A coveted Which? Best Buy has been awarded to a great value own-label champagne from the Co-op supermarket, proving that you can get your hands on a top-class festive fizz for under £20.
In a blind tasting of supermarket own-label (or exclusive), and top-selling big-name non-vintage champagnes priced up to £35, the Which? panel of experts awarded the joint highest score of 78 percent to the Co-op Les Pionniers NV Champagne. Retailing at £19, the panel described this Which? Best Buy as “elegant and well-balanced”, commending its flavour as “intense” and “reminiscent of honeycomb and nectarines”.
Mumm Cordon Rouge Brut NV Champagne (£35) joined the Co-op as the expert’s joint favourite, also scoring 78 per cent and being awarded Which? Best Buy status. It was one of the most expensive the panel tested, but the experts found it a great choice if you don’t like aggressively fizzy champagne, admiring its “fine, soft bubbles” and “apple and pear flavours”.
Narrowly missing out on a Which? Best Buy, Moet et Chandon Imperial Brut NV Champagne (£34) was awarded 77 per cent. Most of the panel thought this a “nice, buttery champagne”, but one found it “dull and earthy”. All agreed that it had a distinctive flavour and dry finish but found it slightly “less sophisticated” than the Best Buys.
At the bottom of the table, with a score of 63 per cent, was Spar Marquis Belrive Champagne (£17.50). This fizz failed to make an strong impression on our experts as it was blander than the others – but the panel felt it could still make for easy drinking and could be a good option to take to a party.
Harry Rose, Editor of Which? Magazine, said:
“We’re delighted to be raising a glass this Christmas to an excellent Best Buy champagne for less than £20, proving that you don’t have to pay through the nose for delicious fizz.
“Whether you are looking for an outstanding champagne at a great price or a well-known brand-name offering for a gift, our expert choices have you covered.”
Notes to Editors:
Which? champagne panel experts tasted 240 glasses of wine this year. They were:
Richard Bampfield: Master of Wine, European Champagne Ambassador 2009
Peter McCombie: Master of Wine, speaker, consultant, and co-chair of the International Wine Challenge
Sam Caporn: Master of Wine, consultant, speaker, writer, and International Wine Challenge judge
Kathryn McWhirter: wine taster, author and translator – mainly about wine
Charles Metcalfe: wine taster, co-chair of the International Wine Challenge
The expert panel blind tasted a mix of supermarket own-label or exclusive non-vintage (NV) champagnes, and six top-selling big-name champagnes. The criteria were that they must cost £35 or less and be ‘brut’ (dry)
For the full table of results visit www.which.co.uk/champagne