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Beyond Dom Perignon & Cristal: The Hidden World of Ultra-Rare Champagne

When it comes to prestige cuvee champagne, the first names that come to mind are Dom Perignon and Cristal. However, the world of haute champagne extends far beyond these household names.

There exists a realm of ultra-exclusive and elusive champagnes that are crafted for champagne insiders and connoisseurs only, and are not available to the general public. These champagnes are the epitome of luxury and are reserved for only the most discerning palates. Discover some of them below.


Boërl & Kroff

"Boërl & who?" you might ask. Even some of the most knowledgeable sommeliers have never heard of this mysterious wine. However, behind the obscurity lies a fascinating story. Boerl & Kroff, a champagne house founded in 1994, is run by Stéphane Sésé with the winemaking assistance of Michel Drappier and aimed to create an ultra-premium champagne that could rival the best wines of Burgundy and Pomerol. To achieve this, they hand-selected three small plots near Urville in the Cote des Bar that were deemed the ultimate expression of Pinot Noir. Interestingly, these vineyards were previously reserved solely for the wine made for Charles de Gaulle, adding to the exclusivity and mystique surrounding the brand.

You definitely will not find this one on nightclub lists or in traditional retail. In fact, one must apply to access their online store. Once approved, lucky guests have access to their collection of cuvees ranging from the non-vintage magnum at 4 950 €, to a Melchizidech of 1995 for 217 800 €.

All wines are aged in oak, then in the bottles for twleve years minimum. However, wines are only released when Sésé and the Magician of Urville (Michel Drappier) believe they have been aged to perfection. For example, the 1996 was released two years before the 1995 vintage.

In recent years, they have released the more approachable B de Boërl & Kroff range, which starts at around €500. The current vintage is 2012, and is sold out everywhere.



Jacques Selosse has become one of Champagne's most sought-after producers, earning the admiration of sommeliers, wine connoisseurs, and champagne lovers alike. Founded in 1949 by Jacques Selosse, the house is now run by his son, Anselme Selosse, flanked by his grandson Guillaume. One of the key factors in Anselme's success has been his focus on viticulture and terroir. He is a leading thinker on the relationship between healthy soils and the resulting wines.

Selosse achieves exceptional quality through low yields and meticulous viticulture, harvesting fruit that is both physiologically ripe and expressive from their 15 ha of Grand Cru vineyards in Avize, Cramant and Oger. By innovatively using barriques, Selosse exercises remarkable control over the role of oxygen in his base wines. He has also been a pioneer of the low-dosage movement, believing that his wines, with their purity of flavor, require "no make-up". These experimental practices have led to several fully-realized masterpieces, including his exceptional vintage wines and the transcendent soleras, Initial and Substance. They produce less than 60,000 bottles per year, and prices start from about €150 per bottle, but can reach astronomical prices on the secondary market.



Founded in 1905 by Eugène-Aimé Salon, the house has a long-standing reputation for producing exceptional and rare champagnes and was the first ever commercialised blanc de blancs.

What makes Salon unique is their commitment to producing only one wine: vintage blanc de blancs from the Grand Cru village of Le Mesnil sur Oger. Only 37 vintages have been released since their inception. In addition, Salon ages their champagnes for an extended period of time, with most vintages being aged for over a decade before release. The wine does not go through malolactic fermentation, which gives it racy acidity in its youth, and unparallelled aging potential.

Due to their limited production(between 60,000 and 80,000 bottles per vintage) and high demand, Salon Champagnes can be difficult to find and are often considered a luxury item in the wine world. However, they are highly sought-after by collectors and Champagne enthusiasts alike for their exceptional quality and unique style.

The current release is the 2012 vintage and will set collectors back €1,500, if they are lucky enough to get an allocation.


La Grande Charte

Created in the noughties by a Swiss economist and impact investor and a co-owner of La Conseillante in Bordeaux, Champagne Grance Charte is an underground project aiming to create ultimate eco-luxury in Champagne. Made in collaboration with three organic and biodynamic winemakers, the production of Grande Charte Champagne is intentionally limited, with only a small quantity of each cuvee released. Depending on the specific blend, the number of bottles produced ranges from a mere 440 to 5137, emphasising the brand's commitment to exclusivity and quality over quantity.

Every element from winemakeing to branding has been approached with a emphasis on sustainability. All grapes are sourced from organic or biodynamic vineyards with permaculture principles, made with limited intervention, and of course packaged with eco-friendly materials. No plastic is used in the entire process. The information on the bottles is not printed on labels; instead, it is engraved using an alloy of precious metals. Pure recycled tin is melted and molded to create the caps. And carboard boxes have been replaced with wooden cases of eight, for which the oak is sourced from nearby forests. These exquisite cases are closed with recycled wax stamps.

They launched in 2019 with the GC - 5 collection, and will be rolling out three more collections (GC - 4, GC - 3, GC - 2 ) until their true vision comes to life exclusively in magnums.

Grande Charte wines maintain an exclusive status, eschewing public advertising and the usual luxury retail channels. The only means to experience these prestigious wines is through the highly select Embassies located across the globe, or by way of the Grande Charte private collectors' club which is limited to 800 members. To join this exclusive community, wine-lovers must be proposed by either a current member or a Grande Charte Embassy. This ensures that membership remains limited to those who share a true passion for the rare and exceptional wines produced by Grande Charte, and a commitment to sustainability.

A discovery case of two or three bottles is available for non members at the price of €800, and members join the collectors club when they acquire the yearly allocation, which includes four bottles of their four cuvees for around €4,500 (depending on location).