The best new Champagnes for Christmas and New Year

In her round-up of the best Champagne launches from the second half of the year, Essi Avellan MW picks out friends old and new

Words by Essi Avellan MW

Champagne glass
Photo by Facundo Bustamente

The beginning of 2020 – unsurprisingly, given the mood – was slow for Champagne releases, but things moved up a gear in the summer, with a spate of launches (reviewed here). Now, as the Christmas season approaches, we are being treated to a host of exciting novelties. The most coveted of them is surely Taittinger’s Comtes de Champagne 2008, which took over 10 years to mature in the house’s UNESCO listed chalk crayères. With the unprecedented hype for the 2008 vintage, this one is likely to sell out fast. Other notable prestige cuvées are out for the holiday season too, with Veuve Clicquot offering up the best vintage yet – 2012 – of its newly recreated cuvée La Grande Dame. And we can savour the luxury of time with Charles Heidsieck’s and Henriot’s long-aged prestige bottlings from the 2006 season.

Blancs de noirs are in vogue right now

Blancs de noirs are in vogue right now, and Philipponnat has given us one of this powerful style’s most monumental wines, Les Cintres 2010, from the most central plots of its revered Clos des Goisses vineyards. Pommery’s interpretation of the style, for its new non-vintage Apanage Blanc de Noirs, is more mainstream, but hugely enjoyable in its fleshy yet fresh and delicious fruitiness.

The newly recreated La Grande Dame cuvée from Veuve Clicquot (whose vineyards and cellars are seen here) enjoyed a standout vintage in 2012

Note to Santa – this is the moment when the slowly ageing 2013s start to emerge on the markets. It’s a beautifully lean, elegant and energetic vintage for fans of a classic, coolly fruity style of Champagne, which is becoming increasingly rare in the changing climate. An underrated vintage that needs and deserves time, lovers of fine fizz would do well to stock up on them for long-term cellaring.