Best Champagne 2018
By Christina Woodger
Find out how champagne from leading supermarkets compares with Laurent-Perrier, Piper-Heidsieck and Veuve Clicquot.
Our expert panel taste tested champagnes from big brands, such as Laurent-Perrier, Piper-Heidsieck and Veuve Clicquot, alongside supermarkets' own labels. We've found fantastic fizz, including two Best Buy champagnes that impressed with their elegant style and balance.
Only logged in Which? members can view the rest of our results and tasting notes in the table below.
If you're not yet a member, you’ll see an alphabetically ordered list of all the champagnes we tested. Join Which? to get instant access.
Or read on for the expert way to chill and serve champagne.
Table notes: Prices correct at time of publication in October 2018
How we test champagne
Our wine experts tasted nine supermarket own-label and exclusive non-vintage (NV) champagnes, as well as six top-selling big-name champagnes. All were brut (dry) and cost £35 or less. We disguised all of the bottles before they were chilled, and they were tasted by a panel of wine experts using International Standards Organisation (ISO) wine glasses. Each expert tried the wines in a different order. They then discussed their tasting notes, agreed on a score for each bottle and decided which ones deserved to be Best Buys.
Our experts were looking for character, depth and complexity and, according to our panel, you should be able to taste yeast and nuttiness in good champagne.
This year our wine experts were: Charles Metcalfe – wine taster and co-chair of the International Wine Challenge (IWC); Kathryn McWhirter – wine taster, author and translator; Peter McCombie – Master of Wine, speaker, consultant, co-chairman of the IWC; Richard Bampfield – Master of Wine, European Champagne Ambassador 2009; and Sam Caporn – Master of wine, wine consultant, speaker, writer and IWC judge.
How to chill champagne
Once you've carefully selected your champagne, make sure to chill it to get the best out of it.
Put your champagne in the fridge for at least a couple of hours before you plan to serve it. If you’re chilling lots of bottles at once, you’ll need longer.
The classic way to chill and serve champagne is to place it in a container filled with ice and water - this works better than ice alone.
If you've forgotten to chill it at all, you can pop the bottle into the freezer for 20 minutes as a last resort. Remember to set a timer or a reminder on your phone so that you don’t actually freeze it.
Take it out 10 minutes before serving, as the taste and aroma will be stunted if the champagne is too cold.
Fancy a different type of fizz?
Prosecco is a popular alternative to champagne, but there are plenty of other sparkling wines to choose from, such as cava, crémant and franciacorta.
This year our experts popped the corks of nine bottles of sparkling wine, ranging from £8 to £16. With sparking wines costing the same (or more) than some of the cheaper champagnes here, you might be wondering why you would pick a wine when you could have champagne – but it really comes down to your taste. Our guide to the best prosecco and sparkling wine outlines the differences between them.
Each fizz was disguised before being chilled and blind taste tested by our expert panel. We uncovered three Best Buy sparkling wines that really impressed our experts. To find out which fizzes came out tops, head over to our best prosecco and sparkling wine page.
Best red wines
For our expert recommendations on the hearty reds, head over to our best winter reds page. We've included 11 bottles from leading supermarkets, all for under a tenner. And, we’ve got something for everyone – from ripe, rich, spicy reds that would pair well with roast beef to sweet, juicy reds that you could bring to a party.
How to taste and serve champagneWatch our video to find out what our experts are looking for in champagne, and get top tips for opening the bottle without wasting a drop.