The bubbly types – Jancis Robinson’s top recommendations

by Patrick Sandeman

BUBBLY TREATS for the festive season.

Jancis Robinson recommended 25 ‘bubblys’ in the first of her ‘Top 100 festive wines’ series, in Saturday’s FT Weekend Magazine.

Many of them were highlighted as stocked by Lea & Sandeman (indeed some are direct imports of ours), and here is that selection together with her tasting notes. Jancis quoted only the single bottle prices in her piece, but we also show the case* prices.

JEAN-LOUIS DENOIS Méthode Traditionelle Chardonnay-Pinot Noir Brut £13.95 bottle.  £12.95 by the case.
Jean-Louis Denois is also from Limoux, and highly skilled at making great-value, characterful fizz. Just a little fruitier, more opulent and less obviously lees-aged than the best champagnes but infinitely better than cheap champagne. His delicate Classique Brut NV is also excellent.

BENEDICK Grande Réserve Brut £19.95 bottle. £18.95 by the case.
Savoury nose suggests bone-dry ine. Mouth-filling fizz. Perfectly respectable and quite an impact on the palate. Quite long for the price.

BARNAUT Blanc de Noirs Grand Cru NV £24.95 bottle. £22.50 by the case.
Much more refined than the Aube Blanc de Noirs with which the UK (mass) market is flooded. Very appetising and great value.

LAURENT PERRIER NV £28.50 bottle. £24.50 by the case.
At the special price this may be the best value grande-marque champagne on the UK market. The current cuvée is particularly fresh and zesty. Racy and well-balanced.

LARMANDIER BERNIER Extra Brut Blanc de Blacns Non Dosé, Premier Cru NV £31.95 bottle. £29.95 by the case.
This grower does not put a foot wrong. This is their most delicate wine, balanced on a tightrope admittedly but with no sign of any wobble. Lovely. But I also admire their slightly more rustic Tradition Extra Brut Premier Cru NV (£28.50 by the case) and their very dry and demanding Terre de Vertus Blancs de Blancs Non Dosé Premier Cru NV (£34.50 by the case).

EGLY-OURIET Tradition Grand Cru NV £42.50 bottle. £35.00 by the case.
Long-aged ‘Natural’ apple peel aromas. Very pure and unadorned. All top Montagne de Reims villages. Extreme champagne with a very dry finish. Lots of potential.

GOSSET Grande Réserve NV £35.95 bottle. £37.95 by the case.
Beautifully balanced blend based on 2005. I preferred it to Gosset’s current vintage champagne. Very nervy and muscular. Not too sweet, not too tart.

POL ROGER 2000 £44.95 bottle. £38.95 by the case.
Great energy on the nose, still very youthful with lots of potential. Explosive, and drier than some Pol blends.

BOLLINGER La Grande Année 2002 £74.95 bottle. £69.95 by the case.
Good old fashioned Bollinger pioneered giving useful information on the back label. This wine, made from the produce of 16 Premier, and, especially, Grand Cru villages is intense and savoury.

DOM PERIGNON 2002 £119.95 bottle. £109.95 by the case (limited)
I can’t remember a vintage of this famous wine that showed better on release. Sumptuous. (Lea & Sandeman also have a limited supply in very smart Dom Perignon gift packs with two flutes at only a small premium).

CRISTAL Louis Roederer 2004 £161.95 bottle. £151.50 by the case.
Intellectual and dense, but playful and dancing too. You can enjoy this already, although it has potential. Grows on the finish. Very luxurious.

*Case prices apply to all web orders for a total 12 bottles or more, and which can be mixed across champagnes and other wines.

*Champagne special offer prices also apply in store for a minimum order of only 6 bottles of champagne, when collected from the store.

We now offer FREE DELIVERY on all orders over £100* (see our terms and conditions)

Last orders for guaranteed nationwide Christmas delivery – Sunday 18th December (although we will do our very best to deliver orders received after this date, especially in the Greater London area).