The best prestige cuvées from The Champagne Masters 2023

Continuing our listing of the best bottles from this year’s Champagne Masters, this time we turn our attention to the top-end of the category, as we bring you the Gold- and Master-winning prestige cuvées from the competition.

As you can see below, the range is remarkable, taking in standard bottles to magnums, prices from sub-£100 to almost £600, along with established names to entirely new brands. Uniting them all is their quality, with each of the Champagnes featured in this selection gaining a minimum of 93 points from a range of exacting judges, who you can read about at the bottom of this piece.

While it was noted in the last entry, which provided a rundown of the best vintage Champagnes from the competition, that prestige cuvées might not represent the best value for money in the fizz category, you are guaranteed a sparkling wine of high quality with an impressive appearance – this is the sector of the market where you will find the most striking packaging designs.

It is also where you can often have a taste of a mature Champagne from a great vintage – these cuvées tend only to be made from the best grapes from the greatest harvests, and then the producers do the cellaring for you in the ideal conditions of their wineries.

Read on to see the top 11 prestige cuvées from this year’s Champagne-only Masters competition.

Sabatina Champagne

  • Producer: Champagne Gruet
  • Vintage: 2016
  • Grape varieties: 85% Pinot Noir & 15% Chardonnay
  • ABV: 12%
  • Residual sugar: 5g/l
  • Closure: Cork
  • Approx. retail price: £99
  • Medal: Gold

This, a new prestige cuvée brand from Champagne Gruet, is a Pinot-dominant Champagne that entices with its wonderful, glowing light gold appearance, and fine stream of bubbles, suggesting this is a fizz in a mature state, but still lively. Aromatically it’s certainly quite evolved, with scents of honey and nuts, even some tea leaves, but, once sipped, there’s some fresh fruit, with flavours of green apple and lemon zest, mixed with a slightly woody character, along with a salty, bread-dough note on the finish. (Patrick Schmitt MW)

Louis XV 2014

  • Producer: Champagne de Venoge
  • Vintage: 2014
  • Grape varieties: 50% Chardonnay & 50% Pinot Noir
  • ABV: 12%
  • Residual sugar: 6g/l
  • Closure: Cork
  • Approx. retail price: £195
  • Medal: Gold

The ultimate expression from Champagne de Venoge uses an equal blend of Pinot and Chardonnay from a range of grands crus to craft this mature, but lively style of fizz – there is no malo-lactic conversion. Flavours range from hazelnuts to beeswax, a touch of charcoal, and then crisp characters of bitter lemon and granny smith apples, followed by a dry, chalky finish. (Patrick Schmitt MW)

Palmes d’Or Brut Vintage 2008

  • Producer: Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte
  • Vintage: 2008
  • Grape varieties: 50% Pinot Noir & 50% Chardonnay
  • ABV: 12.5%
  • Residual sugar: 6.8g/l
  • Closure: Cork
  • Approx. retail price: £85
  • Medal: Gold

A chance to buy a fine expression of Champagne from the 2008 vintage, this top end fizz from Nicolas Feuillatte spends a minimum of 10 years on the lees at the producer’s cellars to bring plenty of nutty richness to the cuvée. Allied to this are slightly woody notes, along with a touch of furniture polish, then baked apple, with a finish featuring crisp and dry characters, from citrus to bitter almond, along with a mouth-watering chalky edge. (Patrick Schmitt MW)

Amour de Deutz 2013

  • Producer: Champagne Deutz
  • Vintage: 2013
  • Grape varieties: 100% Chardonnay
  • ABV: 12%
  • Residual sugar: 9g/l
  • Closure: Cork
  • Approx. retail price: £175
  • Medal: Gold

An outstanding pure Chardonnay Champagne from Deutz, this combines pristine, tangy lemon and zesty grapefruit flavours with notes of grilled nuts and roasted coffee, even a touch of freshly-struck match, with a long, fresh, dry, chalky finish. (Patrick Schmitt MW)

