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Blanc de Blancs Champagne: Panel tasting results

Variation in styles led to some differences of opinion, but Champagne’s best Chardonnays offer great potential for drinking or cellaring.

Tom Hewson, Alan Bednarski and Shane Jones tasted 89 wines with 3 Outstanding and 34 Highly recommended.

Blanc de Blancs Champagne: Panel tasting scores

89 wines tasted

Exceptional 0

Outstanding 3

Highly recommended 34

Recommended 46

Commended 6

Fair 0

Poor 0

Entry criteria: producers and UK agents were invited to submit non-vintage and latest-release vintage blanc de blancs Champagnes made from white grapes only.

Blanc de blancs is often touted as a delicate, aperitif-style Champagne. This tasting told a more complex story, however: there were broad, food-friendly examples incorporating smart oak use; sleek, long-aged wines to linger over; and creamy, approachable non-vintage wines, too. The wines that impressed most in this tasting showed the refreshing, often chalky focus that Champagne’s greatest Chardonnay is known for: ‘Depth of flavour, complexity, fine acidity and the potential for positive development in bottle,’ said fellow judge Shane Jones.

Scroll down to see tasting notes and scores from the Blanc de Blancs Champagne panel tasting

The question mark that hung over the tasting, though, was around style: with warmer vintages bringing ever riper characters to Chardonnay, is blanc de blancs undergoing an image change?

Blanc de Blancs Champagne panel tasting scores

The judges

Tom Hewson is Champagne correspondent for Decanter and Decanter Premium online, and a DWWA judge. A jazz musician, he writes on sparkling wine more broadly on the Six Atmospheres Substack.

Alan Bednarski is head sommelier for Main Square Hospitality Group, which runs top restaurants across Krakow, also managing the portfolio for major distributor House of Champagne (Poland). He previously worked in London venues including 28°-50°, Texture and Annabel’s, and is a DWWA judge for Champagne.

Shane Jones is an independent wine, Port and sake educator, certified by the WSET and the Sake Sommelier Association. A DWWA judge for Champagne, he is based in London but teaches around the UK as well as in France and Germany.

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