The wines of Champagne, the region in north-east France where the world’s greatest sparkling wines come from, are the only ones allowed to bear the word on the label, but that hasn’t stopped ‘Champagne’ becoming shorthand for any wine that fizzes. Although most countries make sparkling wine, Champagne remains undisputed king, with nothing else coming close to the very best made here. Champagne is located further north than the rest of the world’s major vineyards. At this latitude, cooler temperatures prevail, and the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinor Meunier grapes grown in this climate therefore retain much higher acidity than they would further south. This suits sparkling wine perfectly, and is part of the reason Champagne is so widely imitated and so rarely bettered.

Featured Wines

Champagne - a chosen few from us

Cuvée Cristal 2007, Louis Roederer, 150cl

£441

Louis Roederer's Cristal is one of the most sought-after of all Champagnes and has a long and distinguished history. The wine itself is full-bodied and powerful but balanced, fully deserving of its stellar reputation.

In 1876 Tsar Alexander II of Russia, fearing that a bomb hidden behind the conventional green glass of a Champagne bottle might be used to assassinate him, ordered a Champagne to be produced in a clear glass bottle and without the traditional bell-shaped base. In order to ensure that this bottle shape was able to cope with the pressure, it had to be manufactured from lead crystal, and hence became known as Cristal. If stored correctly the wines develop an extraordinary complexity over many years. The difficulty is in persuading anybody to resist temptation and keep it that long.

All wine from Champagne

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