Co-op Les Pionniers Non-Vintage (NV) Champagne (£19) and Mumm Cordon Rouge Brut NV Champagne (£35) have topped the Which? Christmas 2018 champagne taste test.
They were the only champagnes to be named Best Buys from a line-up of 15 fizzes costing £35 or less. Both scored an impressive 78%.
The Which? wine experts loved the elegant, well-balanced Co-op champagne. They called the Mumm a deliciously sweet, fresh champagne.
Narrowly missing out on a Which? Best Buy, third-placed Moët & Chandon Impérial Brut NV Champagne (£34) was awarded a score of 77%.
All of the experts agreed that it had a distinctive flavour and dry finish but found it slightly less sophisticated than the Best Buys.
Best cheap champagne
The £19 Co-op Les Pionniers Non-Vintage (NV) Champagne was our cheapest Best Buy champagne this year. But if you don’t have a Co-op nearby and are looking for budget bubbles, it’s worth you checking out our fourth-placed fizz. It scored a very respectable 76% and also costs just £19.
Find out what it is by checking our line-up of Best champagne 2018.
Laurent-Perrier vs Lidl champagne
We asked our panel of wine experts to taste a variety of supermarket own-label or exclusive non-vintage (NV) champagnes and six top-selling big-name champagnes – everything from Laurent-Perrier to Lidl. All cost £35 or less.
Champagnes vary in sweetness, from the driest (extra brut) to sweetest (doux), with brut, extra sec, sec and demi-sec in between. All those we tasted were brut (dry).
Overall, our experts were impressed with the standard of the champagne available for Christmas 2018, saying they were much fresher and livelier than those they’d tried in recent years.
Still, there were a couple that weren’t anything special – they were disappointingly bland and had a flat aroma.
Here’s the full list of all the champagnes we tested:
- Aldi Veuve Monsigny Champagne Brut (£12)
- Asda Extra Special Premier Cru Champagne (£19)
- Co-op Les Pionniers NV Champagne (£19)
- Heidsieck Monopole Blue Top Brut Champagne NV (£27)
- Lanson Black Label Brut NV (£32)
- Laurent-Perrier Brut NV Champagne (£35)
- Lidl Comte de Senneval Champagne Brut (£12)
- M&S Louis Vertay Champagne Brut NV (£20)
- Moët & Chandon Impérial Brut NV Champagne (£34)
- Morrisons The Best Premier Cru Champagne Brut NV (£19)
- Mumm Cordon Rouge Brut NV Champagne (£35)
- Sainsbury’s Landric Champagne (£25)
- Spar Marquis Belrive Champagne (£17.50)
- Tesco Finest Premier Cru Champagne (£19)
- Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut NV Champagne (£35)
All are available now, except Morrisons The Best Premier Cru Champagne Brut NV. You’ll see it on shop shelves from 26 November.
Find out whether it’s worth splashing out on Laurent-Perrier, or whether your local supermarket fizz will do just fine, by checking all the results of our Best Christmas champagne 2018.
How we tested the champagnes
Champagne tasting is a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it. Here’s how we make sure our wine experts can’t see what they’re tasting:
We concealed the identity of all the champagnes, chilled them, and served them up to a panel of wine experts using International Standards Organisation (ISO) wine glasses.
Each expert tried the wines in a different order, looking for character, depth and complexity.
Then they discussed their tasting notes, agreed on a score for each bottle and decided which ones deserved to be Best Buys – before we revealed which champagne was which.
Five distinguished champagne experts tasted and assessed each champagne for us:
- Charles Metcalfe – wine taster and co-chair of the International Wine Challenge (IWC)
- Kathryn McWhirter – wine taster, author and translator
- Peter McCombie – Master of Wine, speaker, consultant, co-chair of the IWC
- Richard Bampfield – Master of Wine, European Champagne Ambassador 2009
- Sam Caporn – Master of wine, wine consultant, speaker, writer and IWC judge
We’ve tasted all manner of food and drink this year, including seasonal fare such as mince pies, Christmas puddings and prosecco, as well as the basics, such as supermarket ham.
Best Buy prices correct as of 16 November 2018.