Tasting notes: Jonathan Ray’s top 10 champagnes
Henri Chauvet Brut Blanc de Noirs Brut NV
A blend of 90 per cent pinot noir and 10 per cent pinot meunier, based on the 2013 and 2014 vintages, this is crisp, clean and fresh with a touch of toasty biscuit in there too.
Serge Mathieu Brut Tradition NV
Serge Mathieu is the sixth generation of his family to grow grapes and his daughter, Isabelle, the seventh; their 100 per cent pinot noir is a beauty, full of luscious, creamy red fruit flavours and honey.
The Society’s Champagne Brut NV
I love the Wine Society and I love this rich, toasty, oak-fermented champagne, made especially for them by Alfred Gratien, with whom the Wine Soc has been in cahoots since 1906.
Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve NV
With an unusually high level of reserve wines in its blend and a minimum ageing of six years before release, this has wonderful depth of flavour with toast, brioche, caramel, white stone fruit and honey.
Bollinger Special Cuvée Brut NV
This is such a classy champagne, produced by a small family-owned house obsessed with quality. Complexity and plenty of pinot noir in the blend are the wine’s hallmarks.
Billecart-Salmon Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru NV
A glorious 100 per cent chardonnay harvested from four grand cru villages in the Côtes des Blancs, this is fresh, elegant and stylish with hints of almonds, apple, zesty citrus and dried fruits.
Krug Grande Cuvée
This 163rd release of KGC is fabulously complex, a blend of 183 different wines from 12 different years, the oldest 1990 and the youngest 2007. It is stunningly fine.
2002 Piper-Heidsieck Cuvée Rare
Created by the celebrated Régis Camus (winner of the International Wine Challenge’s Sparkling Winemaker of the Year a record eight times) this is rich, generous and mouth-filling, full of honeyed brioche and cake.
2002 Bruno Paillard Nec Plus Ultra
This is only the sixth vintage of NPU to be released and 6,200 bottles were produced. It is big and bold but the fresh, ripe fruit and honey and nut flavours shine through and I love it.
Dom Pérignon 1998 P2
Rich, biscuity, nutty and toasty with a seemingly endless finish, this is an extraordinary wine, the Plénitude Deuxième (“second age” or “P2”) of the 1998 vintage, with 16 years on the lees.
Jonathan Ray is drinks editor of The Spectator and author of “Drink More Fizz!” (October 2017, Quadrille)