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The best champagne taste tested 2022

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Our wine expert put the best champagnes to the test in order to find the best bottles – from supermarket bubbles to some fairly posh plonk, you're sure to find your new favourite fizz.

It’s the drink of parties and celebrations, of weddings and christenings, the drink that conjures up memories of special occasions and a touch of luxury. Champagne is no everyday drink so, when buying a bottle, it’s worth buying the best – so we’ve rounded up the best champagnes to buy so you can find the ultimate bottles to pop.

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There’s plenty of choice when it comes to fizz these days: from affordable prosecco and cava to unique English sparkling wines and even non-alcoholic sparkling options, but champagne remains the most decadent option. The strict rules limiting the region of the same name where it can be made in northern France, along with production rules, explain why its price tag is often higher as well as why it retains such a distinct character.

Some champagne houses may be familiar names, such as Taittinger or Veuve Clicquot, but we’ve tested a range of lesser known, budget-friendly and even best supermarket champagnes, too, to find a brilliant affordable bottle of bubbly. Our selection varies from £13.99 to £45, for fizz to suit any budget.

All champagnes have been tested by wine writer Henry Jeffreys. Henry is a drinks and wine writer who writes for Master of Malt and his work has appeared in the The Guardian, The Spectator and The Financial Times. He is the author of Empire of Booze: British History through the Bottom of a Glass, which won best debut drink book at the Fortnum & Mason 2017 Awards. He’s previously written lots of drinks guides for BBC Good Food covering all forms of fizz including the best cava, best English sparkling wines and best prosecco.

For more, visit our reviews section to find more than 200 practical buyer's guides, including taste tests of gin, vodka, rum and brandy, plus round-ups of the best rhubarb, pink and citrus gins.

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Best champagnes at a glance:

  • Best budget champagne: Veuve Monsigny Champagne NV, £13.99
  • Best all-rounder champagne: Tesco Finest Premier Cru Brut NV, £21
  • Best blanc de noirs: Waitrose Blanc de Noirs Brut, £23.99
  • Best vintage champagne: Les Pionniers Brut 2013 (Co-Op £26.99)
  • Best blanc de blancs champagne: Laithwaite's Blanc de Blanc Premier Cru NV, £28
  • Best champagne to have with shellfish: Constantine Solarris NV, £29.99
  • Best champagne to impress your friends: Beaumont des Crayères Brut Grand Reserve NV, £32.24
  • Best rose champagne: Taittinger Brut Prestige Rose NV, £44
  • Best of the big-name champagnes: Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Brut NV, £45

What is the best champagne?

Veuve Monsigny Champagne NV

Best budget champagne

Size: 75cl
ABV: 12.5%
Star rating: 3/5


This is a crazy affordable price for champagne. It’s a name that attracts headlines all over the press for its supposed ability to rival the well-known champagne giants and while I don't think it's as good as all the hype would have you believe, it is much better than you would expect a £13.99 champagne to be. It is simple, clean and well balanced. Just the thing if you’re having a party.

Available from Aldi (£13.99)

Tesco Finest Premier Cru Brut NV

Best all-rounder champagne


Size: 75cl

ABV: 12.5%
Star rating: 4/5


This probably the best value champagne on the market and it’s one I buy regularly. With its notes of bruised apple, flakey pastry, toasted brioche and hazelnuts, it massively over-delivers for the money. Also, unlike many other supermarket champagnes, it’s consistently excellent so you can buy repeatedly with confidence.

Available from Tesco (£21)

Waitrose Blanc de Noirs Brut

Best blanc de noirs

Size: 75cl
ABV: 12.5%
Star rating: 4/5

Another supermarket stalwart, this is made by Alexander Bonnet for Waitrose. The term ‘blanc de noirs’ means that it is made from black grapes only (pinot noir and meunier) and the result is rich and bold. If you like a fuller style of champagne, then you'll like this. Lots of complexity for around the £20 mark and often less when you buy six bottles or more.

Available from Waitrose (£23.99)

Les Pionniers Brut 2013

Best vintage champagne

Size: 75cl
ABV: 12%
Star rating: 4/5

Most champagne at this end of the price market is non vintage, meaning a blend of years. The Les Pionniers non-vintage bottle is pleasant, but this vintage version from a single year is a massive step up in quality. It’s well worth paying the extra for its rich tarte tatin notes and long yeasty finish. This is better than many of the big names out there.

Available from Coop (£26.99)

Laithwaite's Blanc de Blanc Premier Cru NV

Best blanc de blancs champagne


Size: 75cl

ABV: 12.5%
Star rating: 4/5

‘Blanc de blanc’ means that it’s made entirely from chardonnay grapes. This produces a lean, racy style of champagne that is loved by connoisseurs. The grapes in this case come entirely from premier cru vineyards. This wine majors on the citrus fruit with a creamy lemon meringue pie quality. It would be great with seafood, such as a plate of oysters or smoked salmon.