La Piu Belle Champagne

  • Producer: VIK
  • Grape Variety: Chardonnay 70%; Pinot Noir 30%
  • ABV: 12.5%

  • Residual Sugar: 5g/l

  • Vintage: 2009

  • Closure: Cork

  • Approximate retail price: £170

  • Medal: Gold

This strikingly-packaged inaugural cuvée from Vik is certainly a fine fizz. Using fruits from the warm and dry 2009 harvest, sourced by Champagne Brimoncourt, it’s a complex mix of ripe apple, nectarine and vanilla pod, with notes of biscuit and dried apricot too, followed by a very dry, crisp finish. (Patrick Schmitt MW)

Cuvée Prestige

  • Producer: Comtes de Damperre

  • Grape Variety: Chardonnay 100%

  • ABV: 12%

  • Residual Sugar: 5g/l

  • Vintage: 2008

  • Closure: Cork

  • Approximate retail price: £190

  • Medal: Gold

Lemony gold colour.  A pronounced and intense autolytic character on the nose that I adore – Marmite on hot buttered toast, with a hint of savoury herbs. The autolysis continues on the palate, with textured, fresh golden delicious apples, ripe and elegant at the same time, and with a lovely chalky minerality on the finish. Not one for everyone (Marmite indeed), but for those who appreciate the intense yeastiness, this has beautiful depth and pronounced intensity – a wine to be savoured. (Siobhan Turner MW)

Champagne Charles Orban Cuvée Roger Daltrey

  • Producer: Champagne Charles Orban
  • Grape varieties: 45% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay, 15% Meunier
  • ABV: 12%
  • Residual Sugar: 10g/l
  • Vintage: NV
  • Closure: Champagne Cork
  • Retail price: £85
  • Medal: Master

From their own 25 ha of vineyards at Troissy on the left bank of the River Marne, upstream from Dormans, comes this luxury cuvée, dedicated to the front man of The Who. Proceeds will be donated to Teen Cancer America in the States, a charity founded by Daltrey and Pete Townsend. Pale lemon in hue with minuscule bubbles and a tight cordon, the wine displays well-defined ripe red berries and yellow plum fruit and fresh white bread accents. Brut-style, the mid-weight wine has fresh acidity and silky mousse texture. The flavour and sweetness balance is exemplary and the lingering finish is as enjoyable as the ending reverberations of a Who concert. An exceptional choice for grilled lobster or, shrimp jambalaya or, perhaps, with quintessential American burgers at an ‘after-party.’ As Daltrey himself has said, ‘I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.’ (Patricia Stefanowicz MW)

Champagne Drappier Grande Sendrée 2012

  • Producer: Champagne Drappier
  • Grape varieties: 55% Pinot Noir, 45% Chardonnay
  • Abv: 12%
  • Residual Sugar: 4g/l
  • Vintage: 2013
  • Closure: Champagne Cork
  • Retail price: £120.00
  • Medal: Gold

Acknowledged as a fantastic grower-producer of Pinot Noir, Drappier grow Chardonnay and a myriad of ‘heirloom varieties’ in their Aube vineyards. The Maison is certified ‘Ecoact carbon-neutral’ since 2016 due to the intense focus on sustainability, nature and the environment. From a small group of plots on Kimmeridgian clay covered in ash from an 1836 fire in Urville, this exceptional wine is about 1/3 aged in oak casks and the blended wine is aged on the lees for 9 years. Pale lemon-yellow in hue with tiny persistent streams of bubbles, the wine is shows intensity of yellow and red fruits and development on the nose. Extra-Brut style, the palate is medium-bodied with well-integrated brisk acidity, silky mousse texture supporting the concentrated flavours accented with hints of creamy oak and honey. An intriguing gastronomic wine with a long, savoury finish, it will pair well with rich seafoods or game birds in ‘haute-cuisine’ sauces. Duck a l’orange will work impressively. (Patricia Stefanowicz MW)

