The medallists from The Champagne Masters 2020

We bring you the full list of medallists from this year’s Champagne Masters, one of the biggest blind tastings of this famous fizz, employing Masters of Wine only.

Patrick Schmitt MW at The Champagne Masters 2020

Having previously written about some of the highlights from the 2020 Champagne Masters, we are now revealing all the medal-winners from the tasting, which took in every major style of Champagne, and many of the region’s most famous names.

Notable among this year’s results was the strong performance by the region’s grower-cooperative brands, in particular Castelnau and Palmer, along with Collet and Nicolas Feuillatte, which together proved that there is both quality and value to be had with these less illustrious labels.

However, the star Champagne producer this year was grande marque Piper-Heidsieck, which has shown itself brilliant at crafting both very dry and sweet Champagnes, along with entry-level Brut NVs, great-value vintage, and a range-topping prestige cuvée, with its Rare 2006 the highest overall scorer of the 2020 tasting – and its Rare Rosé 2008 not far behind.

Coming close to Piper in terms of the tally of top medals was Henriot, a house that’s producing extremely fine Champagne at all levels, in particular rosé, and one that, in my view, deserves wider recognition.

Among the other notable names from this year’s tasting was Charles Heidsieck, as well as Pommery and Moët & Chandon, while we were also impressed by the quality of cuvées from a relative newcomer to the Champagne scene, the house of Brimoncourt.

Please see below for the results in full and more information on The Champagne Masters, including how to enter.

For a full report on the tasting and an in-depth review of the trends taking hold in Champagne right now, see this year’s Champagne Report by the drinks business.

Non-Vintage

Company Wine Name Dosage Medal
£10-£15
Aldi Stores UK Veuve Monsigny Brut Brut Bronze
£15-£20
Champagne Vollereaux Brut Réserve Brut Bronze
£20-£30
Champagne Castelnau Brut Réserve Brut Gold
Champagne Beaumont des Crayères Grande Réserve Brut Silver
Champagne Piper-Heidsieck Brut Brut Silver
Champagne Cuillier Perpétuel Brut Bronze
Champagne Vollereaux Célébration Brut Premier Cru Brut Bronze
Champagne Fallet Dart Heres Brut Bronze
£30-£50
Champagne Palmer & Co Brut Réserve Brut Gold
Vranken-Pommery Monopole Pommery Apanage Brut Brut Gold
Champagne Piper-Heidsieck Cuvée Brut Brut Gold
Champagne Henriot Brut Souverain Brut Gold
Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial NV Brut Gold
Champagne Piper-Heidsieck Cuvée Sublime Demi-sec Gold
Champagne Piper-Heidsieck Essentiel Extra-brut Silver
Vranken-Pommery Monopole Pommery Brut Royal Brut Silver
Champagne Brimoncourt Brut Régence Brut Silver
Champagne Delamotte Brut NV Brut Silver
Champagne Vincent d’Astrée Brut Premier Cru Brut Silver
Champagne Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut Brut Silver
G.H. Mumm Grand Cordon Brut Silver
G.H. Mumm RSRV 4.5 Brut Silver
Frerejean Frères Brut NV Premier Cru Brut Silver
Champagne Taittinger Brut Reserve NV Brut Silver
Laurent-Perrier La Cuvée Brut NV Brut Silver
Champagne Lanson Le Black Label Brut Silver
Champagne Collet Brut Art Déco Premier Cru Brut Bronze
Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Réserve Exclusive Brut Bronze
Champagne Deutz Deutz Brut Classic Brut Bronze
Champagne Lanson Le White Label Sec Sec Bronze
£50+
Champagne Brimoncourt Extra Brut Grand Cru Extra-brut Gold
Charles Heidsieck Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve Brut Silver

Vintage

Company Wine Name Dosage Medal
£20-£30
Champagne Vollereaux Cuvée Marguerite 2011 Brut Silver
£30-£50
Champagne Collet Millésime 2008 Brut Silver
G.H. Mumm Millesime 2013 Brut Silver
£50+
Champagne Piper-Heidsieck Vintage 2012 Brut Master
Champagne Palmer & Co Vintage 2012 Brut Gold
Charles Heidsieck Vintage Brut 2012 Brut Gold
Champagne Castelnau Blanc de Blancs 2006 Brut Silver
Champagne Delamotte Blanc de Blancs 2012 Brut Silver
Vranken-Pommery Monopole Pommery Grand Cru 2008 Brut Silver
Champagne Henriot Brut Millésimé 2008 Brut Silver
Champagne Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Brut 2012 Brut Silver
Champagne Lanson Le Vintage 2009 Brut Silver

