Mention the word ‘Champagne’ and you’re immediately transported to a world of glamour, style and sophistication. Few wine regions can compete with its association with luxury, and the best Champagne producers are household names: Krug, Taittinger, Pol Roger… the list is endless.
But there’s much more to this French sparkling wine than modern-day pizzazz – it has an enviable history that dates back to the 17th century (and even earlier for the still wines of the region). The popular tale that French monk Dom Pérignon invented Champagne has been widely discredited – in fact, many believe that sparkling wine was invented in England – but what started out as a happy accident with wines fermenting and developing bubbles over time is now a billion-pound industry, with a huge range of styles and flavours from the big houses.
Some Champagne producers have taken to creating cuvées that are served on the rocks, pulling in a younger demographic, while Zero Dosage Champagnes (with very little, if any, sugar added) are still popular with those who enjoy wine but not the calories that go with it.
The top scoring Champagne at this year’s IWSC was from producer Piper-Heidsieck, with its Brut 2014 (in magnum) scoring an impressive 95/100 for its ‘complex toasted hazelnut notes’ and ‘finish of confected, toasted biscuit’. Golds were also awarded to Besserat de Bellefon, Blanc de Noirs Grand Cru Brut NV and Rare Champagne, Brut 2008, among others.
Each Champagne in this year’s competition was tasted blind by an expert panel, led by Champagne specialist Essi Avellan MW, and including wine writer and consultant Alistair Cooper MW and buyer for Enotria&Coe Richard Lewis.
Champagne offers a magical drinking experience, and we’re delighted to be able to share some highly rated examples of the drink with you. Here are the top-performing Champagnes from the IWSC 2022.
How do we judge these wines?
We run a tightly structured, rigorous wine tasting process. That means that each wine sample is pre-poured into numbered glasses and assessed blindly by the judges. Most importantly, our IWSC wine judges are experts in their field, who work across all sectors of the wine industry. For evidence, see our full list of judges.
How do we score these wines?
Only the best wines sampled receive a Gold or Silver award. For example, to win Gold, wines have to score between 95 and 100 points. Meanwhile, Silver wines range from 90 to 94 points. Click here to read more on our scoring system.
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