Available from Laithwaite's (£32)

Constantine Solarris NV

Best champagne to have with shellfish

Size: 75cl
ABV: 12.5%
Star rating: 4/5

This champagne is unusually made from 100% pinot meunier, a black grape. The fruit just jumps out of the glass with notes of lemons, limes and green apple. Initially it’s very fresh, but give it time and you’ll discover a yeasty richness underneath with some red cherry notes. I can’t think of a better wine to go with crab or lobster. It is worth the full price.

Available from Naked Wines (£29.99)

Beaumont des Crayères Brut Grand Reserve NV

Best champagne to impress your friends


Size: 75cl

ABV: 12.5%
Star rating: 5/5

A new name to me, this high quality co-operative dates back to 1955. The blend is dominated by black grapes, mainly pinot meunier, and you can really taste that richness coming through in the finished glass. There’s a spiciness and espresso coffee note combined with classic brown apple and yeast. It tastes much more expensive than its modest price.

Taittinger Brut Prestige Rose NV

Best rose champagne


Size: 75cl

ABV: 12.5%
Star rating: 5/5

Champagne roses are usually made with a small addition of red wine (made from pinot noir) being added to the blend. Sometimes this is such a little amount that you can barely taste it. Not so with this rose champagne which is positively packed with dark cherry fruit. I loved its intense savoury finish. This would work well served alongside duck or other rich dishes.

Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Brut NV

Best of the big-name champagnes

Size: 75cl
ABV: 12.5%
Star rating: 4/5

That orange label is so ubiquitous that it’s easy to overlook Veuve Clicquot. This would be a mistake because in the past few years it has become one of the best Grand Marque non vintages around. I loved its lemon sherbert vibrancy, creamy texture and long brioche finish. Absolutely superb and well worth the money, especially if you buy six bottles.

Available from:

Waitrose (£45)
Tesco (£45)
Sainsburys (£43)

Previously tested and recommended

Tesco Finest Premier Cru Brut NV

Made by the Union Champagne co-op in Avize, this is a wine that really punches above its humble price. There's lemon sherbet on the nose, a full texture – creamy, rich and round – but with a good fruity freshness and a long nutty finish. Again, the price tag is attractive.

Available from Tesco (£21).

Jean de Foigny NV

This one is made for the Wine Society, a cooperative wine club by one of the region’s biggest cooperatives, Castelnau. There’s orange and lemon fruit on the palate, with savoury yeasty notes, then a touch of sweetness at the end. Delicious with most seafood, or if you're serving alongside appetizers at a party, opt for cheese straws.

Available from The Wine Society (£22.00).

Les Pionniers 2008

During tasting, I was slightly disappointed by the non-vintage version of Les Pionniers, however its big brother, from the stellar 2008 vintage, knocked my socks off! Made by one of grand names of champagne, Piper-Heidsieck, this is a serious meaty wine. Think of the tangy flavour of Marmite mixed with Seville oranges only a lot more delicious.

Available from the Co-op (£27).

Berry Bros. & Rudd Grand Cru NV

Made by one of the region’s smaller cooperatives, this champers is so fresh and chalky yet slightly lemony that it’ll feel like you're drinking sparkling chablis. All the fruit is sourced from the Grand Cru village of Mailly so the grapes are absolutely top-notch – meaning very expensive.

Available from Berry Bros. & Rudd (£32).

Barnaut Blanc de Noirs Grand Cru NV

Up next, we have a bottle from a small grower based in Bouzy, which was, and to some extent still is, known as red wine country. Blanc de noirs means it’s only made from dark grapes which you can taste in the vivid, orangey fruit moving into marmalade flavours that have a real smokiness on the finish. Tangy and delicious.

Available from Lea & Sandeman (£33.95).

The Wine Society's Champagne Brut NV

This is all about big flavours: brown apples, nuts and spicy notes. If, like me, you love Bollinger champagne but can’t afford it, this is the wine for you. The producer, Alfred Gratien, is one of the few houses along with Bollinger that still age their wines in oak.

Available from The Wine Society (£34).

Why is champagne so expensive?

Champagne is a costly wine to produce. The raw materials (that is, the grapes) are the most expensive in France. Most champagne houses don’t own nearly enough vineyards to provide for their needs so they have to buy in grapes from small growers. This demand pushes up the price.

The region Champagne has a climate very similar to southern England so these precious grapes don’t get terribly ripe. The resulting wines – low in alcohol and high in acidity – are not yet delicious but perfect for turning into sparkling wine.

The process where base metals are turned into sparkling gold involves blending the still wines, usually from different vintages and vineyards all over the region, into a house style. The resulting blend is then bottled with a mixture of wine, yeast and sugar, sealed, and left to ferment a second time. The result is those magic bubbles of carbon dioxide.

But this secondary fermentation also produces flavours of toast, nuts and yeast – the flavours we most associate with champagne. It’s left in this state for a minimum of 15 months (some are kept for decades like this). The yeast is then removed, the wine corked, and it is ready to sell, though the best wines are kept longer. All of this takes time and money.

