Nothing rings in a celebration or special occasion quite like the perfect glass of bubbly. But there are thousands of options to choose from, so how do you know which to pick? Enter our list of best champagne choices for each budget. We’ve rounded up our favorite champagne brands to share with you. Cheers!
What Exactly Is Champagne?
Before we can dive into our favorites list, let’s first define the parameters of champagne. The dictionary defines it as, “a white sparkling wine made in the old province of Champagne, France”. So our list only includes white bubbles from France, rather than some popular copycats like prosecco, cava, sparkling wine, California champagne, etc. Furthermore, to be considered true champagne, it must be derived from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier grapes. Now that we have a better understanding of what constitutes a true glass of champs, it’s time for our roundup of the best kinds for every monetary range. With entries that cost from $30 to $530, we’re sure to have options to please every palate and price point. Pop, fizz, clink.
1. Nicolas Feuillatte ($30)
Our first option sits right at the $30 price point per bottle and is called SÉLECTION BRUT by the winemaker. From the Chouilly region in Champagne, this selection is well-balanced and light; it tastes like a much more expensive bottle. Strong notes of white fruit like apple and raspberry are present and give an extra freshness to this variety. This champagne is aged between two and three years and is a combination of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes.
2. Piper-Heidsieck ($40)
Sometimes known as “the red label”, Piper-Heidsick is a staple at arts and cultural events around the world like the Cannes Film Festival. Pronounced “pie-per-HIED-zick”, this Brut option is at a budget-friendly $40 per bottle. Its shimmery pale gold color, nutty notes, and bright acidity from fruit all come together to form a balanced bubbly perfect for toasting to the good times.
3. Laurent-Perrier ($40)
Laurent-Perrier’s La Cuvee option is next on our hit list. This stylish company, sometimes abbreviated to LP by fans, hits it out of the park with their $40 bottle of champagne. Crafted with a large portion of Chardonnay grapes, the pure and fresh taste lends itself well to many food pairings as citrus and fruit notes are expressive but not overpowering. It would be a great before dinner drink (apéritif) as well as pair beautifully with poultry or white fish.
4. Perrier-Jouët ($40)
We love P-J’s “Grand Brut” offering, which sits at a comfortable $40 per bottle price point. It offers a stronger flavor profile than some of our other contenders, with a combination of 20% Chardonnay grapes, 40% Pinot Noir grapes, and 40% Pinot Meunier grapes. This mix produces a round and full yet still balanced taste. Extra bonus? The whimsical flowery label provides a fun and artistic yet elegant and refined twist to classic champagne labels.
5. Bollinger ($42)
Made famous by the James Bond film franchise, Bollinger is known as the gentleman’s choice for champagne. The company has been around since 1829 and uses reserve grapes aged five to fifteen years to flavor their robust and full-bodied bubbles. The blend for this bottle is comprised of 60% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay, 15% Pinot Meunier. On the nose, this drink smells spicy and fruity while its taste profile is velvety and nutty with hints of pear brioche. We also love the extra fine bubbles and bright golden color that Bollinger is known for.
6. Moët & Chandon ($45)
Moët & Chandon is one of the world’s most well-known Champagne houses, and their Imperial offering at just $45 hits all the right notes. This golden yellow bubbly combines mineral nuances with bright acidic fruit and nutty blonde hints. Pinot Noir accounts for 30-40% of the wine, while Pinot Meunier another 30-40%, and Chardonnay 20-30%. Originally created in 1869, it’s no wonder the recipe has barely been altered all these years.
7. Taittinger ($50)
If you’re a fan of Taittinger, you may recall that it was Princess Grace Kelly’s beverage of choice. This drink is elegant and classy just like its most famous fan. This family-run champagne house was founded in 1734 and is based in Reims, France. Taittinger’s La Francaise Brut NV retails for about $50. It has a heavy floral essence due to the large portion of Chardonnay grapes used; crisp white citrus notes are also present. Overall, this is one of the classic great sparklers and for a very reasonable price.
8. Veuve Clicquot ($60)
Veuve Clicquot is a trendy and popular champagne option that is next on our list. It’s a $60 bottle and is a great gift for various celebrations with its iconic yellow label. Another Reims-based vintner, VC was founded in 1722 and has thrived ever since. Generally, it consists of 50 to 55% Pinot Noir, 15 to 20% Pinot Meunier and 28 to 33% Chardonnay grapes. It tastes toasty and fruity with a subtle hint of vanilla. Another popular varietal at a similar price point is their new sparkling rose offering.
9. Billecart-Salmon ($80)
The B-S Brut Rosé is a chic choice with its rose gold color and classically-inspired bottle. Founded in 1818 with the marriage of Nicolas François Billecart and Elisabeth Salmon, this still family-owned house is based in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, France. This selection smells like red fruits and fresh pear and is gentle yet crisp on the palate. It pairs exceptionally well with salmon for an unforgettable meal.
10. Dom Pérignon ($180)
Perhaps one of the most widely-known champagne houses, Dom Pérignon is a French classic. Since it retails starting at $180 per bottle, Dom can make a memorable gift for a special anniversary, wedding, or milestone achievement. This vintage champagne is only made three times each decade and is aged a minimum of eight years in a wine cellar for a truly elegant, unique, and balanced end product. Each vintage has different characteristics but all are exquisite. We’ll drink to that!
11. Krug ($200)
Krug, pronounced “Kroog”, is sometimes called the sommelier’s champagne. The varietal we most enjoy is their Grand Cuvee Brut which sits at a retail value of $200. It’s comprised of a blend of 32% Chardonnay, 31% Pinot Meunier, and 7% Pinot Noir grapes. This combination lends itself to bold flavor highlighted with nuts and fruits, honey and brioche, and floral and gingerbread notes. It offers a truly robust flavor profile and ages beautifully.
12. Cristal ($220)
Made infamous in rap videos, Cristal is Louis Roederer’s most well-known product. Originally crafted in 1876 for Tsar Alexander II of Russia, this bubbly offers a cool historical take on our favorite beverage. A mix of Chardonnay (about 40%) and Pinot Noir (about 60% grapes) is combined only during the best years to create Cristal. Then, it’s aged for about six years in the cellars of this classic French champagne house.
13. Salon Brut Blanc de Blancs ($530)
The Le Mesnil 2006 from Salon Brut Blanc de Blancs was given the ever elusive 100 point rating by Wine Enthusiast. Made from just Chardonnay grapes, this bottle is aged at least twenty five years and up to thirty years. On the nose, it smells like citrus, brioche, white flowers, and toasted hazelnuts. Known for tasting complex with high acidity, this champagne is truly one-of-a-kind and its hefty price tag reflects that prestige.
Overall, we hope you’ve enjoyed our picks for the best bubbly at various price points. Whether you want to spend $30 or over $500 on your next bottle of champs, we’ve got you covered. Remember, save water, drink champagne.