Julien Zika is a Champagne expert. He spends most of his free-time visiting the vineyards of the region and he has published an online guide entirely dedicated to champagne with more than 700 references. Here’s a few recommendations he has for us.
Champagne: it’s time to reconsider your favorite bubbly bottles
The Champagne region produces the best sparkling wine in the world. It’s most famous ambassadors around the world are named Moët, Veuve Clicquot or Roederer.
But there are also more confidential winemakers who make great champagnes for lowest prices. Here are few of my favorites, all under €30.
Champagne Tarlant – Cuvée Zero Brut Nature ; about 23€
Benoît Tarlant and his sister Mélanie are part of this generation of winemakers who are really present on the web and social medias. The main part of their production is made of non-dosage champagne (meaning there’s no added-sugar while most of other producers add 11 grams of sugar on average). I love the Cuvée “Zero”: it’s very round and generous, counterbalanced by a great freshness and acidulous.
Champagne Françoise Bedel – Cuvée Origin’Elle Extra-Brut ; about €27
Françoise Bedel and her son cultivate their 8,4 hectares vineyard through bio-dynamics. Their champagne is mostly made with Meunier (one of the three grape varieties of Champagne, the two others being Chardonnay and Pinot noir).
These champagnes are a real hit, very fruity and generous at the same time. Special mention to the Origin’Elle cuvée (Extra-Brut).
Champagne André Jacquart – Cuvée Mesnil Expérience ; about €23
André Jacquart winery headed to a new direction when Marie et Benoît Doyard, the grand children of the original founder took over the vineyard. Their champagnes are exclusively made with Chardonnay.
The Cuvée Mesnil Expérience is a hit, it’s precise, elegant and very mineral.
Champagne Roger Coulon – Cuvée Réserve de l’Hommée ; about €23
Eric Coulon is an eighth generation winegrower. With his wife as a working partner, he has managed to establish an incredible cuvée, full of personality.
I’m a big fan of the Réserve de l’Hommée cuvée which is made with old grapes of the winery. It’s very generous, with bright and crisp fruits to the nose. It’s voluntarily less sparkling than most champagnes (4,6 bars instead of 6 usually).
Champagne Geoffroy – Cuvée Rosé de Saignée ; about €25
Jean-Baptiste Geoffroy makes not only great champagnes but also some incredible red wines which are part of the appellation « Coteaux Champenois » (which are still and not sparkling).
Back to business, the rosé champagne is made through the maceration of black grapes’ skins and the juice of white grapes. It’s delicious, with a lot of body and red berries flavors to the nose.