Prestige Cuvée

Company Wine Name Dosage Medal
£30-£50
Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Terroir Premier Cru NV Brut Silver
Champagne Cuillier Grande Réserve NV Extra Brut Bronze
£50+
Champagne Piper-Heidsieck Rare Millésime 2006 Brut Master
Champagne Henriot Cuvée Hemera 2006 Extra Brut Master
Champagne Deutz Amour de Deutz 2010 Brut Gold
Centre Vinicole – Champagne
Nicolas Feuillatte
Palmes d’Or Brut Vintage 2008 Brut Gold
G.H. Mumm RSRV Lalou 2006 Brut Gold
Champagne Lanson Lanson Noble Cuvée 2002 Brut Gold
Champagne Comtes de Dampierre Family Reserve Blanc de Blancs
Grand Cru 2012
Brut Gold
Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Palmes D’Or Rosé Vintage 2008 Brut Gold
Champagne Deutz William Deutz 2009 Brut Silver
Champagne Fallet Dart Cuvée Quercus NV Extra Brut Silver
Champagne Fallet Dart Cuvée Eocene NV Extra Brut Silver
Champagne Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Blanc de Blancs 2006 Brut Silver
Vranken-Pommery Monopole Pommery Cuvée Louise 2004 Brut Silver

Blanc de Blancs

Company Wine Name Dosage Medal
£30-£50
G.H. Mumm RSRV Blanc de Blancs 2014 Brut Master
Champagne Collet Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru NV Brut Gold
Vranken-Pommery Monopole Pommery Blanc de Blancs NV Brut Silver
Champagne Delamotte Blanc de Blancs NV Brut Silver
Champagne Beaumont des Crayères Grand Chardonnay NV Brut Silver
Champagne Vincent d’Astrée Brut Millésime Premier Cru 2011 Brut Silver
£50+
Champagne Henriot Blanc de Blancs NV Brut Gold
Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millénaires 2006 Brut Gold
Champagne Piper-Heidsieck Essentiel Blanc de Blancs NV Extra Brut Silver
Champagne Palmer & Co Blanc de Blancs NV Brut Silver
Champagne Perrier-Jouët Blanc de Blancs NV Brut Silver
Champagne J. de Telmont Blanc de Blancs
Grand Couronnement 2006
Brut Silver
Champagne Frerejean Frères VV26 NV Grand Cru Brut Bronze

Blanc de Noirs

Company Wine Name Dosage Medal
£30-£50
Champagne Beaumont des Crayères Grand Meunier NV Extra Brut Silver
G.H. Mumm RSRV Blanc de Noirs 2012 Brut Silver

Rosé

Company Wine Name Dosage Medal
£30-£50
Champagne Brimoncourt Brut Rosé Brut Gold
G.H. Mumm RSRV Rosé Foujita Brut Gold
Champagne Collet Brut Rosé Brut Silver
Champagne Collet Rosé Dry Collection Privée Sec Silver
Champagne Castelnau Rosé NV Brut Silver
Vranken-Pommery Monopole Pommery Brut Rosé Royal Brut Silver
Champagne Fallet Dart Rosé Anthocyane Brut Silver
G.H. Mumm Grand Cordon Rosé Brut Silver
Champagne Lanson Le Rosé Brut Silver
Champagne Beaumont des Crayères Grand Rosé Brut Bronze
Champagne Vincent d’Astrée Brut Rosé Premier Cru Brut Bronze
Champagne Palmer & Co Rosé Solera Brut Bronze
£50+
Rare Champagne Rare Rosé Millésime 2008 Brut Master
Charles Heidsieck Rosé Réserve Brut Master
Champagne Henriot Rosé Millésime 2012 Brut Gold
Champagne Henriot Brut Rosé Sec Silver
Champagne Perrier-Jouët Blason Rosé Brut Silver
Champagne Deutz Deutz Brut Rosé Brut Silver

ABOUT THE COMPETITION

The judges (left to right): Simon Field MW, Michelle Cherutti-Kowal MW and Patrick Schmitt MW

The Champagne Masters is a competition created and run by the drinks business, and is an extension of its successful Masters series for grape varieties, such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, as well as regions like Rioja and Tuscany. The competition is exclusively for Champagne, and the entries were judged using Schott Zwiesel Cru Classic glasses supplied by Wine Sorted. The top wines were awarded Gold, Silver or Bronze medals according to their result, and those expressions that stood out as being outstanding received the ultimate accolade – the title of Champagne Master.

The Champagnes were judged on 4-5 September by Patrick Schmitt MW, Michelle Cherutti-Kowal MW and Simon Field MW.

