For those who appreciate the subtle differences between the best French champagnes, it could be difficult to choose one brand from another. But there is always one that seems more attractive than the rest. We recommend three splendid champagnes that could become your next favorites. The following cuvée are the best produced by each firm: Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Grand Siècle, Billecart-Salmon Grande Cuvée Vintage, and Krug Grande Cuvée Brut.
Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Grand Siècle
Bernard de Nonancourt, who led Laurent-Perrier for more than half a century, was a hero of the French Resistance against the Nazi occupation. An innovative and talented entrepreneur, he became known as “Grand Bernard.” In the 1950s, he dreamed of creating a prestige cuvée that would significantly differ from those produced by other large wineries of the Champagne region in France. The Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Grand Siècle is made with a mixture of three great vintages from vineyards strictly qualified as Grand Cru. It features 55 percent chardonnay and 45 percent pinot noir grapes. Due to its perfect balance of strength and finesse, aromatic intensity and freshness, it is ideal when accompanied by the best Iranian caviar or a simple Scottish salmon canapé.
Billecart-Salmon Grande Cuvée Vintage
Located in the center of the Champagne region, in the charming village of Mareuil-sur-Ay, is the Billecart-Salmon winery, owned by the same family for almost 200 years after the marriage of Nicolas François Billecart and Elisabeth Salmon in 1818. Made exclusively with Chardonnay grapes, the Billecart-Salmon Grande Cuvée Vintage is considered one of the best Blanc de Blancs in the world. It was born from a selection of Grand Cru vineyards —located in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger and Chouilly in the northeast of France— that give it the structure, longevity and extraordinary finesse that make it a bubbly unlike any other. On the palate, it reveals mineral notes, with hints of honey and hazelnut. It is the perfect champagne to enjoy with sushi or cold seafood salads, nuts, and dried fruits.
Krug Grande Cuvée Brut
Founded by the visionary Joseph Krug in 1843 in the town of Reims, Krug is one of the most famous champagne brands. The Krug Grande Cuvée Brut is the epitome of Krug’s philosophy and savoir-faire. It is a mixture of about 120 wines from ten or more different crops, some of which have been aged for over 15 years. The combination of several Krug Grande Cuvée crops results in unique flavors and aromas and absolute elegance, something impossible to achieve with wines from a single year. Its exceptional finesse is the outcome of a maturation period of at least six years in the cellars. More than twenty years are needed to produce each bottle of Krug Grande Cuvée. This champagne is the perfect accompaniment for many culinary combinations: from the simplest—such as an aged Parmesan cheese—to the more elaborate, like a sophisticated turbot flavored with thin shavings of Piedmont white truffles. ■