The 10 best champagnes under £50

Finding the right bottle can be an interesting — and slightly blurry — journey. Luckily our friends at Berry Bros. & Rudd are here to help...

“Too much of anything is bad, but too much champagne is just right.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

Once reserved for important celebrations and special occasions, we happily seem to need no excuse to pop a champagne cork nowadays.

However, the range of choice within champagne can be a little overwhelming, and a minefield for the uninitiated. Prices range from the inexpensive to the (quite frankly) insane, with an equally broad variation in quality depending on the grape and harvest.

Finding the right tipple for you can be an interesting — and slightly blurry — journey into the bubbles, and you have to do a bit of weeding to make the garden look good. But luckily, our friends at Berry Bros. & Rudd (who have also given us the run-down on how to go about investing in wine) are here to give you a nudge in the right direction, with a selection of the best 10 champagnes that can be purchased, and enjoyed, for less than £50…

Berry Bros. & Rudd Champagne by Mailly, Grand Cru

The 10 best champagnes under £50

Sourced from the prestigious Grand Cru village of Mailly, located at the heart of the Montagne de Reims, and benefiting from over three years’ ageing, this non-vintage United Kingdom Cuvée is a classic blend of 75 percent Pinot Noir and 25 percent Chardonnay.

All the hallmarks of Grand Cru are here, with brioche and flowers on the nose and an elegant palate which marries notes of lemon grass, gingerbread and honeysuckle. The wine effortlessly combines structure and finesse and reverberates with a really authoritative Grand Cru crescendo on the finish.

The 10 best champagnes under £50

Berry Bros. & Rudd Champagne by Mailly, Grand Cru

£28.50

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Champagne Billecart-Salmon, Brut Réserve

The 10 best champagnes under £50

Most of Billecart-Salmon’s fruit comes from a small vineyard holding, though this is supplemented with grapes bought in from the Marne Valley and the Montagne de Reims. Meticulous production techniques, from the use of their own cultured yeast to its long, slow, cool fermentation, ensure that the family has 100 percent control of production.

This is without doubt one of the finest, yet least known, Grande Marque Champagnes, made with mainly Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. This Champagne is lively, elegantly textured and fresh, with a very long finish.

The 10 best champagnes under £50

Champagne Billecart-Salmon, Brut Réserve

£39.95

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Champagne Louis Roederer, Brut Premier

The 10 best champagnes under £50

This wine is without doubt one of the very top non-vintage Champagnes. Its elegant complexities come from the barrel-ageing of a high proportion of the blend, together with at least four years’ maturation in bottle before disgorging.

The quintessence of the House style, Brut Premier offers quality and glamour as well as excellent value. A structured, elegant wine, it is deliciously creamy with almond and toast characteristics alongside the complexity and roundness that are the hallmarks of this House.

The 10 best champagnes under £50

Champagne Louis Roederer, Brut Premier

£42

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Champagne Bollinger, Special Cuvée, Brut

The 10 best champagnes under £50

Bollinger was established in 1829 by Jacques Bollinger and Paul Renaudin. The House has a reputation for producing muscular Champagnes with body, depth and power; these are classic, complex, Pinot-Noir dominated Champagnes with the ability to age gracefully for many years.

A blend par excellence; Special Cuvée is the purest expression of Bollinger’s house style. Its biscuity nose is endowed with hints of white fruit and the rich, full-bodied palate is perfectly balanced by fresh acidity and a soft, delicate mousse. A stylish Champagne that is ideal to drink now or in the next two or three years.

The 10 best champagnes under £50

Champagne Bollinger, Special Cuvée, Brut

£45

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Berry Bros. & Rudd Blanc de Blancs, Mesnil

The 10 best champagnes under £50

Le Mesnil produces Champagnes that are smooth and rich with fine acidity at the basic level; while the vintage wines offer a significant step up, with crisper, richer and fuller fruit that will develop a toasty finesse.

Le Mesnil is making stunning Grand Cru Champagnes from Chardonnay. With an unrivalled provenance and over two years’ bottle-ageing, Berry Bros.’ Blanc de Blancs has a generous floral nose, a deliciously refreshing, yet rich palate and a clean, satisfying finish. The perfect apéritif for festivities, this Champagne is an absolute winner every time.

The 10 best champagnes under £50

Berry Bros. & Rudd Blanc de Blancs, Mesnil

£33

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Champagne Mailly, Blanc de Pinot Noir, Composition Parcellaire, Brut

The 10 best champagnes under £50

Mailly is one of the great Grand Cru villages in the Montagne de Reims. With a membership of 70 growers, the village’s eponymous co-operative is one of the most dynamic in the region. With a gifted winemaker in Hervé Dantan, Mailly is able to exploit the full potential of these top-graded vines.

The most celebrated co-operative in Champagne by some distance. Mailly is ideally suited to black grapes, its extended ripening period and the ensuing complexity of flavour perfectly captured here. Rich, creamy and food friendly, this is one of the best Blanc de Noirs on the market.

The 10 best champagnes under £50

Champagne Mailly, Blanc de Pinot Noir, Composition Parcellaire, Brut

£45

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Moët et Chandon Brut Impérial Rosé

The 10 best champagnes under £50

Seductive, forward and fruity, the Imperial Rosé is a great ambassador for this famous name.  Pinots Noir and Meunier dominate the blend, with 10 % of the former added as red wine, and then 10% Chardonnay completing the ensemble and adding floral elegance and hints of white peach on the palate. 30% of Reserve Wine lends depth and complexity, and a relatively modest 9 g/l dosage complements the exuberant red fruit personality with great panache.

The 10 best champagnes under £50

Moët et Chandon Brut Impérial Rosé

£42

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Bollinger Rosé

The 10 best champagnes under £50

Bollinger is famed for its rich and savoury style of wines, dominated by Pinot Noir and underwritten by oak fermentation and extensive lees maturation. It seemed only a matter of time before the release of a non-vintage rosé and this wine has been well worth the wait.

Dry, powerful and very serious indeed, this highly polished rosé combines notes of plum, patisserie, cinnamon and spice. With structure and weight and harmony of vibrant flavours right across the palate, this is a delicious accompaniment that can match a variety of dishes.

Champagne Pierre Peters, Extra Brut

The 10 best champagnes under £50

The style of Le Mesnil Champagnes focuses on mineral power and capacity to age. 

From four parcels in four villages, Pierre Peters’ Extra Brut is far from foursquare, stretching its modest two grams of residual sugar into a symphony of stone fruit and flowers. The wine is incredibly complex; the putative austerity of an Extra Brut all but forgotten in this maze of flavours, where one is just as likely to fall upon liquorice and cinnamon as the more usual descriptors of plums and other orchard fruit.

The 10 best champagnes under £50

Champagne Pierre Peters, Extra Brut

£42

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Further Reading