Champagne Lanson Noble Champagne Brut Vintage 2004

  • Producer: Champagne Lanson
  • Grape varieties: 70% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir
  • Abv: 12%
  • Residual Sugar: 6g/l
  • Vintage: 2004
  • Closure: Champagne Cork
  • Retail price: £140
  • Medal: Gold

Founded in 1760, Champagne Lanson is one of the oldest Houses. Champagne Lanson has been a Royal Warrant Holder since 1900 and remains an official supplier to the British Royal Family. Since 1977, Champagne Lanson has been associated with The Championships, Wimbledon. Noble Champagne is an expression of beauty, knowledge, culture and caring for humanity that signify nobility’s aims to create a better world. The wine, too, is noble, exhibiting a pale lemon-green colour belying its age and yellow plums and golden apples with nutty overtones. Brut-style, the wine is mid-weight, showing good freshness and a brittle mousse texture with cashews and acacia honey coming through on the lingering finish. A wine to sip and savour, perhaps with amuses bouches of trout and crabmeat wrapped in a tiny crèpe or a small glass of pumpkin cream with a hint of curry. The wine will also pair with fricassée of champignons or with ‘white cheeses’, such as Tomme de Brébis or a creamy Vacherin. (Patricia Stefanowicz MW)

Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque 2014

  • Producer: Perrier-Jouët
  • Vintage: 2014
  • Grape varieties: 50% Chardonnay, 45% Pinot Noir, 5% Meunier
  • ABV: 12.5%
  • Residual sugar: 8g/l
  • Closure: Cork
  • Approx. retail price: £200
  • Medal: Master

A wonderfully indulgent Champagne that also refreshes, Perrier-Jouët’s famous Belle Epoque prestige cuvée begins with a creamy-texture and finishes with a palate-cleansing gently bitter bite. In between are delicious flavours of ripe pear and white-fleshed peach, hazelnuts and baked bread, then lemon zest too. (Patrick Schmitt MW)

Rare Millesime 2008 Magnum

  • Producer: Rare Champagne / Champagne Piper-Heidsieck
  • Vintage: 2008
  • Grape varieties: 70% Chardonnay & 30% Pinot Noir
  • ABV: 12%
  • Residual sugar: 6g/l
  • Closure: Cork
  • Approx. retail price: £580
  • Medal: Master

If you can afford a magnum of the magnificent Rare 2008, then I urge you to make the outlay. Already a delicious Champagne when aged in a standard bottle, this larger format brings an extra layer of appeal, with the more reductive ageing conditions from a magnum ensuring this mature fizz has greater freshness, and a smokiness. The flavours are myriad, with layers of lovely complementary characters, from fresh ginger and citrus zest, to grapefruit pith, roasted coffee and toasted brioche, followed by a note of freshly-struck match and a dry finish featuring a lingering bitter-lemon-like brightness mixed with grilled, salted hazelnuts. Outstanding now, but with the potential to age and improve over the next 5-7 years. (Patrick Schmitt MW)

Read more

The best vintage wines from The Champagne Masters 2023

The best Brut NVs from The Champagne Masters 2023

About The Champagne Masters

The Champagne Masters is a competition created and run by the drinks business, and is an extension of its successful Masters series for grape varieties, such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, as well as regions like Rioja and Tuscany. The competition is exclusively for Champagne, and the entries were judged using Schott Zwiesel Cru Classic glasses supplied by Sensible Wine Services. The top wines were awarded Gold, Silver or Bronze medals according to their result, and those expressions that stood out as being outstanding received the ultimate accolade – the title of Champagne Master.

The Champagnes were judged on 14 March at The COMO at London’s Halkin Hotel by Patrick Schmitt MW, Patricia Stefanowicz MW, Jonathan Pedley MW, Siobhan Turner MW, Demetri Walters MW, Neil Sommerfelt MW, Adam Porter MW, Andrea Briccarello and Matthieu Longuere MS.

Please visit The Global Wine Masters website for more information, or, to enter future competitions – giving you the chance to feature online and in print – please call +44 (0) 20 7803 2420 or email Sophie Raichura at: [email protected]

This article was originally published by the drinks business and has been shared with permission.

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