Champagne is a curious commodity. There one minute, gone the next.
We drink it when we’re happy, we drink it when we’re sad, and if this liquid gold wasn’t such a luxury, we’d probably fizz to the hilt come rain or shine.
Our celebratory tipple of choice, sometimes the champagne has nothing to do with our personal taste – it’s more of a status symbol and there purely for corks to pop.
But if you had to choose, and Lady Luck was on your side, these are the vintage fizzes, special releases and celebrity wines making waves:
1. Armand de Brignac Gold Brut (£250, The Whisky Exchange)
What do Jay-Z and champagne have in common? It couldn’t be simpler. The rap star loved the glitzy Ace of Spades cuvée so much, he bought the brand.
Made by the Cattier family, 13th generation champagne growers, the Gold Brut is a blend of three vintages – the current release is 2009, 2010 and 2012 – and predominantly pinot noir and chardonnay.
The iconic metallized bottle and French pewter labelling are unique, and the wine has a gorgeous blossomy nose with a beautiful balance between the exotic fruits and brioche notes.
And if you’re curious to know what the experts think of the ‘bling of bubbles’, Decanter magazine awarded Gold Brut 95 points. Tellingly, Armand de Brignac Blanc De Noirs (a multi-vintage 2008, 2009 and 2010), which retails for £675, was awarded 96 points.
2. Bollinger La Grande Année 2007 (£89.99, Majestic)
A sprinkling of stardust surrounds a vintage bottle of Boli. La Grande Année made its screen debut in James Bond’s Casino Royale, and the house style is powered by an impressive richness with a wonderfully refreshing finish.
Only released in certain years, Bollinger calls it “a must-have for gourmet restaurants and good hotels alike: it’s the perfect champagne to serve with a fine meal”.
Sophisticated, it can’t help but impress with its striking golden hue, beguiling fragrance of pristine fruit and aromatic fullness.
3. Perrier-Jouët Blanc de Blancs NV (£80, Fortnum & Mason)
An artisanal fizz, the iconic anemone wreathed in gold that dresses every bottle of Perrier-Jouët reflects the art nouveau movement, and its links with 19th-century artist and master glassmaker Émile Gallé.
Fast forward to today and this new cuvée in a clear glass bottle (the intention is for it stand out from others in the classic range) embraces the essence of the chardonnay grape with its fresh, vivacious, mineral notes and pretty floral aromatics.
4. Veuve Clicquot Extra Brut Extra Old (£67.50, Champagne Direct)
If you’re a fan of the Yellow Label and appreciate Veuve for the fruit in her non-vintage, structure in a vintage and elegance in La Grande Dame, then this latest release is worth seeking out.
A low-dosage champagne (less sugar or ‘skinny’) and an assemblage of several vintages of reserve wines, the champagne is dry in a good way, has a delicate floral, citrus-edged bouquet, and the tiny beads of bubbles are refined with subtle mineral undertones and an underlying power.
5. Nicolas Feuillatte Blanc de Blancs Vintage 2008 (£28.99, Waitrose)
This is the youngest of the grand marques and best-selling champagne in France. To celebrate its growing presence, Nicolas Feuillate’s new €25 million winery with expansive views over the Champagne slopes is creating quite a buzz.
A tasting, cellar tour and boutique shopping for savvy branding you won’t find in the UK are top attractions.
And we love their latest vintage – a graceful chardonnay with beautiful citrusy aromas, a delicate structure and described by the winemaker as “the most feminine vintage of the past 20 years”.
6. Waitrose Blanc de Noirs Brut NV (£21.99, Waitrose)
The label doesn’t scream Hollywood, but this is an A-list champagne with everything going for it.
As well as having a gong for being the International Wine Challenge (IWC) Great Value Champion Sparkling 2017, this 100% pinot noir has a delightful toasty richness, lovely depth of fruity flavours, excellent length and a biscuity note which carries through to the finish.