The best among sparkling wines and champagne 2013 | BKWine selection

Top tips on everything from affordable Australian bubbly to exclusive prestige champagne

Here is the BKWine selection of the best sparkling wines and champagnes for the festive season. Our reporter Jack Jakobsson has tasted a long list of sparkling and champagnes and selected the best for you.

However, this requires some explanation. Each month we taste and review all new launches at the Swedish monopoly, Systembolaget. When the end of the year approaches we also taste their full range of sparkling wines (which is decent but not fabulously big). Each month we publish the reviews and ratings from the tastings and for Christmas and New Year we also do a “special”. But only in Swedish! (It is not so interesting, we think, for those outside of Sweden. Subscribe to the Swedish version of the BKWine Brief if you are interested!)

Many of the wines in the sparkling / champagne selection in Sweden are also widely available in other countries. So this year we will also share with you, our English language readers, our best champagne and bubbly picks.

Jack’s report

Dear Wine Lover,

Flute filled with sparkling wine

Flute filled with sparkling wine, copyright BKWine Photography

Here are my end-of-the-year tips for your upcoming New Year purchases. I give you a review of all sparkling wines that can right now be found in the “standard” range in Sweden.

Perhaps worth noting in my review of the most affordable as well as the best sparkling wines this autumn is that I can find more or less the same labels this winter as in previous years, albeit with sometimes updated vintages and degorging dates. If it’s my taste that has undergone rigid surgery or if my favourite producers simply have the ability to keep quality over the years, I leave it to you, dear reader, to judge.

Best-value affordable sparkling (including champagne)

As the best value among the “affordable” sparkling wines I have some of the least costly champagnes, 2007 Palmer Blanc de Blancs, Beaumont des Crayères Grande Réserve Brut and Charles Mignon Brut Premium Reserve, the latter two without vintage and keenly priced for those who want to find a champagne label for less than some 20 euro. The 2007 Palmer is ok to drink now but will clearly benefit from some ageing.

If you want to go elsewhere than France, I recommend Cloudy Bay Pelorus Blanc de Blancs, Graham Beck Blanc de Blancs Brut (almost on my BARGAIN list). For not more than some 10 euro they are very affordable, albeit slightly one-dimensional. For your party with plenty of guest where the sight of bubbles are more important than provenance you have two really good alternatives in Jacob’s Creek Chardonnay Pinot Noir Brut Cuvée and Casa Rivas Brut where Casa Rivas is ideal for outdoor use around midnight especially if your drinking is disturbed by sleet.

If you for some reason must have a bubbly rosé of modest price (and thus character) choose Gardo & Morris Brut Rosé, a rosé that is shining in complexity but that right now is the best value budget option.

  • 2007 Palmer Blanc de Blancs
  • Beaumont Crayères Grande réserve des Brut
  • Charles Mignon Brut Premium Reserve
  • Cloudy Bay Pelorus Blanc de Blancs
  • Graham Beck Blanc de Blancs Brut
  • Jacob’s Creek Chardonnay Pinot Noir Brut Cuvée
  • Casa Rivas Brut
  • Gardo & Morris Brut Rosé

Best prestige champagne

If you are looking for quality bubbles of a more prestigious kind then there is a lot to choose from but your selection needs to be preceded by some careful consideration. Few of the best are in their peak maturity at this year’s New Year. However, 2002 Pol Roger Blanc de Blancs is one of the exceptions that are. For most others, count on keeping them up to 10+ years before many of the prestige champagnes reach their peak.

Wine Tours

A quick reminder of the winter and spring season (English language) wine tours. Perhaps a last-minute Christmas gift solution? On the schedule:

In the so-called mid-level of sparkling (here we are talking in practice only about champagne) I choose this year a quadruple, starting with a non-vintage Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve, then 2006 Henriot Millesime Brut 2004, Michel Gonet Prestige Grand Cru Blanc de Blanc Brut Nature (BARGAIN) and Taittinger Brut Réserve. All perfectly possible to drink now but they will improve much with ageing. Henriots cuvée should be matched with some substantial food, maybe a rich lobster soup.

  • 2002 Pol Roger Blanc de Blancs
  • Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve
  • 2006 Henriot Brut Millesime
  • 2004 Michel Gonet Prestige Grand Cru Blanc de Blanc Brut Nature (BARGAIN)
  • Taittinger Brut Réserve

Best luxury bubbles

In the luxury segment the Systembolaget range offers only a limited selection. But there are a few options.

The 2000 Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill offers an eminent luxurious feel (the 1999 vintage was my “best champagne” last year) but the change in vintage, in my opinion, has led to that this year’s best champagne in the Systembolaget “standard” range is (the non-vintage) luxury cuvée Krug Grande Cuvée. The wine is delicious now but could / should of course be kept in the cellar for quite some time. The mass-produced and very famous Dom Pérignon, now in the 2004 version, unfortunately did not live up to its price but the wine is in a difficult phase of development so if you are a collector of this particular wine you might get a much better experience in 10-15 years’ time when perhaps the wine’s hidden greatness appears?

