The Best Champagnes For Christmas - Oracle Time

The Best Champagnes For Christmas

With just days to go until the celebratory period is here (and we can meet people in person this time!), I dare say its cause for a party. How better to celebrate than with a nice cold glass of Champagne in hand? Well, that’s exactly what I give you. Here are some of my favourite bubbles of 2021, that make the best Christmas gifts for Champagne lovers. You made it. Here’s to you!

Comtes De Champagne Blanc De Blanc Brut 2011, £114

Comtes De Champagne Blanc De Blanc Brut 2011

Taittinger has become one of my regular go-tos for reliability and their Comtes line only continues to dazzle with every vintage. The 2011 benefitted from a terrific year, with each of the five villages that offer their chardonnay on top form. Think gingerbread meringue, peach and mandarin on the nose with a generously textured mouthfeel. Smooth, with a candied fruit finish.

Available at The Champagne Company.

Frerejean Frères VV26, £125

Frerejean Frères VV26

A new discovery for me, and boy was I happy I tried it. Aged for eight years, the chardonnay grapes which go into this bottle belong to 90-year-old Grand Cru wines, including some that date back to 1926. They spend seven months in oak barrels before a blending of the best 2008 and 2009 harvests creates beauty in a bottle. Think Danish pastry, apricot and a creamy silky mouthfeel.

Available at Frerejean Frères.

Perrier-Jouët Belle Époque Limited Edition 2013, £140

Perrier-Jouët Belle Époque Limited Edition 2013

One of the most beautiful Champagne bottles out there, which also lives up to the taste! Oh, and who doesn’t love a limited edition gift box too? This biodiversity celebration is a creation by Mischer’Traxler which gives a nod to how far the house has come since 1811. The box itself launches in spring 2022, but if you can’t wait until then, the liquid inside will still be the same! A quintessential choice that will never disappoint.

Available at Harrods.

Henri Giraud MV16, £161

Henri Giraud MV16

Another multi-vintage wonder (there’s a theme to this issue!). Henri Giraud is the oldest Champagne house to still be owned by the founding family. Suffice to say, they’ve been doing this for a while and it shows. This wonder is a blend of pinot noir and chardonnay, although they use the petit pinot clone of pinot noir which has been grown on the estate since 1804. A true piece of history and an eruption of baked apple pie, dark plums and honey with coconut and ginger. Stunning.

Available at Hedonism.

Henriot Rosé Millésimé 2012, £61

Henriot Rosé Millésimé 2012

For Maison Henriot, the Rosé Millésimé is only produced during particular years when the grapes shine through. Thankfully, 2012 was one of them. Bursting with fruits on the nose, the palate is ripe, rich and creamy with delicate tropical notes and a kiss of orange on the finish.

Available at L’Assemblage.

Billecart Salmon Nicolas François 2007, £115

Billecart Salmon Nicolas François 2007 Champagne

Another house which consistently impresses year after year. Their NF range however doesn’t come out every year, only during the best! The 2007 is one of the best and offers an incredible plummy, citrus burst intertwined with candied apricot, apple crumble and earl grey tea. A colossal richness takes over the palate with deep texture before a fig-driven brioche ending comes to play. Stop. Everything. Now.

Available at The Whisky Exchange.

Grand Siècle No 23 Magnum, £376

Grand Siècle No 23 Magnum

Every time Laurent Perrier launches a Grand Siècle, it without question has a place in my wine fridge, especially when it’s a magnum. There’s just something so enticing about this wine. They essentially take some of their best vintages and marry them together in an unforgettable blend. An intertwining of 2006, 2004 and 2002 give us 58% chardonnay and 42% pinot noir, which have had 14 years on lees. Rich, smoky and aromatic with redcurrants, lemon curd and brioche. You really can’t go wrong.

Available at The Finest Bubble.

Piper-Heidseick 1971, £395

Piper-Heidsieck Hors Serie 1971 Champagne

Wait, what?! 1971? Yep, you did read that correctly. In order to showcase just how bloody good they are, Piper-Heidseick have launched the first of a limited-edition series that will grace our glasses every few years. Their first? The 50-year-old blend with a nod to times past. It’s very rare you get to taste something so old without the chance of it being spoiled, so this is quite the treat. With only 2021 bottles released, each bottle offers a distinct tasting experience (I mean, if they’re that old that’s going to happen). Stewed pineapple, rose petals, dark plum, almonds and honey were just a few of the notes I got from mine. Question is, what will you get out of yours?

Available at Champagne Direct.

Bollinger PN VZ16, £80

Bollinger PN VZ16

This 100% pinot noir Champagne is the new annual release from Bollinger and only the second of its kind. Each year the cuvee will be an expression of a different cru from the base year that highlights its distinctive terroir and taste. This year offers apple, rhubarb and hazelnuts on the nose with a stewed apricot, brioche and saline finish. Anyone else getting thirsty?

Available at The Finest Bubble.

Thiénot x Penfolds Champagne Brut Rosé, £48

Thiénot x Penfolds Champagne Brut Rosé

We’ve waited since 2019 for this moment and it’s here! The quartet of Penfolds partnership with Thienot is completed. An inviting and exotic blend is produced from 30% chardonnay, 20% pinot noir and 50% pinot meunier. The result is a Champagne of distinct freshness, offering notes of black cherry, blackcurrant and redberries with a kiss of creaminess and charm.

Available at The Champagne Company.

Glenallachie The Duchess 24 Years Old, €200

Glenallachie The Duchess 24 Years Old

As one of the few remaining independent distilleries in Scotland, Speyside’s GlenAllachie set themselves apart from the majority of whiskies out there, something that the tastemakers at Watt Whisky obviously appreciated when they selected this outstanding liquid. Bottled by independent bottler The Duchess, this is a stand-out 24-year-old whisky, with a nose of summer fruits and citrus, underpinned by exotic sweetness and candied clementines. The finish is long and creamy but not woody, allowing you to savour the age without overpowering its freshness. A masterclass in independent whisky at all stages, this is also a seriously good whisky for the price.

Available at Best of Wines.

About the author

Aidy Smith

Aidy Smith is a wine and spirits personality and one of the presenter trio behind Amazon Prime TV Series, The Three Drinkers. In better times, he is often found scouring the globe for his next tipple. It’s a hard life, but someone’s got to do it. You can follow his adventures on Instagram at @sypped.

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