14 June, 2002

List of brands

This is a collection of champagnes, all from big houses, chosen by experts from the national French newspaper, Le Figaro, for a theme on wines in September 2005.

The criteria for the selection is not mentioned, but it is interesting to see, how the selection more or less covers a complete round amongst the major brands in Champagne. No smaller producers are represented.

Well, it is not a fast and easy job to get an overview of 5.000 different brands, where most offer several products. You've got to start somewhere after all.

Non vintage bruts
  • Vranken: Tête de Cuvée
  • Canard-Duchêne: Cuvée Léonie
  • Alain Thiénot: Brut
  • De Venoge: Cordon Bleu
  • Joseph Perrier: Cuvée Royale Brut
  • Bruno Paillard: Brut Première Cuvée
  • Ruinart: "R" de Ruinart Brut

    Three amongst the mentioned bruts are brands, that have been developped during the last 20-30 years: Vranken, Thiénot and Paillard.

    I have tasted the Vranken and Joseph Perrier bruts, both a bit too sexless for my taste. The "R" of Ruinart would be my choice, but I do admit, that I have a weakness for this brand after enjoying their blanc de blancs some years ago.

    Vintage (millésimés)
  • Chanoine: Tsarine 1995
  • Deutz: Brut 1998
  • Moët & Chandon: Brut Imperial 1999
  • Jacquesson: Avize "Grand Cru" 1996
  • Gosset: "Grand Millésime" 1999
  • Charles Heidsieck: "Blanc de Millénaires" 1995
  • Bollinger: "La Grande Année"1997

    We have a similar Moët-bottle in the cave to drink for some occasion, but we don't particularly like the non-vintagebrut of this brand. Maybe the millésime-bottle will convince more efficiently one day.

    Moët-flasken har vi liggende i kælderen til en eller anden lejlighed, men egentlig er vi ikke specielt begejstrede for dette hus' stil. Måske millésime-flasken kan overbevise om noget andet.

    If you like the vigorous style of Bollinger, there is even more of it in this vintage bottle than the - well - ordinary Special Cuvée. If I was to buy one of these bottles, I would go for the Charles Heidsieck after tasting there brut sans année with great pleasure.

    Rosé champagne brut
  • Duval-Leroy: Rosé de saignée
  • De Saint-Gall: Rosé brut "Grand Cru"
  • Piper-Heidsieck: Rosé Brut "Sauvage"
  • Mumm: Rosé brut
  • Henriot: Rosé brut
  • Billecart-Salmon: "Elisabeth Salmon" 1996
  • Veuve-Clicquot: "Vintage Rosé" 1999

    The most expensive bottle of the pink company is the Elisabeth Salmon, always mentioned amongst the best of pink champagnes. I guess, there is a reason why, so of course I'd love to taste it. But, I don't know when we are in the mood to spend 150 euros for one bottle of champagne... so I guess, I'll have to wait.

    But the rosé de saignée of Duval-Leroy interest me too, because I like the saignée style, where the colour originates from grape skin, that has macerated in the must instead of adding red wine as in the rosé champagnes.

    Cuvées de prestige:
  • Nicolas Feuillatte: "Palmes d'Or" 1996
  • Philipponnat: "Clos de Goisses" 1992
  • Pol Roger: "Winston Churchill" 1995
  • Taittinger: "Comtes de Champagne" 1995
  • Laurent-Perrier: "Grand Siecle"
  • Louis Roederer: "Cristal" 1999
  • Pommery: "Louise" 1996

    I have never tried a prestige bottle of one of the big brands. Could I choose freely amongst these, I would begin with Pol Roger, because I often like the brands, that are popular in England such as for instance Bollinger and Lanson.

    Your own taste
    The more champagnes, I try, the more I am able to define and develop my own taste. Today I find many - but not all - of the most popular products of the big champagne brands uninteresting. Vintage champagnes and prestige bottles are a different story.

    The best bruts of the small winegrowers are more interesting - and cheaper - but you have to drink your way through an awful lot of bottles, before you can separate your own favourites from what is bad or what you dislike.

    Another way - cheaper but maybe less fun - is to buy the Hachette or some wineguides to find the accessible paths through the jungle.
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