I plan to get old and portly on Champagne. Every night, I’ll make dinner for my future wife, living by a vineyard in a lake house. Champagne before dinner, with dinner, and after dinner. Champagne for breakfast. Suffice to say, Champagne means a lot to me, and I’ve been known to indulge in a bottle or two of splurge-worthy Champagnes.
Here are my picks for five Champagnes you must try at some point in your life, preferably sooner than later. For special moments when price tags can be overlooked, these are bottles worth every penny to get a taste of the sweet nectar on your tongue.
Roses de Jeanne by Cedric Bouchard
Côte de Val Vilaine Blanc de Noirs
Cedric Bouchard crafts his bottlings from vineyards that yield considerable tension and atmospheric pleasure. He’s one of the cool cats of the grower Champagne movement.
Champagne should be pleasurable to drink, and damn, does this one deliver! It’s also the only one on the list under $100 😱
Grande Cuvée Brut
I had the good fortune of participating in a VIP tour back in 2018, and I will never forget what it felt like to step into the halls of Krug. Seeing the cellar where they keep the base wines from vintages back to 1990, aging quietly to one day find their way into a bottle of Grande Cuvée – it was emotional. The Grande Cuvée is the most coveted of all non-vintage Champagnes.
Krug’s most recent release is the 169th edition. However, the 168th edition is the current Editor’s Pick on Vivino.
Substance Blanc de Blancs Brut Grand Cru Avize
The base wine of this cuvée is composed of Chardonnay from vineyards in Avize. But what truly makes it special is that it’s a solera style dating back to 1987.
Selosse is a favorite among sommeliers and chefs alike. Still, because it’s a splurge-worthy Champagne, we usually need a wealthy collector friend to come into the restaurant and open a bottle once the minuscule allocation has arrived. This stuff is spendy and unreal in your glass—pure decadence.
If you want to visit the cellar in Aÿ, you should also book a stay at their accommodation. The full-on experience 😉
Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs Brut
This wine will forever hold a place in my heart. In 2015, Ruinart appealed to the public for first release bottles of 1959 Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs or 1964 Dom Ruinart Rosé. The house sold out completely, and they didn’t have any remaining bottles in the cellar.
As it turns out, as part of a significant private cellar purchase, my old wine bar Augustine came upon one bottle of 1959 Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs. So, of course, we had to return it to its rightful home! It’s a fun story to tell and, for me, makes Dom Ruinart all the more worth the splurge.
The current vintage release is 2007.
Le Mesnil Blanc de Blancs (Cuvée S) Brut
Lastly, Salon. A thimble of this magical elixir will change your life. I’m blessed to have tasted several vintages dating back to 1969. They only bottle Salon in exceedingly outstanding years. In the last 100 years, they’ve only released Salon 37 vintages. Let that sink in. Also, the 2008 vintage is only available in magnum. Talk about a FLEX!
Sell some Bitcoin and buy a case. A true appreciator will never regret experiencing this splurge-worthy Champagne.