Champagne Taste Test 2018: We vote for the best champers from 10 supermarkets

Champagne taste test 2018 One Foot in the Grapes

Are you heading for the Big Shop and you’re baffled by which champagne to buy for your festive celebrations? Fear not. Here’s Part Two of my festive fizz consumer taste tests.  In this post I reveal the results of the Champagne Taste Test 2018.

I gathered a group of chums and together we blindtasted one champagne from 10 UK supermarkets. I’d asked the retailers to provide the wines they’d like to see in this consumer taste test*. It wasn’t some random selection by yours truly.

I wrapped the bottles so everything was incognito and we gave the wines a pseudonym. We then  marked on aromas, bubbles, taste and finish. A wine could receive a maximum of 90 marks. We didn’t know which wine had won until we did the Big Reveal when all the scores were in.

Here’s the results of the Champagne Taste Test 2018: – 


The best supermarket champagne:

ASDA Extra Special 2007 Vintage Champagne taste test 2018Asda Extra Special Vintage Champagne 2007 (£24, until December 31) This is simply delicious. It is a different style of champers to the other ones selected, but its here because in terms of value it’s a fab fizz.
I wrote five things “apple pie, brioche, caramelised pineapple”. I drew a very, very large smiley face which doesn’t translate well in these notes.
Drink it slowly (was one tasting elf’s advice) and savour the vanilla, the apples, and the amazing finish.
Tasting elves say:  Oh wow, apple pie. Love this
Overall score: 69/90


Champagne Taste Test 2018:  2nd – 4th place

 


2nd Place:

Veuve Monsigny Champagne Brut (£11.49, Aldi) This was the cheapest champagne we blind-tasted, but it packed a punch of loveliness . I’d be happy to pay more for this delicious champagne. Mmmmm, I thought it was rich, with a nose of butterscotch and caramel and a lively fizz. My elves’ comments included “apple crumble, fresh and sweet” with a “lingering aftertaste”  and “brioche with apple playfulness”.
Tasting elves say: It’s a fruit explosion
Overall score:  64/90


3rd Place:

Landric Champagne Brut (£25, Sainsbury) I hadn’t tried this champagne before and it was pretty moreish. It scored above average with all our elves. We enjoyed this wine’s light but creamy notes which were wrapped in a subtle buttery biscuit coat with a good crunch of apple to top everything off. It’s a blend of the three champagne grapes, pinot noir, pinot meunier and chardonnay.
Tasting elves say: Tastes like a day out in the summer
Overall score:  59/90


4th Place:

Comte de Senneval Premier Cru Champagne (£15.99, Lidl) Toffee caramel was my first thought, closely followed by rich fruit and stewed apples. Another taster picked up melon, citrus and biscuits. Another elf described brioche with more of that toffee. It’s a complex champagne, probably best to serve on a special festive event such as Christmas Day. Why not welcome in New Year with a glass.
Tasting elves say: Like a sherbert dib dab
Overall score:  53/90


Champagne Taste Test 2018:  5th – 7th place

5th Place:

Tesco Finest Premier Cru Champagne (£17, down from £19 until January 1) Yowzah, I thought, when I sensed the aromas of vanilla, caramel and crunchy apple – and yowzah again when I had a little sip. It has richness and an elegance. It has depth and a refined bubble. One tasting elf, a keen chef among us (yes, elves cook apparently) said it reminded her of the aromas when cooking fudge. Saying all that, when it came to the marks, two unconvinced elves gave it just two marks  – and one elf gave it a single point. It’s a fizz which divided.
Tasting elves say: Brimming with brioche
Overall score:  42/90


6th Place:

Champagne Delacourt Brut (£30, Marks & Spencer) Peachy, I wrote. A touch of toast, I wrote. A nice pop of bubbles, I wrote. I savoured the sips. My fellow tasters, who had happily taken up this challenge to guide you through your festive maze of fizz, weren’t as convinced. It needs a boost, said one, though they enjoyed the burst of bubbles. Two elves discerned red fruits leading the nose from the front, and I did too, with my second nose dip.
Tasting elves say: Pleasant and biscuity
Overall score:  41/90


7th Place:

Waitrose Brut Champagne NV (£19.99) Light, subtle, fruity and refreshing. That’s what I thought anyway. After the big reveal (when all our scores were in) I was surprised to see my home-based consumer panel wasn’t as keen on this champagne.  I discovered later the wine is mainly a pinot noir blend, with only 10 percent chardonnay. A pale golden colour, this wine has a pleasant finish. It is easy to drink, said an elf, and is probably a fizz for an informal festive gathering.
Tasting elves say: Shortbread and fruit
Overall score:  39/90


