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Champagne Day: 96+ point wines to try

To celebrate Champagne Day, discover the top 12 Champagnes to try from the Decanter World Wine Awards.

Champagne needs little introduction, nor does it require a celebratory occasion to pop open — but this Champagne Day, held annually on the 4th Friday of October, we can think of a few exceptional examples worth discovering.

Year after year, results from the Decanter World Wine Awards attest to the quality of Champagne, and the 2022 competition was no exception with 11 Gold, seven Platinum and two Best in Show medals awarded to this classic region.

Champagne’s two Best in Show medal winners are of particular note: Telmont, Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut 2012 and Castelnau, Brut 2006. Both have seen plenty of cellar age, something that is particularly important when a restrained dosage takes the wine into the Extra Brut category, as it does for Telmont’s refined, pure-fruited Blanc de Blancs. Beautifully aged, Castelnau’s 2006 Brut underscores how the 2006 vintage in Champagne has a terrific amount of pleasure to offer.


Scroll down to see the top 12 Champagnes of DWWA 2022


Vintage Champagnes saw a majority of top medals awarded, with 13 of the top 20 (Gold, Platinum and Best in Show winners) awarded to sparkling wines from the 2007 vintage on. The 2012 vintage stands out with five Champagnes awarded 95+ points from this celebrated vintage.

Of the seven Platinum medal-winning wines, all receiving 97 points, two were awarded to non-vintage expressions: Georges de la Chapelle, Cuvée Nostalgie Brut and Pannier, Blanc Velours Brut. Fresh and elegant, Pannier’s Blanc Velours is lifted and floral, showing notes of acacia, tea, and jasmine on the finish, whereas George de la Chapelle’s Cuvée Nostalgie is more intense, with ripe toasty Chardonnay-led aromas followed by almond, red fruit and citrus flavours.

Below find the 12 highest scoring Champagnes, well worth discovering, from the 2022 Decanter World Wine Awards, with many more to discover on the DWWA results site here.

Champagne Day: 96+ point wines to try

Best in Show

Castelnau, Brut 2006

Best in Show, 97 points
Praise has been lavished on the 2008 Champagne vintage in recent years, and justly — but this beautifully aged Champagne also underscores how the 2006 vintage, here as elsewhere in France, has a terrific amount of pleasure to offer. The colour has yet to deepen towards gold, and for the time being keeps its bright straw allure; the aromas are rich, bready, enticing and refined, beginning to show the harmony of age. It’s pure and structured on the palate, clearly built on fine Meunier and Pinot Noir, with Chardonnay adding grace notes and charm. The dosage is sagely discreet: cellar time as much as grams of sugar give the wine its finishing roundness and poise. Alc 12.5%

Telmont, Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut 2012

Best in Show, 97 points
Refined and pure-fruited Blanc de Blancs. The pale straw gold of its colour is just beginning to deepen, and the wine has a restrained aromatic profile of white nectarine and peach,with the cream of lost lees smoothing its journey in the glass. In the mouth, it is intense, long, searching and pure, all sap and sinew at first; give it time, and you’ll see those early-season summer fruits begin to smile shyly despite the wine’s dry force. Alcohol 12%

Platinum

Chapuy, Unique Oger Chardonnay Brut Nature Grand Cru 2014

Platinum, 97 points
Deep and powerful, yet airborne and alive. The restrained aroma develops and opens to offer white flowers, lemon blossom, balm, and a light touch of nuts. The palate shows delicious lemon, apple, and melon, with some bright exotic details. The mineral-dry, biscuity finish shows an accent of fresh almond. Alc 12.5%

Charles Ellner, Séduction Brut 2007

Platinum, 97 points
Tight and lean with a delightful linear texture. The nose is pure umami with super-rich yeast overlaying a spine of lime cordial. The electric-acid palate is almost unyielding, with austere baked apples, oysters, chalk, and a pickled lemon note. Mouthwatering, crisp, cleansing. Needs time. Alc 12%

Georges de la Chapelle, Cuvée Nostalgie Brut NV

Platinum, 97 points
An open, mature style with great richness of ripe toasty Chardonnay-led aromas. There are notes of pistachio powder, fresh almond flakes, and nougat. The palate is brisker than the mature nose would suggest, leading with citrus, apple blossom, and some red fruits. Intense but elegant. Cracking! Alc 12%

Nicolas Feuillatte, Blanc de Blancs Brut Grand Cru 2012

Platinum, 97 points
Very toasty and upfront aromas with lemon curd and candied red apples. The ripe, yet zesty lemon peel and white grapefruit palate shows lovely detail on the fine mousse finish. Alc 12%

Nicolas Feuillatte, Palmes d’Or Brut 2008

Platinum, 97 points
Rich oxidative and vinous old-school style of Champagne. Rich with toffee apples, lemon curd on toast, brioche rolls and butter. The palate is just on the edge of Brut, with red apple and baked blueberry flavours. Nothing overdone, nothing overripe, nothing overmature – pure, persistent quality. Delicious! Alc 12%

Pannier, Blanc Velours Brut NV

Platinum, 97 points
Quite elegant and refreshing. Cool and lifted, with gentle lemon curd and lifted florals developing on the aroma. The toastiness is toned down to allow the floral lift and elegance to show. The palate is linear, with tremendous length and poise, and an acacia, tea, and jasmine finish. Alc 12%

Saint-Réol, Elégance Brut Grand Cru 2012

Platinum, 97 points
A super aroma of fresh pastries, apples, pears, and an underlying red fruit salad. Youthful and quite reserved, with delicate yeasty notes developing along with some interesting umami, white chocolate, and pine nut complexity. Fresh and lean with a delicate note of fresh herbs. Alc 12.5%

Gold

Charles Collin, Brut NV

Gold, 96 points
Soft straw colour, with zesty fresh fruit aromas of nectarine and mirabelle plum. There’s also gentle notes of bread and fruit peel, with undertones of pistachio and almond. Refined, quite steely mid palate, elevated by its intensity of flavour and notes of white chocolate. Superior. Alc 12%

Charles Heidsieck, Blanc de Blancs Brut NV

Gold, 96 points
Rich and full style, with a smoky and clear-cut flinty note to begin. Aromas of dried and baked fruits accompanied by woody and autolytic notes. Very serious example, with intense biscuit and toast notes and such a classy texture. Charming. Alc 12%

Rare, Brut 2008

Gold, 96 points
Beautiful and complex classic Vintage nose. It’s all about the bread and pastries, honeysuckle and lemon. Crisp and super fresh palate with a pure vein of acidity running through it. Fine bubbles. Simply gorgeous wine, it has everything. Drinking beautifully now but should age well. Alc 12%


Search all DWWA 2022 results


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