Please visit The Global Masters website for more information, or, to enter future competitions – giving you the chance to feature online and in print – please call +44 (0) 20 7803 2420 or email Sophie Raichura at: sophie@thedrinksbusiness.com

Read more 

21 CHAMPAGNES FOR ALL BUDGETS, TASTES AND OCCASIONS

THIS IS OUR BEST CHAMPAGNE OF 2020

THIS YEAR’S BEST CHAMPAGNE FOR UNDER £30 REVEALED

Chardonnay Masters 2017: the results in full

Where once the choice for Chardonnay drinkers was either a big, buttery, oaky expression or, in response, an austere, lighter version, now producers have found an appealing middle ground, as Patrick Schmitt MW and fellow judges discover.

The wines, which were all 100% Chardonnay, were judged by a cherry-picked group of Masters of Wine and sommeliers on 12 October at Villandry in Piccadilly in London

No single variety of wine has suffered more abuse than Chardonnay. As those of you in the trade know well, the most overt sign of this came with the ‘Anything But Chardonnay’ movement of the last decade – shortened to ABC – which emerged as a response to buttery, oaky, rather sickly styles of wine that had appeared on the market from the late 1990s onwards, when heavy-handed cellar techniques were used on lightweight grapes. Unfortunately, it wrongly tarred all Chardonnays with the same brush. But the ABC sentiment was to some extent justified; it was a reaction to something real.

As a result, combatting such an image issue took drastic, tangible measures. It required the emergence of ‘skinny’ Chardonnay: a style of wine created so lean that the trade and consumers couldn’t help but notice. It was proof that Chardonnay’s stylistic pendulum had well and truly swung to another extreme. And, for this reason, initially, it was welcome. But it wasn’t the long-term solution for a grape that had created a mass following for its richness. Should one crave a fresh, lightweight drink, one wouldn’t ask for a Chardonnay. So, while the lean Chardonnay showed that winemakers could produce something delicate from this grape, it was, at the same time, disappointing those who loved Chardonnay for its generosity; that crowd-pleasing combination of ripe yellow fruit and notes of buttered toast.

About the competition

In a crowded wine competition arena, The Drinks Business Global Chardonnay Masters stands out for its assessment of wines purely by grape variety rather than by region. Divided only by price bracket and, for ease of judging, whether the style was oaked or unoaked, the blind-tasting format allowed wines to be assessed without prejudice about their country of origin. The best wines were awarded medals which ranged from Bronze through to Gold, as well as Master, the ultimate accolade, given only to exceptional wines in the tasting. The wines, which were all 100% Chardonnay, were judged by a cherry-picked group of Masters of Wine and sommeliers on 12 October at Villandry in Piccadilly in London. This report only features the medal-winners.

Moving forward to today, and following another extremely comprehensive Chardonnay sampling through our Global Masters programme, it is apparent that an appealing, balanced middleground has now been struck. One can still find the rich, oaky, Chardonnay caricatures, and the more feathery, austere examples too, but the extremes are less extreme. The variation now comes with price point – so, as one moves up the quality ladder, you can literally buy more fruit, oak, and layers of flavour, for the most part, in harmony. What’s important is that, in general terms, the Chardonnay on the market at the moment is better to drink than it has ever been before. And, with so many sources, there’s a lot to excite the adventurous drinker.

All this means that, at present, any wine lover who is tired of Chardonnay, to paraphrase Samuel Johnson, is tired of life. With all that said, before looking closely at the high points from this year’s tasting, there is still controversy in the handling of Chardonnay by winemakers. In the vineyard, lower yields, and attempts to pick neither under- nor over-ripe may be producing musts with the potential for greatness, but management during and after fermentation is bringing a particular and divisive character to the resulting wines – and this results from differing levels of hydrogen sulphide (H2S). At low levels, this compound can add a complexing whiff of smoke, reminiscent of a freshly struck match.

At higher concentrations, it can be stinky, like rotten eggs. Skilled winemakers can control the influence, mainly through lees management, and will allow the almost rampant production of the compound in some barrels, before blending these into the wine to a bring about a desired level of sulphide-sourced characters. Where they have been apparent, but not unpleasant, sulphidic aromas have been a shortcut to success in wine competitions. However, our judges are more sceptical of heaping high scores on such artefact.

As a result, while the top medallists in the Chardonnay Masters may display an attractive sulphidic note, it is in combination with other flavours, primarily the character of the grapes, enhanced by the addition of aromas created by malolactic fermentation and barrel-ageing. In other words, our judges aren’t swayed by the instant aromatic smoky hit from sulphides, but are happy to reward this trait in well-made Chardonnay, as long as it is in harmony with other elements in the wine. On that note, it is important to stress that texture too is vital for great Chardonnay, and the judges were looking for a wine not just with flavour complexity, but a certain weight in the mouth from ripe fruit (not sugar or elevated alcohol). Not only that, but the oleaginous had to be balanced by a brightness on the finish – all wines must deliver refreshment, however weighty.

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