ChampagneTaste Test 2018:  8th – 10th place

8th Place:

Marquis Belrive Champagne Brut (£17.50, Spar) Well, this was an interesting one! Dip your nose, I told the elves, and say what you smell. It’s a bit like Catchphrase but with a glass and a sniff. Let’s call it Fizz Phrase. This wine brought diverse observations of elderflower, Granny Smith apples, socks (sorry about that Spar) and from me, a hint of baked fruit and a peep of caramel. The bubbles were giddy and proud of themselves.
Tasting elves say: A tiny hint of red fruit
Overall score:  38/90


9th Place:

Morrisons The Best Champagne Brut (£19) This champagne is a one-time winner of my festive fizz consumer taste test,  in contrast to 2018. My elfish consumers sensed a bitter aftertaste which knocked the fizz down a few marks.  There was praise for the aroma – “very perfumed” – and the bubbles were described as  “light and flirty”. Me? I was content with its notes of brioche, citrus and gentle, gentle bubbles.
Tasting elves say: Marshmallow clouds
Overall score:  30/90


10th Place:

Les Pionniers NV Champagne (£18.99, but £17.99 from December 12 until January 29 inclusive) Well, what to say. This champagne has won awards on many an occasion, but it didn’t float the boat of our blind tasters. I have to stick with the scores on the doors because that’s what this taste test is all about. My thoughts were red and green apples, with a pithy dryness, and a good fizz. But one elf said she just didn’t like the finish in the mouth and likewise another said the aromas were just too subtle. You can’t win ‘em all.
Tasting elves say: Touch of aniseed
Overall score:  26/90


Read more about  Christmas wines 2018

Prosecco Taste Test 2018: We rate 10 supermarket proseccos from 1st to last

Christmas 2018 wines Part 1: Fresh and fruity whites
Christmas 2018 wines Part 2: Six chardonnay wines 
Christmas 2018 wines Part 3: Six light, fruity, savoury, spicy reds
Christmas 2018 wines Part 4: Festive red wine to warm and hug you 


*This consumer test was published in newspapers including:
Hull Daily Mail – Leicester Mercury – Cambridge News – Liverpool Echo South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales – Huddersfield Examiner
– The Chronicle, Newcastle – Teesside Gazette 
Birmingham Mail – Coventry Telegraph  – Paisley Daily Express 

Prosecco Taste Test 2018: We rate 10 supermarket proseccos from 1st to last

It’s the time of year all elves need a rest from packing boxes in Santa’s grotto. And so I asked them to help me select some of the best sparkling wine buys in our supermarkets this festive season.

Well they weren’t really elves, but girlies  – oh and one chap who insisted on being invited. I’d asked 10 supermarkets to provide one prosecco and one champagne for this consumer test.*

I wrapped the bottles so everything was incognito and we gave the wines a pseudonym – this year they were named after James Bond  girls.  (Yup, we’re a bit crazy round here.)  We then  marked on aromas, bubbles, taste and finish. A wine could receive a maximum of 90 marks. We didn’t know which wine had won until we did the Big Reveal when all the scores were in.

Here’s the results of the Prosecco Taste Test 2018: – 


The best supermarket prosecco:

Spar Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG winner
Spar Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG … winner of my Prosecco Taste Test 2018

Valdobbiadene DOCG Extra Dry Prosecco (£10, Spar) This fizz absolutely romped to the head of the leaderboard. I loved this prosecco last year and I’ve enjoyed it several times since. I had no idea it was the Spar wine I was blind-tasting and I wasn’t the only girlie who gave it top marks. It has a slightly nutty nose and is alive with citrus, pear and apple. It is lovely and refreshing too with a “Kylie Minogue” sparkle (said one of my helpers).
Tasting elves say:  Bubbles a go-go
Overall score:  76/90


Prosecco Taste Test 2018:  2nd – 4th place

 


2nd Place:

Taste the Difference Prosecco DOCG Conegliano (Sainsbury, £10) I was so glad to see this prosecco near the top of the scoreboard. This wine is one of my must-recommends when pals ask me for prosecco tips. It was lavished with festive adoration from my tasting team.  One declared it would be her choice for a night of watching Strictly. It is balanced and fruity, and the flavours of pear, apple and lychee linger softly.
Tasting elves say: Delicious, really aromatic
Overall score:  61/90


3rd Place:

