Is this the moment for Champagne?
By Master of Wine, Christopher Burr
For some there is always a good moment for a glass of Champagne!
Indeed the renowned late Lilly Bollinger was famous for saying:
“I drink Champagne when I’m happy and when I’m sad.
Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone.
When I have company I considered it obligatory.
I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am.
Otherwise I never touch it, unless I’m thirsty.”
I can think of a few reasons to celebrate, be it grand sporting events, ending of Covid rules, summer parties, weddings, or like Lilly, unless I am thirsty!
When Majestic wine was founded back in 1980, it soon built a reputation for some of the best deals for Champagne. There was a large discrepancy between prices in France and the importer prices in the UK. Majestic managed to ship containers through the Champagne Houses’ French customers considerably cheaper than through the UK merchants/shippers.
This was eventually reconciled by the Houses ensuring prices across Europe were the same.
But Majestic have managed to still keep its competitive edge even over some fairly aggressive supermarket discounting.
In the 1990s the then owner and Chairman of Majestic, John Apthorp, who really knows his wine and loves great Champagne, picked out a very slightly pink Champagne from a small producer called Devaux. The fizz is called “Oeil de Perdrix”, or partridge eye, and the Champagne picks up colour from the skins of the Pinot Meunière and Pinot Noir during it’s first gentle pressing.
I think it is probably the best value for money of all they have, at £20.99 for a purchase of six mixed bottles, or £27.99 for a single bottle purchase.
But at the moment, Majestic have a good number of incredibly good value buys.
My favourite non vintage Grande Marques are Bollinger Special Cuvée reduced down to £35.99, Louis Roederer Brut Premier also at £35.99. Both being cut from the single bottle price by £13 and £11 respectively.
My other favourite, Pol Roger Reserve is only cut by five pounds and is at £42.99.
All three of these are wonderful with a little extra bottle age if you have somewhere cool to store them. They each have their own House signature, and they are equally complex and delicious in their own different ways.
Lanson Black Label Brut NV is also good value, £10 off the single bottle price at £25.99. Which, for a good blend is great value.
At the top of the range, the good vintage 2011 Heidsieck Monopole Gold Foil, is only £22.99 when you buy six, compared with £31.99 for a single bottle. Ten years of maturity and all the more complex for it.
And the wonderfully complex and deliciously balanced and delicate Delux Cuvée from Laurent Perrier, their Grand Siecle, which is a blend of good vintages with lovely age, very classy fizz.
It is £50 a bottle cheaper for a mixed six down from £175 per bottle to £126.
Interestingly many of the very top Champagnes like Krug, Dom Perignon, Roederer Crystal and Taittinger Comte de Champagne, are out of stock on line, so perhaps they have had a run on these top wines, or people have already started celebrating with no expense spared.
Finally if you want a good, well made, budget Champagne, albeit a bit bright young and fresh, Majestic have Champagne Nicholas Courtin Brut NV for £16.99 for a mixed case, and £19.99 per single bottle.
So, celebrate away, there is something for everyone. Have lots of fun and make it a time to remember.
Updated 13th July 2021