Bordeaux, Burgundy, and the Rhône Valley are the best known wine regions of France except for Champagne. This sparkling wine from the chalk slopes east of Paris is France’s best answer to a global brand. It is the drink of celebration, of success, and the best way to drown sorrows. And, unlike the still French wines, which have been successfully copied around the world, Champagne remains inimitable, despite thousands of attempts. The combination of cool climate, chalk soil and — there’s no other word for it — terroir are just so special.
Like virtually every part of France, the Champagne wine region is subdivided into smaller parts, but unlike in other parts of France, those subregions rarely appear on the bottle. Although there are exceptions, like Blanc de Blancs and vintage Champagnes, most Champagnes are blends from different areas and even different vintages, using the three Champagne grape varieties: Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir. Search our Champagne wine guide’s hundreds of Champagne reviews for more details on individual wines and for our comprehensive database of Champagne ratings.
A wine that has created its own universe. It has a unique, special softness that allies with the total purity that comes from a small, enclosed single vineyard. The fruit is almost irrelevant here, because it comes as part of a much deeper complexity. This is a great wine, at the summit of Champagne, a sublime, unforgettable experience.— R.V. (12/1/2010)
The 35th and most recent vintage of Salon since the house was founded in 1905 is memorable and magnificent. Made only from Chardonnay grown in the Grand Cru village of Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, it combines intense minerality, a crisp textured core and the beginnings of maturity. The depths of this wine, with its layers of fruit and steeliness, are superb. Even after 12…— R.V. (12/1/2014)
A magnificent Champagne, one that is light, delicate, yet packed with character. It is beautifully balanced, with a bone-dry character, just softened by the toastiness that is developing. Expect this to age for many years.— R.V. (12/1/2010)
This is an exceptional wine, as is the vintage. The fruits—grapefruit, crisp red apple—balance with a fine yeasty character. There is a great depth of flavor, the fruits going in a pure line of freshness. The one problem is that it is much too young, the result of the demand from the market for the next vintage. Age this wine for at least four years.— R.V. (12/1/2008)
With its gold color and mature, toasty flavors, this is possibly the greatest Winston Churchill ever. It has weight and richness, with a dense, full and rich texture. It’s in perfect balance, bringing together maturity and crisper apple and green plum fruit flavors that are cut with lemon. A mineral edge gives a nervy character that will allow this magnificent wine…— R.V. (3/1/2015)
A glorious Champagne, now at the peak of its powers and maturity. It is rich, creamy, lightly toasty, cookies and yeast propelling the fruits and acidity forward into a wonderful texture. This wine confirms Henriot’s place at the top tables of Champagne.— R.V. (12/1/2010)
This is the current vintage of the limited-release Collection series, in which wines are held in stock, in bottle, by Krug for later release. This fabulous 1981 is mature, but still evolving. Gold in color, it is toasty, integrating flavors of nuts, cocoa and toffee, along with still fresh acidity.— R.V. (11/1/2006)
Laurent-Perrier’s prestige cuvée has always been nonvintage, a blending of top wines from top years. It remains an exceptional wine, not quite dry and with a tinge of softness, but so elegant and balanced. This bottling has just the right amount of maturity, hinting at toast while guarding every iota of fruitiness.— R.V. (12/1/2014)