This article discusses fifteen champagne brands that every connoisseur should try. From iconic names like Cristal to historical names like Moët & Chandon, this article outlines the unique history of each Champagne House. As you read, you’ll find out how the different growing locations, the varying grape blends, and the ethos surrounding the wine, make each Champagne House’s sparkling wine distinctive. Readers will enjoy the in-depth analysis of flavor, focusing on the complexity and quality of each champagne.
15 Best Champagne Brands
Ace of Spades by Armand De Brignac
Ace of Spades is owned by Jay-Z and produced by the Cattier family, who are now in their 12th and 13th generation of vintners.
Ace of Spades is not a vintage champagne, but rather, is the result of a blend of grapes from different years, with both the years and the exact combination of vintages variable from year to year. The grape blend for Cristal champagnes is an even three-way blend between Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier.
Each bottle is a consistent and well-balanced wine. Each release ages in oak casks for at least one year before bottling, which creates the slight toasty, vanilla, and pastry hints their label is known for.
Regular sized recent release bottles start at $300 retail.
Founded in 1829, Bolliger Champagne House distinguishes itself with some of the best vineyards and highest quality Champagne in the world.
Most of their lands rate either Grand Cru or Premier Cru. They grow mostly Pinot Noir, which then forms the backbone of all of Bollinger sparkling wines.
The combination of the Pinot Noir grapes and their aging process produces best champagnes well-known for their depth and complexity. Each bottle combines delicate fruit flavors with notes of rich spices and complex minerality and a slightly saline finish.
2008, 2002, and 1996 were great years for Bollinger, like most Champagne Houses. Vintages from those years are predominantly pleasing. Bollinger Special Cuvée starts at the $50 range, while the La Grande Annee line begins at $100-$120.
Cook’s California Champagne
Established in 1859, this brand of American Champagne is every bit as particular as the other big-name brands on this list. Additionally, the yeast they use for fermentation is unique to their brand. They further guarantee quality and consistency through careful blending, incorporating some reserve wine into every batch.
Cook’s also offers a range of Champagnes, from their Brut Grand Reserve to a sweet dessert Moscato. One thing you can expect from every wine in their range is a light toasty flavor courtesy of that exclusive yeast.
Cook’s California Champagnes can be found for as little as $10 per bottle.
Cristal by Louis Roederer
Due to its notes of cream, rich silky texture, and the regular achievement of a touch of toasty flavor in their wine, Cristal has an iconic status and is recognized by many.
The grape blend used for Cristal champagne is a balanced combination of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, while Cristal Rosé contains more Pinot Noir.
Cristal Brut 2008 is a principally excellent vintage of Louis Roederer, while 2002 was also an incredible year for the brand.
Cristal starts at approximately $150 per bottle. Since Cristal ages well in the cellar, the price tends to increase with age.
Produced by Moét & Chandon, Dom Perignon is one of the member companies of LVMH, the largest single coalition of luxury brands in the world. Dom Perignon is a delightfully complex wine more than worthy of its status as the world’s first Prestige Champagne.
Like a vintage wine, Dom Perignon has a high-quality grape production. Dom Perignon’s approved vineyards are rated Grand Cru or better because of their distinctive chalky mineral content that adds texture and depth to the grapes. More specifically, the grape blend for the Dom Perignon is a combination of Pinot noir and Chardonnay, however the final composition changes with each vintage. Sometimes, the blend is perfectly equal in its proportions, while other times the percentages round out to 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot noir, or 40% Chardonnay 60% Pinot noir.
Like many champagnes, Dom Perignon did quite well in 2002 and 2008. For a slightly older vintage still in it’s prime, Dom Perignon 1996 is one of the best. Bottles of recent vintages typically start in the $200 range and go up from there.
Korbel is an American Champagne House based out of California. They offer a full complement of wines, from very dry Champagnes through to varieties with a pronounced sweetness.
Their dry Chardonnay has oaky tones, hints of tropical fruit, and a lemony citrus finish. On the sweeter side, their Brut Rosé calls to mind summer fruits like strawberry, cherry, and melon.
Korbel is more affordable than many of the wines on this list, with bottles as low as $12.
Krug maintains meticulous standards at every level of the process. For example, each wine cask comes from a fine-grain, old wood oak (typically at least 200 years old). Krug requires an additional three years of dry seasoning before it is suitable for their wine.
The 2002 Krug, their first vintage wine of the new millennium, benefited from the ideal weather conditions that defined the year. It offers a good representative bouquet, with orange notes balanced with licorice and hints of chocolate.
Krug Champagnes start at roughly $60 per bottle, although some of their lines run up to several hundred each even for recent releases.