Not exactly a luxury champagne, but according to many with a colour of luxury you have (again a repeat from last year!) as clearly the best sparkling rosé Gosset Grand Rosé Brut that fits both an aperitif and a New Year menu with some more elaborate dishes.

  • 2000 Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill
  • Krug Grande Cuvée
  • Dom Pérignon
  • Gosset Grand Rosé Brut

Best non-alcohol / low-alcohol sparkling

Finally, note the excellent non-alcohol option Toselli Spumante from Bosca Spa and the lightly alcoholic sweet bubbly Mia Moscato from Freixenet. The latter can go well with your dessert, at least if you are serving fresh berries and fruits. Alternatively, the wine can be your option to go with the sorbet that you may have planned on the New Year menu.

  • Toselli Spumante, Bosca Spa
  • Mia Moscato, Freixenet

Festive greetings for Christmas and New Year from this BKWine envoy who also wishes just you, and only you, a really

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Wine year

Jack Jakobsson

Jack’s lists

Best sparkling wine (in the Swedish monopoly range) autumn 2013

Best sparkling wine (in the Swedish monopoly range) autumn 2013(Swedish price,
1 kr = ~0.11 euro)
17,5p7494NV Krug Grande Cuvée1449 kr
17,0p77522NV Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve459 kr
17,0p77892006 Henriot Millésimé Brut499 kr
17,0p75792004 Bollinger La Grande Année Brut849 kr
17,0p75482000 Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill (Pol Roger)1149 kr
17,0p74282004 Dom Pérignon (Moët & Chandon)1247 kr
16,5p78952004 Michel Gonet Prestige Grand Cru B de B Brut Nature339 kr
16,5p7422NV Taittinger Brut Réserve369 kr
16,5p7405NV Gosset Grand Rosé Brut459 kr
16,5p78712005 Taittinger Brut Millésimé469 kr
16,5p75362004 Pol Roger Brut Vintage479 kr
16,5p882852002 Pol Roger Blanc de Blancs575 kr
16,5p77611NV Lanson Extra Age Brut Blanc de Blancs599 kr
16,5p7578Alfred Gratien Cuvée Paradis Brut599 kr

Best value for money in sparkling wines (in the Swedish monopoly range) 2013

Best value for money in sparkling wines (in the Swedish monopoly range) 2013(Swedish price,
1 kr = ~0.11 euro)
16,0p75532007 Palmer Blanc de Blancs294 kr
15,5p7891NV Beaumont des Crayères Grande Réserve Brut199 kr
15,0p7719NV Charles Mignon Brut Premium Reserve169 kr
14,5p7894NV Cloudy Bay Pelorus Blanc de Blancs129 kr
14,5p65052009 Graham Beck Blanc de Blancs Brut129 kr
13,5p75672009 Rotari Brut Riserva (Mezzacorona)99 kr
13,0p7639NV Graham Beck Brut Chardonnay Pinot Noir95 kr
13,0p7732NV Gardo & Morris Brut Rosé109 kr
12,0p7359NV Jacob's Creek Chardonnay Pinot Noir Brut Cuvée89 kr
11,5p7760NV Casa Rivas Brut69 kr
10,0p7897NV Mia Moscato (Freixenet)49 kr
10,0p1996NV Toselli Spumante (Bosca Spa, Alkoholfri)34 kr

Best recent releases of sparkling wines, autumn 2013 (Swedish monopoly range)

Best recent releases of sparkling wines, autumn 2013 (in the Swedish monopoly range)(Swedish price,
1 kr = ~0.11 euro)
18,0p 951151989 Boizel Joyau de France Brut995 kr
17,5p961132002 Orpale Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut749 kr
17,5p 95131NV Henri Giraud Fût de Chêne Grand Cru Brut869 kr
17,0p 961122002 Françoise Bedel Brut L'Ame de la Terre429 kr
17,0p 950162004 Bruno Paillard Brut Assemblage485 kr
17,0p 900322006 Pierre Peters Cuvée Speciale Les Chétillons595 kr
17,0p840031996 Cuvée St Vincent Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru749 kr
17,0p 97037NV Jacques Selosse Brut Initial755 kr
16,5p 7419NV Louis Massing Brut Nature Grand Cru Blanc de blanc280 kr
16,5p 7522NV Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve459 kr
16,5p 7611NV Lanson Extra Age Brut Blanc de Blancs599 kr
16,0p 7734NV Cuperly Grande Reserve Carte Verte329 kr
15,5p 960512010 NV Ridgeview Grosvenor298 kr

This post is also available in: Swedish

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