Updated: Jul 26, 2020
Great Champagne is like a Bugatti car: two seats. Meaning that you can only share the ride with one other person. And with that in mind, the best time to open a bottle of champagne is often a weekday at home with your partner. I have saved many good bottles for special occasions, only to be left disappointed. Not with the bottle, but with the reception it receives from the group I had gathered. And let's not talk about the tiny glass that I was left with.
So I encourage you to create the special occasion by popping open a bottle on a Tuesday. Here is a list of interesting cuvées made by growers or family houses under $75 to pop open and make your time at home more festive.
1. Brimoncourt Brut Regence NV
The House of Brimoncourt became dormant in the 1950s, but has recently been revived by international Art Dealer Alexandre Cornot, and is now one of the new movers and shakers based in Ay. Their wines are distinguished and impeccably made. This is their most approachable wine with 80% chardonnay, 20% pinot noir, 20% reserve wines and at least 4 years ageing on lees.
Their Extra Brut is also excellent value for money for $69 and a plethora of near 100 ratings from some of the most respected critics.
Shop at Vinomofo for $64.90 here
2. Roger Coulon Extra Brut 1er Cru Heri-Hodie
The Coulon family house has recently been taken over by the 9th generation Edgar and Louise. They are young dynamic and taking their wines to the next level with organic conversion which will be complete in 2021 for their vineyards in Premier cru vineyards in Vrigny. The Heri-Hodie, which translates to yesterday and today is made with a whopping 55% reserve wine from a solera dating back to 2000. The base vintage is 2015 with 60% meunier and 40% pinot noir 5% aged in new oak, and a very low (home made) dosage of 3g.
You won't find much better value for a truly artisanal champagne.
It can be purchased for $59.80 through https://thevintageclub.sg/collections/champagne
3. Henriot Brut Souverain NV
The house of Henriot prides itself on sourcing some of the most exquisite chardonnay of the region and the Brut Souverain showcases this with 50% chardonnay, 45% pinot and 5% meunier. It is aged 3 years and has a dosage of 8 grams.
It is imported into Singapore by !855 The Bottle Shop, so you can rest assured that the stock is always fresh.
Shop at 1855 for $75
4. René Collet Reserve Brut
From the heart of the Cote de Sezanne comes one of the best champagnes you have never heard of. Domaine Collet is run by 3 brothers who are passionate about showcasing the terroir of their village which has long been in the shadows of the Cote des Blancs and the Montagne de Reims.
Their Brut Reserve is a blend of 52% chardonnay and 48% pinot noir, with 34% vinified in oak and 50% blocked malolactic. It is created from the vintage of 2016 with 46% reserve wine from 2015, 2014 & 2013.
Definitely worth discovering
5. Drappier Brut Nature Blanc de Noirs
So many great things to say about this wine. The Drappier family are responsible to bringing Pinot Noir back to the Aube region in the 1930s, and were the first to replace Gamay with the less rustic and more temperamental Pinot. But it took until the 1970s for the last vines of Gamay to be pulled out, and now people are shocked when you mention it in the region.
Being the first carbon neutral winery of the region, they are also very forward thinking with their sustainable winemaking and low use of sulfur, making this wine great for a Tuesday as you'll feel great the next day.
And hear Charline Drappier's story on the creation of the cuvee and her family's implication in the promotion of pinot below.
6. Pierre Gerbais Grains de Celles NV
Pierre Gerbais is run by young gun Aurelien Gerbais and is based in the Aube region in Celles sur Ource. They are known for their exquisite Pinot Noirs and their sustainable approach to winemaking. Give Aurelien a few years and he will no doubt move onto cult winemaker status.
His Grains de Celles is a great expression of his small vineyard and a must for any grower lover's cellar.
Available through The Wine Odyssey App for $70.
7. Taittinger Brut Reserve NV
One of the oldest houses still owned and operated by the family whose name appears on the label. The flagship of the brand has a high proportion of chardonnay (40%) which is the key to producing wines of great elegance and finesse. It is a beautiful aperitif style champagne which pairs perfectly with breakfast, lunch and dinner.
We were joined by Clovis Taittinger on 17 april for a tasting of the Brut Reserve and Comtes de Champagne 2007 Blanc de blancs. Find out more about his stunning cuvees and the house history here.
Buy the Brut Reserve for around $70 in most large retail stores.