Chances are, given the season, you’re drinking more Champagne than usual. And with one of the biggest Champagne occasions of them all right around the corner, we’ve found ourselves not only re-stocking our own supplies but reflecting on a year chock full of delicious Champagne offers. In addition to myself, the SommSelect team includes another Champagne fanatic—staff writer and sommelier Mark Osburn—and together we sifted through 2018’s many sumptuous sparklers to compile a list of our favorites, arranged by style. No doubt some of these wines will be familiar, if not in your possession and poised to be uncorked. Hopefully you were able to try a few—if not, commit these names to memory and prepare yourself for lots of exciting new offers in 2019! If you do not currently receive our email offers, sign up for free below.

Brut Nature (No Added Sugar)

Tarlant, Brut Nature, “Cuvée Louis”
Classic 12th-generation family in the Vallée de la Marne. Equal parts old-vine Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from a single vineyard. It has aged nearly two decades and showcases the finest aromas of mature, high-end Champagne.

 

André Beaufort
One of Champagne’s very first Certified Organic estates. Mostly Pinot Noir from the 2009 vintage, this wine was barrel fermented and saw seven years of bottle aging before disgorgement. Clean, dynamic, savory—a real treat!

 

Blanc de Noirs (100% Pinot Noir/Meunier)

Roses de Jeanne (Cédric Bouchard), “Côte de Val Vilaine”
One of Champagne’s newest “culty” names that is focused on microproduction wines that highlight individual grape and terroir expression. 100% single-vineyard Pinot Noir that never sees a dosage. Vinous, broad, Burgundian. A true sensation.

 

Benoît Déhu, “La Rue des Noyers”
Another recent addition to the brilliant new wave of grower-producers. 100% Meunier from Vallée de la Marne. Biodynamic, barrel-aged wines that channel mineral power and refinement. It manages to capture the pure essence of the seriously underrepresented Meunier grape.

 

Blanc de Blancs (100% Chardonnay)

Pierre Gimonnet, “Cuvée Gastronome”
One of the region’s most respected ‘grower-producers.’ A wine that was built for, you guessed it: gastronomy. Bottled at lower pressure and topped of with a moderate dosage so it drinks like a creamy, pillowy soft Chardonnay—but from towering Grand Cru and Premier Cru villages.

 

P. Lancelot-Royer, Millésime 2008
Always one of the finest values on the market: This bottle hails from 2008—one of the greatest vintages of modern time—and is sourced entirely from the Grand Cru village of Cramant. Opulent, focused, and always accompanied with an elegant touch.

 

Rosé

Henriet-Bazin, Grand Cru Brut
A new find for us—and one I hope we can offer until the end of time. Amazing price-to-quality here: Single vintage (2013) and entirely sourced from two prominent Grand Crus. It’s a deeply colored rosé that is equally deep in flavor. Hard to beat this value.

 

Guy Larmandier, Vertus Premier Cru
This classic independent grower produces a laser-sharp rosé from one of my favorite Premier Crus: Vertus—located at the southern tip of Côte de Blancs’ string of Grand Crus. Mostly Chardonnay with a splash of Pinot Noir, this has refined berry fruit that surges with minerality!

 

Vintage Champagne (Entirely from one year)

Jean Vesselle, Bouzy Grand Cru, “Prestige” Millésime 2000
Granted, we offered this out of magnum, it was one of the greatest Champagne experiences of 2018. Entirely from Grand Cru Bouzy and cellar-aged for 16 years before disgorgement, this richly layered, turn-of-the-century millésime was a superbly rare treat.

 

Paul Déthune, Brut Grand Cru, “Cuvée à l’Ancienne” 2011
Consistently delicious and unfathomably textured, Déthune has quickly become one of my favorite producers. This was the greatest 2011 Champagne I (Mark) have ever tasted and a “top three” candidate of the year for me. Bottled with hemp twine, to mirror the “old way.” Nice touch.

 

Non-Vintage (A blend of years; multi-vintage)

André Clouet, Grande Réserve, Brut Grand Cru
No surprise here. André Clouet is a recurring SommSelect theme and each ‘NV’ release is always a ripe and lavish take on the Grand Cru villages of Bouzy and Ambonnay. Unbeatable price, swanky label, opulent Champagne—it’s hard not to impress a guest with this.

 

Egly-Ouriet, Brut Tradition Grand Cru
One of the most elite grower-producers in the entirety of Champagne. Organic, barrel-aged wines with unmatched ripeness and depth. Although his entry-level bottling, this Brut Tradition beats out a slew of prestige cuvées twice the price.

 

Non-Champagne (Other sparkling wines from around the world)

Maison Crochet, “Cuvée Crochet” Sparkling Rosé
Another new find for us and one of the most breathtakingly gorgeous and mouthwateringly fresh sparkling rosés I’ve had—just wait until you see the price! From a tiny estate in Lorraine, a historic region between Champagne and Alsace. Don’t recognize this one? Keen eye! Be on the lookout in the coming days.

 

Gut Hermannsberg, Riesling Sekt, Brut
A tough choice! We offered a few German sparklers this year, all around the same price, but I’m giving Gut Hermannsberg the slight edge. Super clean and floral with an ultra-soft mousse, this is a perfect bottle to revisit when flowers are in bloom.

SommSelect On Tour: The USA Today Wine & Food Experience

This fall, SommSelect’s Ian Cauble and David Lynch travel to 10 cities across the country to share great wines and the stories behind them—and maybe we’ll meet Martha Stewart! Headlined by TV icon Martha Stewart and many big-name celebrity chefs—including Alex Guarnaschelli, ScottConant, and Mario Carbone—the USA Today Wine & Food Experience has added SommSelect […]

Moroccan Wine: Old Country, New Frontier

The latest SommSelect adventure abroad was one we’ll never forget—and we brought the best wines back with us to keep the memories fresh. As a member of the SommSelect wine team, I’ve gotten to visit some of the world’s greatest wine regions and taste with legendary winemakers. But Ian Cauble added a wrinkle to this […]

Where to Drink Wine: Barcelona

Welcome to a new SommSelect blog series we’re calling Where To Drink Wine, in which we ask our intrepid sommelier friends to recommend the best wine-drinking places they’ve encountered during their travels. Today we welcome sommelier and writer Erin Rickenbacker, who runs the all-Spanish wine program at San Francisco’s Bellota—itself an excellent place to drink […]

Napa Valley Past & Present

Master Sommelier Tim Gaiser is a well-known lecturer, author, and wine educator who has mentored many MS candidates, including SommSelect’s Ian Cauble. Recently, he posted this piece on his personal blog and, with his permission, we’ve reproduced it here. Anyone with a love of both history and wine will appreciate Tim’s revisiting of a classic book […]

You Say Indigenous, I Say Autochthonous…The Best Native Grapes to Try Now

It’s a wide world of vitis vinifera out there, but which lesser-known native grapes are most worthy of more attention? We’re not two months into 2019, and already SommSelect has offered wines from grapes such as Pelaverga (Piedmont, Italy), Xinomavro (Macedonia, Greece), and Kékfrankos (Slovakia!). Oh, and Piedirosso (Campania, Italy) and Loureiro (Vinho Verde, Portugal), […]