Our 2014 expert taste test of Champagne and sparkling wine has revealed that price doesn’t necessarily guarantee quality. Two out of the three best Champagnes are supermarket own-brands costing less than £23. And our experts recommended a supermarket Prosecco that’s £10.
Meanwhile, big Champagne brand Veuve Clicquot failed to impress. Its £37 Yellow Label Ponsardin non-vintage Champagne was ranked ninth out of 14.
Our taste test revealed several great tasting sparkling wines that cost half the price of our top-scoring Champagnes. So they’re a great choice if you’re looking to save this Christmas and New Year.
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The best Champagne
Sainsbury’s Blanc de Blanc Brut Champagne (£22.50) came joint top with Piper Heidsieck Brut Champagne (£33). Our experts liked the ‘tantilising biscuit and brioche-like aromas’ of the Sainsbury’s Champagne and the ‘savoury and rich tones’.
Piper Heidsieck was praised for its ‘fresh, creamy, chocolate and honey flavours’ and both Champagnes will suit those that prefer a drier Champagne.
Tesco Finest Premier Cru Champagne (£19.99) came third and is slightly sweeter than the other two top bottles. The panel enjoyed the fresh, lively character and the smooth flavour.
Find out which Champagne is the best for your palate and budget, and which you should avoid. Click to read the full tasting notes of our Champagne review.
The best sparkling wine
The top-scoring Prosecco in our taste test was from The Co-operative and, at £10, is excellent value. Our experts liked ‘the good acidity and fruitiness’ of this well-made Prosecco.
Joint second in our sparkling wine taste test were Tesco Finest Blanquette de Limoux 1531 (£10.49) and, exclusive to Waitrose, Valdo Oro Puro Prosecco Superiore Valdobbiadene (£13.49).
Our experts described the Tesco sparkling wine as ‘Champagne-like in style, but with a lower acidity’. The Prosecco from Waitrose was praised for its good balance of sweetness and acidity.
For full details, don’t miss our sparkling wine review.
How we test Champagne and sparkling wine
Our wine experts were Tim Atkin, Peter McCombie, Kathyrn McWhirter, Charles Metcalfe and Derek Smedley. They blind tasted each Champagne and sparkling wine and rated them individually. Each expert tasted the Champagnes and sparkling wines in a different order.