WineHandpicked by IWSC

14 award-winning Champagnes to try

Cheers! Here's a list of 14 top Champagnes to try, with each of these French sparklers winning an IWSC 2023 medal

Words by IWSC Judges

champagne glasses with view of french vineyards
Handpicked by IWSC

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 are experimenting with ageing wine underwater, adding a new level of prestige to their cuvées, 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.

wine cellar

The top-scoring Champagne at this year’s IWSC was from producer De Saint-Gall, with its Orpale Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut 2008 scoring an impressive 97/100 for its aromas of ‘biscuit, buttered toast dripping with honey, chocolate cream and apple brioche’ and its ‘long saline finish’. Golds were also awarded to Rare Champagne, Moet & Chandon for its 1999 Grand Vintage and Besserat de Bellefon, 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 Champagne writer and Club Oenologique contributor Yuri Shima and buyer for the Wine Society Freddy Bulmer.

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 2023.

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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