Founded in 1812, Laurent Perrier focuses on the freshness and lightness of their Champagnes to produce a bright, refreshing wine with exquisite flavor and fine bubbles.
Laurent Perrier uses predominantly Chardonnay in their Champagne. They believe in a long aging process and light dosage to bring out the best in their wines during the second fermentation.
Laurent Perrier champagnes tend toward fine steady bubbles with notes of citrus and white fruit that persist through the finish.
Laurent Perrier ranges from roughly $40-$80 per bottle.
Le Chemin du Roi
Le Chemin du Roi uses high-quality grapes and ages its Champagnes for a minimum of 4 years. This results in a consistently delicate and layered taste, with predominant notes of black cherry, strawberry, and black currant.
Their blends are approximately 40% Chardonnay, 15% Pinot Noir, 45% Pinot Meunier, and 12% Pinot made as red wine including 20% of reserve wine.
The wines have a 14-carat gold plated emblem, and retail starting at $200 and going up.
Perrier Jouet is among the most consistent brands over time, in part because the head of their Champagne House has only changed hands seven times in 200 years of operation. Known for focusing on small-batch production and high-quality standards, Perrier Jouet vintage champagnes remain a special treat today.
Perrier Jouet is produced from a grape blend of 20% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir and 40% Pinot Meunier. Perrier Jouet champagnes are precise, fresh, and somewhat floral. For example, the Perrier Jouet Grand Brut conveys fragrances of white flowers, like honeysuckle or lime blossom, and is blended with fresh lemon and peach.
The 2011 and 2008 Belle Epoque are particularly good releases, while the Belle Epoque Blanc de Blanc did well in 2004.
Madame Pommery broke ground on what would become the Pommery vineyard and Champagne House in 1868. Now under the direction of Clement Pierlot, the 10th cellar-master of Pommery House, they continue to work with nature to provide the best in their sparkling wines.
The Pommery is a blend of 40 vineyards from throughout the Champagne region of France. The three grape blend is Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and about one-third Chardonnay. This subtle blend is then aged in the cellars for about three years to develop a full aroma.
Pommery is another Champagne House that is consistent in part by focusing on maintaining certain qualities in their wine, rather than enhancing vintages in their blends.
The 2005 vintage, Pommery’s Brut Millésimé, is a favorite amongst connoisseurs.
Ruinart stands as the oldest Champagne House in the world. Ruinart is owned by LVMH and is thriving as part of the luxury brand powerhouse.
They offer four cuvées, all of them aimed at small market specialty stores and consumers with a trained palate that can appreciate the intense subtlety and layering in their wine.
Some Ruinart Champagne is low as $75, but other more highly prized bottles range up to several hundred dollars per bottle.
Starting a commercial business in 1911, with a vintage of 1915, Salon focuses on the intimate details of their Champagne. Since Salon wants every wine to be as singular as they are, each vintage is made from the produce of a single cru, grape, and man.
That attention to exceptional quality details produces wines that are consistently highly rated, fruity, and with lasting, fine, bubbles. They gave their 2008 Brut Blanc De Blancs Le Mesnil a perfect score, making it an excellent option for those eager to taste Salon wines.
Salon’s Champagne starts at $450 a bottle and goes up from there.
Established nearly a century ago, the Taittinger comes from a family-owned operation and Champagne House. They are passionate about taking the ego out of making Champagne, focusing instead on the quality of the vines, grapes, and wines. The grapes for this Champagne House come from over 35 different villages. The typical Taittinger grape blend is a combination of 40% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir, and 25% Pinot Meunier. This high proportion of Chardonnay is unique among fine nonvintage Champagnes.
The presses for each wine are in the vineyard, which allows for the immediate pressing of the fruit after the manual harvest. This technique makes for a flavorful wine, often with hints of fresh fruit and honey with white flowers and vanilla creating a nuanced, layered blend.
The Comtes de Champagne is an excellent line from Taittinger and did well in 2006 and 2002.
Founded in 1775, Veuve Clicquot is a historic Champagne House. Veuve Clicquot is even old enough to have seen the French Revolution.
More importantly, for champagne lovers, Veuve Clicquot sparkling wines are delicately nuanced and bursting with complex flavor. Their Yellow Brut, especially, is a distinctive treat. The grapes used for this Champagne House comes from as many as 50 to 60 different vineyards. Traditionally, the proportion of each grape variety used is as follows: 50 to 55% Pinot Noir, 15 to 20% Pinot Meunier, and 28 to 33% Chardonnay.
The average price point for Veuve Clicquot Yelow Label champagnes is in the $50-$70 range, per bottle.
Many prefer Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame of 2008, 2006, and 2004. However, Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Cave Privée Brut from 1990 also shines.