What makes a bad champagne?

Disappointing champagnes – and there are many, sadly – will have been made from inferior grapes, matured for the minimum period and will result in a green acidity that has been merely masked with sugar. Wines like these are the reason many people think champagne is over-hyped. Those lovely toasty, bready notes take time to arrive and time is money. No wonder most of us just reach for one of the big names (though these can be a disappointment too).

How we tested champagne

We thought it would be interesting to try the best of the no-name champagnes. We sampled from supermarket own-labels made by giant cooperatives to hand-crafted champagnes made by small growers who use only their own grapes, unusual in Champagne. The wines tried ranged from £10.99 to £35 though the majority were in the £20-30 sweet spot.

Each champagne was tasted blind. Not surprisingly the more expensive bottles, on the whole, tasted better. The conclusion? Around £18 seems to be the minimum you should spend. Anything cheaper, you’d be much better going for something sparkling from Australia, New Zealand or Spain.

Champagne being poured into flutes

How to open champagne

When opening a bottle of fizz, remember it will behave far better and more predictably if it has been left to sit and chill for a few hours. Warmth and/or rough handling both make for an explosive cork situation and the likelihood of more mess and waste. Champagne should go into glasses, not onto ceilings.

  • Make sure you have your glasses ready and within easy reach. Then, take your bottle and remove the foil; there should be a tag or perforation line to make this easy and neat.
  • Once this is done, grip the neck of the bottle in one hand with your thumb over the top of the caged cork.
  • From here on in, keep the bottle pointed away from yourself and anyone present, especially people's faces – about a 45 degree angle is good.
  • With your other hand, untwirl the cage fastening. Uncover your thumb, lift off the cage and replace your thumb over the cork.
  • If you can feel the cork pushing to leave the bottle already, get a glass ready. Otherwise, with the bottle gripped in one hand, slowly pull up the cork with the other. It may be quite stiff at first – if so, alternate pulling and twisting motions – but as you go you'll start to feel the pressure from within helping you out.
  • Ease it up, always with your hand over the cork in a firm grip and, as you hear a pop, you know you've opened it.

As to pouring champagne, if everything went smoothly, you have a bottle at 45 degrees, with a touch of vapour wafting out. Let that excess gas escape for a few seconds, then in smooth, gentle motions, pour a small amount - just a splash - into each glass in turn.

Now return to the first glass and, tilting it also at around 45 degrees, top up slowly, until no more than two-thirds full.

If the champagne is very lively and the mousse is rising to the top of the glass despite a slow pour, just move onto the next one and come back to it. That mousse is the fizz escaping, and in excess, leaves you with a flat drink, and nobody wants that.

Don't over-fill the glass, as it will warm up far faster there than in the bottle, and warm champagne is a shame.

If you have a bottle where the cork is straining to be free as soon as the cage is removed, then you will have to move fast.

Once the cork is out, it will be followed by froth, which should go straight into that readied glass. Keep pouring off the excess into your glasses one by one until it subsides, then top up as before.

Best champagne glasses

M&S champagne saucers, £29.50

With a round saucer glass that makes for easier sipping then more modern flutes, these crystal pond-like glasses feature tiny indentations that keep bubbles sparkling for longer. They also hold a good amount of champagne, too, so you can keep chatting away and leave the refills for later.

Available online from M&S (£29.50)

Vonshef grey tinted champagne glasses, £22.99

These champagne glasses have a smoked grey tinted finish that add a modern touch to their classic fluted design. These champagne glasses are lightweight and come in a gift box making it a thoughtful wedding or house-warming gift.

Luigi Bormioli Optica champagne coupe glasses, £38

Made in Italy, these champagne glasses have pinstripe indentations creating a retro, art deco look, with classic long stems that keep your champagne cooler for longer. As they have a more rounded bowl shape, it means these glasses can also be used to serve desserts, and they are dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning.

Available from John Lewis (£38)

Maison du Monde glass champagne flutes, £28

These handmade champagne flutes have a unique gold geometric design to bring a touch of fun to your table, plus they have a more rounded rim for delicate sips.

Available from Maison du Monde (£28)

Crystal champagne flutes, £16

High-quality glasses in an elegant shape, these champagne flutes are machine-made but excellent value for money. These glasses are also dishwasher-safe, perfect for a quick clean up after entertaining.

Available from Wayfair (£16)

Champagne cocktail recipes

We’ve gathered the best champagne cocktail recipes for when you want to do more with your bottle. Classic champagne cocktails include buck’s fizz for a special brunch, or a fruity kir royale made with crème de cassis. For something a little more unique, try a champagne mojito or refreshing sgroppino (mixing champagne with vodka and lemon sorbet). Fans of an aperol spritz can put champagne to good use in a sparkling aperitivo spritz during summer. In the festive season, a spice 75 is a perfect Christmas party drink.

Champagne recipes

Champagne cocktails you can make in minutes
Mimosa recipe
Raspberry champagne cocktails

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