Tesco finest* Prosecco Valdobbiadene DOCG  (£8, down from £10 until January 1) A whopping 22 marks separated the winning wine from this one, but Tesco’s prosecco still received much praise. The mousse and bubbles are determined to make a statement, staying long in the glass. There are lots of pears and apples on the nose and then apples leave the longest flavour legacy.
Tasting elves say: Grown up and mature
Overall score:  54/90


4th Place:

Nella Prosecco (£8, Marks & Spencer)  This wine has a willowy wave of flowers on the nose, together with apples and pears. Its smells nicer than it tastes, said one of my elves. Even so they were pleasantly happy with the wine’s peachy aftertaste. I later discovered that the prosecco grape glera was joined in the bottle by a touch of chardonnay and pinot bianco. It is one for a quiet night in, not for making a statement.
Tasting elves say: Understated but pretty
Overall score:  49/90


Prosecco Taste Test 2018:  5th – 7th place

5th Place:

Viticoltori Organic Prosecco Extra Dry  (£7.99, Lidl) This wine received a mixed reception from my curious blind tasters. One, who sensed a coffee aroma, said it had a nice depth and was easy to drink. Another declared it had decent citrus notes and good balance. One elf said simply it was “insignificant”. Pears, pears and pears was my view. I rather like the wave of organic prosecco which is hitting many of our wine shelves yet this one just missed the top marks.
Tasting elves say: Fizzy and frothy in the mouth
Overall score:  46.5/90


6th Place:

Morrisons The Best Prosecco Spumante (£8) Now we’re edging towards the lower scores of our prosecco picks. Morrisons’ wine tickles the tastebuds with citrus, apple and pear, but the flavours disappear quite quickly. “Not very exciting” and “a bit bland” said two of the tasters. This wine doesn’t bowl you over but is pleasant enough. I thought it had a memory of cider – but that would be the apples for you.
Tasting elves say: A party where flavour doesn’t count
Overall score:  43/90


7th Place:

Waitrose San Leo Prosecco Brut (£7.29 from £10.99 until January 1) Pear and lychee deliver a fruity hug in this glass of fizz, but beyond that the tasting elves weren’t impressed. The tropical fruit was a positive note. But for me those fruit notes, even though they were lovely, didn’t last very long in the mouth. The lychee aromas might edge this wine towards being a good choice for some Chinese or Thai nibbles as a party starter.
Tasting elves say:  Citrussy fizz disappears quite quickly
Overall score:  41/90


Prosecco Taste Test 2018:  8th – 10th place

8th Place:

Prosecco Asolo Brut DOCG (£7 until January 2, Asda) Those tell-tale prosecco signs of pear, apple and a flirtation of tropical fruit are pleasing in this wine. But they weren’t pleasing enough for my elves to give it higher marks. It was “middle of the road” said one, and “inoffensive” said another. I wasn’t overwhelmed by the flavours. On the other hand, it was a very easy-drinking wine, great for a chat with girlie pals.
Tasting elves say: Subtle peach undertones
Overall score:  37/90


9th Place:

Prosecco Superiore DOCG (Aldi, £7.99) When you see DOCG on an Italian wine label, it indicates the wine is of superior quality. There were a handful of DOCG wines in our test, and this finished the lowest of them all. It was certainly the liveliest in my glass on the bubble factor (if that’s what makes you jolly under your festive hat). It was “bland” according to one elf, and seconded by another who said  “unforgettable”. On the other hand, it was easier to drink than some.
Tasting elves say: Lovely persistent bubbles
Overall score:  35/90


10th Place:

 Co-op Irresistible Prosecco (£8) Oh my, this blind-tasting world is so interesting! The Co-op’s prosecco has won a couple of awards but it failed to impress my girlie elf tasters. (For the second year on the trot it has finished bottom of this annual prosecco fizz festive taste test). A fair comment from one of my tasters is “good nose loaded with green apple and sweet pear”.  That mirrored what I thought. However the taste is unimpressive with a touch of apple and the flavour disappears quite quickly.
Tasting elves say: Fruity aroma but bland
Overall score:  28/90

 

 


Read more about  Christmas wines 2018

Champagne Taste Test 2018: We rate 10 supermarket champagnes

Christmas 2018 wines Part 1: Fresh and fruity whites
Christmas 2018 wines Part 2: Six chardonnay wines 
Christmas 2018 wines Part 3: Six light, fruity, savoury, spicy reds
Christmas 2018 wines Part 4: Festive red wine to warm and hug you 


*This consumer test was published in newspapers including:
Hull Daily Mail – Leicester Mercury – Cambridge News – Liverpool Echo South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales – Huddersfield Examiner
– The Chronicle, Newcastle – Teesside Gazette 
Birmingham Mail – Coventry Telegraph  – Paisley Daily Express