £70
  • Medal: Gold

This lively, zesty, smoky vintage Champagne from Pommery under its Grand Cru Royal range comes from the critically-acclaimed 2008 harvest. It’s a delicious chance to revisit this great year, with a creamy-textured core and a fresh zesty finish, featuring flavours from toast and lemon, crisp apple and grilled nuts, and a touch of freshly-struck match too. (Patrick Schmitt MW)

CHAMPAGNE PIPER-HEIDSIECK, VINTAGE 2014

  • Producer: Champagne Piper-Heidsieck
  • Grape varieties: 55% Pinot Noir, 45% Chardonnay
  • Abv: 12%
  • Vintage: 2014
  • Dosage: Brut
  • Approx. retail price: £60
  • Medal: Master

Like the other Heidsiecks, Heidsieck & Co. Monopole and this firm’s ‘sister’ Charles Heidsieck, this Champagne House traces its roots back to Florens-Ludwig Heidsieck in 1785, but its origins as a separate House date from 1834 when Christian Heidsieck formed his own company. From that point, this House is the only one allowed to use the brand ‘Heidsieck’, pure and simple, although most (if not all!) the sales are under the well-recognised Piper-Heidsieck brand. Long a reliable favourite, this bottle is a ‘star among stars.’ This wine, from the 2014 vintage, a possible rival to 2012, gives new meaning to the term, ‘bubbleometry’, with minuscule bubbles and persistent mousse shimmering through its mid-gold colour. A maturing and intense nose of orchard fruits, honey and buttery croissant leads onto an integrated, velvet-textured palate braced by brisk acidity, hints of lime and lemon zest and then to a long plush finish. A sensational wine that delivers for all five senses from the ‘pop’ of the cork to the last lingering sip. (Patricia Stefanowicz MW)

CHAMPAGNE PIPER-HEIDSIECK, VINTAGE 2014 MAGNUM (Same vintage, larger format)

  • Producer: Piper-Heidsieck
  • Blend: Pinot Noir 55%, Chardonnay 45%
  • Vintage: 2014
  • Dosage: Brut
  • Price Category: £50+
  • Approx UK Retail Price: £130
  • Medal: Gold

Tasted from magnum, this 2014 expression from Champagne Piper-Heidsieck is magnificent. The large format enhances its fresh, smoky character, yielding a fizz loaded with the delicious flavours of roasted coffee bean, grilled hazelnut, orange peel and crisp apple, and a texture that manages to be both creamy as well as zesty and chalky. Delicious now but could certainly be kept for five years plus. (Patrick Schmitt MW)

CHAMPAGNE TELMONT, LE VINOTÈQUE 2012

  • Producer: Champagne Telmont
  • Grape varieties: 33% Chardonnay, 33% Meunier, 34% Pinot Noir
  • Abv: 12%
  • Vintage: 2012
  • Approx. retail price: £115.50
  • Medal: Gold

Henri Lhopital first made and sold Champagne in 1912 under his family name, but it was André Lhopital, who established the company in 1952. Mid-straw in hue with streams of tiny bubbles, the Champagne shows green and golden apples and smoky autolysis with digestive biscuit coming through on the palate. Medium weight, concentrated, with lively acidity balanced by flavours and silky-textured mousse, the wine has persistence and a long, honeyed finish. A delight with cheese soufflé napped with tarragon cream sauce or cod steamed with green olives, pimientos and lemon zest. (Patricia Stefanowicz MW)

CHAMPAGNE DEUTZ, BRUT 2015

  • Producer: Champagne Deutz
  • Blend: 65% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay, 5% Pinot Meunier
  • Vintage: 2015
  • Dosage: Brut
  • Price Category: £50+
  • Approx UK Retail Price: £60
  • Medal: Gold

This lovely vintage Champagne from Deutz has everything you’d want in a fine glass of fizz, with candied citrus, peach and pineapple, a touch of honey, cappuccino froth and freshly-baked biscuit, while proving zesty and chalky too, making for a full-flavoured form of refreshment. (Patrick Schmitt MW)

CHAMPAGNE JOSEPH PERRIER, CUVÉE ROYALE BRUT MILLÉSIMÉ, 2012

  • Producer: Champagne Joseph Perrier
  • Grape varieties: 46% Chardonnay, 54% Pinot Noir
  • Abv: 12%
  • Vintage: 2012
  • Dosage: Brut
  • Approx. retail price: £60
  • Medal: Master

A stunning example of 2012 vintage Champagne, the wine is mid-straw in hue with tiny persistent bubbles, plenty of griotte and apple flavours and fresh yeast autolysis leading to a concentrated and integrated palate with racy acidity and brittle mousse texture. A long, savoury, bready and complex wine that is an excellent match for rich, intricate dishes, even game birds with exotic sauces. (Patricia Stefanowicz MW)

CHAMPAGNE HENRIOT MILLÉSIME 2012

  • Producer: Champagne Henriot
  • Blend: Chardonnay: 54, Pinot Noir: 46
  • Vintage: 2012
  • Dosage: Brut
  • Price Category: £50+
  • Approx UK Retail Price: £85
  • Medal: Master

Hailing from the great 2012 vintage, this marvellous Champagne from the house of Henriot is complete, featuring a hedonistic mix of creamy coffee, toast, gun smoke and tangy lemon and lime characters on the lingering, refreshing finish. (Patrick Schmitt MW)

Read more

The medallists from the Champagne Masters 2022

Top 10 non-vintage Champagnes

Top 10 blanc de blancs Champagnes

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 Wine 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

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No