While we might not be completely out of the woods, the prospect of reuniting with loved ones and toasting to better times is something we can all get behind. That’s why we asked 10 wine experts to name the best bottles fit for a celebration and primed for popping this summer.
We asked wine buyers, sommeliers, bar and shop owners, cellar masters and IWSC judges to name one wine to suit the mood – as well as the warmer weather. In the list below you’ll find affordable fizz under £15, luxury bottles of Champagne, sparking rosés from around the world, and even a still orange wine that screams ‘celebration’ just as loudly.
Whether you’re hoping for a get-together with family you’ve not seen for a long stretch or a gathering with friends for a special occasion you had to delay, these recommendations are fit for the party – or even for treating that special someone at home. Regardless of the scenario, these 10 celebration wines are sure to suit some feel-good summer sipping.
10 celebration wines to pop this summer
Raventos I Blanc de Nit Rosé
- £25, Bottles ‘n’ Jars
- Bert Blaize, co-author of Which Wine When and founder of Bottles ‘n’ Jars, London
‘I’ll be opening a magnum (best for sharing) of vintage Raventos i Blanc de Nit. It’s a rosé and very refreshing, with lots of fresh summer berries but also plenty of complexity – so you won’t miss Champagne at all. It’s a special, quality bottle – Raventos work biodynamically in the vineyard and all their sparkling wines are aged for a minimum of 18 months on lees. It’s perfect for pairing with snacks – olives, nuts and anchovies – or drinking as an aperitif.’
Stephane Regnault, Mixolydien Number 29
‘The wine I would suggest for a summer celebration is a Champagne called Mixolydien number 29 by Stephane Regnault. This is a blanc de blancs, 100% Chardonnay wine with a gorgeous nose of crème brûlée, fresh mushrooms and almond. The palate is super-elegant and savoury with a chiselled acidity and saline finish. I love it for its class, energy and vibrancy. It is a real treat when enjoying life and happy shared moments.’
- £22.80, Diogenes the Dog
- Sunny Hodge, founder of Diogenes the Dog and the soon-to-open Aspen & Meursault, both in London
‘This bone-dry, biodynamic moscato from Minervino Murge in Puglia is a cracker. It’s super-aromatic; all stone fruit and fermented all the way through, so there’s no residual sugar. Two weeks on skins gives it a bright, almost-fluorescent orange colour and some very delicate tannins. A summertime smasher, for sure.’
Blanc de Millenaires, Charles Heidsieck 2006
‘My go-to for summer will be Charles Heidsieck’s Blanc de Millenaires 2006. We serve it by the glass at Medlar and I just can’t get enough of it. 2006 was overall a warm vintage – in fact, the Champagne showcases vibrant tropical-fruit notes which remind me of summer.
‘The intensity and the power of this wine makes me think about the way we should all start our life (out of lockdown) again: with intention, direction and purpose.’
Crémant D’Alsace, Dopff au Moulin, Cuvee Julien Brut NV
‘I recommend the Crémant D’Alsace made by Dopff au Moulin (Cuvée Julien, Brut NV). I’m from Alsace and miss not being able to travel to my place to see my family and friends, who are still waiting for me. Plus, bubbles are always welcome for any celebration.’
Georges Laval Garennes Extra Brut NV
- £53, Bubbleshop
- Sandia Chang, founder of Bubbleshop and co-founder and sommelier at the relaunched Kitchen Table, London
‘No celebration is complete without Champagne. This small artisanal producer celebrates the balance between man and nature, producing a mostly Pinot Meunier cuvée that bursts with vibrant citrus fireworks and spicy base tones. It is definitely a wine to make you stop and “smell the roses”.’
Jurtschitsch Stein Grüner Veltliner, Kamptal 2019
- £12.50, The Wine Society
- Freddy Bulmer, IWSC judge and buyer at The Wine Society
‘For me, Austria’s Grüner Veltliner grape is the ideal option for summer get-togethers. Examples like this are refreshing and full of flavour and are perfect whether sipped on their own or enjoyed with food. The other benefit of this grape is its ability to please both wine lovers and novices alike, thanks to its charming and accessible complexity. Austria offers incredible value, especially under £15, so I always feel like I am drinking something really special when I crack open a bottle of this.’
Dorset Crémant, Bride Valley, NV
‘I’d go for Bride Valley Crémant, which feels appropriate, with lots of us choosing to spend a holiday enjoying the UK this year. This is perfect to celebrate time with friends; being a Crémant, it’s got a beautifully delicate fizz and is packed full of vibrant green-apple flavours and soft floral notes.’
Bollinger Special Cuvée
‘At the risk of sounding cliché, you truly can’t go wrong with a top-drawer Champagne (perhaps in a magnum format?). If your special occasion is marking a particular year, even better – if you are able to dust off that vintage bottle and reflect on those timeless moments. When celebrating life’s treasured events, my glass would always be filled with Bollinger Special Cuvée. It combines elegance and sophistication while maintaining a humble appeal. Cheers!’