What better way to cap off the end of a year (or just a particularly rough week) than with a special-occasion Champagne? Sure, you could be reasonable and opt for some stellar options under $100, but there’s no shame in splurging on bubbles.
These high-flyers represent some of the top Champagnes on the market and range from just over $200 all the way up to $1,500. With two 100-point wines on the list and one bottle that’s only available in magnums, this roster will certainly fuel one of the most extravagant parties of the new decade.
Billecart-Salmon 2002 Le Clos Saint-Hilaire Brut (Champagne); $500, 100 points. From just over two acres of old vines in the producer’s home village of Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, this pure Pinot Noir Champagne is magnificent. A toasty flavor is balanced by concentrated white fruits, with a touch of tannin adding texture. It’s an unforgettable wine. Enjoy in the near term. Billecart Salmon USA. Editors’ Choice. –Roger Voss
Louis Roederer 1996 Cristal Vinothèque Brut (Champagne); $1,100, 100 points. A re-release from one of the legendary vintages of the last 30 years, this Champagne still shows some of the intense acidity that marked that year. It has gained maturity, but it’s an ageless, magnificent wine. Although it is ready to drink, it will hold well through 2029. Maisons Marques & Domaines USA. Cellar Selection. –R.V.
Laurent-Perrier NV Grand Siècle Itération 17 Brut (Champagne); $1,500/1.5 L, 99 points. This is a blend of wines from 1995, 1993 and 1990. That has given it a golden glow of toastiness, maturity and wisdom. Even now, there is some freshness and plenty of acidity to give the wine a lift. It is a great Champagne, produced in tiny quantities and only in magnum. Drink now. Laurent-Perrier US. –R.V.
Bollinger 2004 R.D. Extra Brut (Champagne); $300, 98 points. The wine’s name stands for recently disgorged and this vintage Champagne was taken off its in 2018. That gave many years for it to develop its depth of flavor, richness and beautifully memorable toasty flavors. Drink through 2028. Vintus LLC. Cellar Selection. –R.V.
Taittinger 2007 Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut (Champagne); $216, 97 points. Always one of the great Champagnes, this comes from a year that is generally regarded as good but not great. And yet, with this Champagne is magnificent. The wine has some good bottle age, hinting at toast while also keeping the tight, mineral edge of a great wine from the Côte des Blancs. Drink from 2020. Kobrand. Cellar Selection. –R.V.
Gosset 2007 Celebris Extra Brut (Champagne); $205, 95 points. A blend mainly of Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs and Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims, Gosset’s deluxe cuvée has been well aged. With its edge of toastiness and the still-vibrant citrus and white fruits, the wine is at a beautiful, poised moment, though it will continue to age even further. Wilson Daniels Ltd. Cellar Selection. –R.V.
Perrier Jouët 2010 Belle Epoque Rosé Brut (Champagne); $300, 94 points. In its Belle Époque flower bottle, this is a very recognizable Champagne. The wine itself is beautifully balanced, hinting at red fruits and showing poised acidity. Still young and full of great fruit it will certainly age well. Drink ideally from 2021. Pernod Ricard. –R.V.
Piper-Heidsieck 2008 Rare Rosé Millésime Brut (Champagne); $475, 94 points. This intense wine is chock full of red-fruit flavors and beautiful acidity. Still young it has structure as well as swathes of fruit. The concentration of flavors and ability to age further make it a great wine. Drink it ideally from 2022. Terlato Wines International. –R.V.
Ruinart 2007 Dom Ruinart Rosé Brut (Champagne); $365, 94 points. While the aroma suggests this is an old wine, the palate discloses a very good balance between fruit and toasty maturity. It is a great Champagne, less of a rosé now and more of a rich, intense wine. Drink now while that attractive balance is there. Moët Hennessy USA. –R.V.
Besserat de Bellefon NV BB 1843 Cuvée Brut (Champagne); $300, 93 points. This limited-edition wine is a blend of grand cru Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Aged for 10 years in bottle, it is a steely, structured wine that brings sophistication to the white fruits and lively acidity. Drink now. Winesellers, Ltd. –R.V.