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 

Your best-buy supermarket champagne… here’s the festive fizz factor scores

Champagne bubbles in a glass

supermarket prosecco supermarket champagneYup – that’s me on this page. Sadly not the pretty thing in the middle, but the old blob on the left wearing a grey cardie. You’ll see we ran a supermarket festive fizz taste test … here’s the supermarket champagne ratings. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

SUPERMARKET CHAMPAGNE: BEST BUY

Wm Morrison Champagne Brut NV supermarket champagneWm Morrison Champagne Brut NV (Morrisons, £15, down from £19 until January 1st)  This is a silver winner at the International Wine Challenge and is a champagne which is happy in its soul. It has honeysuckle, the juicy tease of ripe red apples, vanilla, cream cake and a summer breeze on the nose. It is soft and subtle with gentle flavours and acidity and the juiciness stays with you long after the last sip. Which is what we want, right?
Fizz Factor: 5/5

SUPERMARKET CHAMPAGNE: BARGAIN BUY

Lidl Champagne Comte De Senneval

Champagne Comte De Senneval (Lidl, £9.99) I really, really liked this. There’s aromas of fresh apples with a touch of cinnamon and a yummy ooze of baked apples too, with some sweet temptation of a baking cake. It’s not in your face though, it is subtle like a spring freshness. Apple flavours are very refreshing, and the bubbles, well, they’re happy little bubbles.
Fizz Factor: 5/5

 Supermarket Champagne: The best of the rest

Champagne Veuve Monsigny Vintage Blanc de Blancs Champagne (Aldi, £19.99) You might find this a bit overpowering unless you have a head start in knowing Champagne nuances.  I love this wine. Its an award-winning seasonal  offering which has aromas of apple compote, super-fruity apple tarte tatin, butterscotch and nuts. Side by side with other champers it is almost toffee-like. It has a good acidity and lovely complex rich apple flavours.
Fizz Factor: 4/5

Duval-Leroy Fleur de Champagne Premier Cru (Waitrose, £17.99, down from £26.99 until January 3)  Ah, this is subtle and feminine, delicate and wistful. There’s fresh apples and apple crumble on the nose, with a “hey notice me” wave from lemons. It is more fruity than complex, has a soft mouth-feel and is confident in itself. The name is inspired by the scent of the vine flower.
Fizz Factor: 4/5 

Les Pionniers Champagne Brut NV (the Co-operative, reduced by £1 to £15.99  until January 3) Ah. One of my evergreen favourites. It is a super-reliable Champers, named after the Rochdale Pioneers who founded the Co-operative movement, and it has a reputation of beating big names in blind tastings. It has a nose of biscuit, brioche and apples, and tastes of toffee-dipped green apples. Very drinkable.
Fizz Factor: 4/5

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Tesco Finest Premier Cru Champagne (£16, down from £19, until January 9) The grapes for this champagne come only from premier and grand cru vineyards, which makes for a special experience from beginning to end. The champagne has a rich nose with lots of ripe apples, vanilla and brioche. It has a good balance of fruit and acidity and some lovely fizzy giddiness plays around your tastebuds. It’s not an overbearing style but has finesse and elegance.
Fizz Factor: 4/5

Sainsbury’s Champagne Blanc de Noirs (£20) There’s three main champagne grapes, one white, two black. If champagne is made   from the white grape only it is blanc de blancs; if just the black grapes are used, the wine is blanc de noirs. That’s what we have here. There’s sumptuous, tempting aromas of brioche, vanilla, butterscotch and citrus but the taste doesn’t live up to the aromas. Saying that, it has a good balance of acidity and a nice fruity flavour.
Fizz Factor: 3/5

Louis Vertay Brut NV, (Marks & Spencer, £16.50, from £33 until January 1) A High Five to M&S for just scooping 60 medals, including six golds, at the International Wine Challenge last month. This champers has subtle aromas of fresh and dried fruit, with a sweep of tropical fruit which tickle the senses. Lasting bubbles liven the glass and a taste reveals touches of fruity complexity.
Fizz Factor: 3/5

Marquis de Belrive Champagne Brut Reserve (SPAR, £16) I was surprised when I had my first nose dip of this champagne. I said “oooo” because I wasn’t expecting it to have such pretty aromas. It’s not a flag-waving champers, but it’s definitely one you’d be happy to pick up on your way to a party or a family visit. Grapefruit and toasty apples play on the nose and to taste a creamy texture is fizzled with citrus and brioche.
Fizz Factor: 3/5

Champagne Pierre Darcy (Asda, £10, reduced from £18 until  December 27)  Well it’s a tenner so you can’t complain at that, but it needs perking up with fresh raspberries to make it a festive treat. The aromas have buttery edges but there isn’t much fruit; to taste there’s no depth or complexity. In fact it is bland and leaves a bitter aftertaste.
Fizz Factor: 1/5

*First published in December 2016 in several regional UK newspapers including:

Liverpool Echo – South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales – Huddersfield Examiner – The Chronicle, Newcastle – Teesside Evening Gazette – Birmingham  Mail – Coventry Telegraph – Paisley Daily Express