Champagne Picks for your Holiday Season by Gina Lyons

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Gina Lyons

The holidays are upon us and all we have left to do is pop the Champagne and say au revoir to 2020!

As far as which Champagne or Champagnes to pop open… I’ve got you covered!  There is something for everyone on my Holiday Champagne List here, and each Champagne chosen, has been a favourite cuvée I have had this year, or a producer I am loving at the moment.  The important thing is that these are all fairly easy to access, and you still have some time to grab them!  

2008 Veuve Cliquot ‘La Grand Dame’

Released in 2018, this is the easiest La Grand Dame to find right now, so you won’t be reaching too far to grab this Tête de Cuvée for the holidays.  92% Pinot Noir (a significant jump from previous years), this tribute to Madame Clicquot is nothing short of elegant and powerful.

Gina Lyons tasting note ‘There is just something about Veuve Clicquot that screams festive or holidays to me.  Delicate dried apricot, hazelnut and pastry on the nose, followed by a powerful citrus and red berry on the palate, it’s a perfect addition to your Christmas meal, and something I am sure will light up everyone’s eyes when you pull it out.’

2007 Taittinger ‘Comtes de Champagne’

Comtes de Champagne is made from Chardonnay grapes grown in the five grand cru villages of the Côte des Blancs- Avize, Chouilly, Cramant, Mesnil-sur-Oger and Oger.  Said to be “the most perfect expression of the Taittinger house style”,  the wine is elegant and fresh.  There is plenty of complexity in this bottle- lemon zest, dried fruit and lots of acidity and salinity.  

Gina Lyons tasting note ‘Having had this cuvée several times this year, and serving it to a large number of people in tastings,  I am convinced this is the perfect Champagne to toast the New Year!  Whether you are celebrating 2021 with family, friends, or just your partner…I promise you, out of all the Champagne you drink in the night, everyone will LOVE this one the most!’

2006 Piper-Heidsieck ‘Rare Millésime’

Just like the name, Rare has only been released six times since its birth in 1976.  This cuvée’s unique vivacity comes from the fact that it is made up of 70% Chardonnay from the Montagne de Reims rather than the Côte des Blancs, and 30% Pinot Noir.  The undeniable smokey introduction on the nose, and sunny gold and creaminess on the palate, finished with some sprinkles of ginger, makes this cuvée the sexiest Champagne I drank this year. 

Gina Lyons tasting note ‘Really seductive, exotic and a perfect bottle to toast in the New Year with the one you love.’

2010 Larmandier-Bernier ‘Vielle Vigne du Levant’

Larmandier-Bernier is becoming a real favourite of mine, and I seem to be more and more excited as I try each cuvée.  They spark interest with Champagne enthusiasts, and their Vielle Vigne du Levant is real conversation starter.  From the oldest estate grand cru vineyards in the village of Cramant, the cuvée is made from vines that range from 50-70 years of age, and fermented in a combination of 60% used barriques and 40% used foudres.

Gina Lyons tasting note ‘This Blanc de Blancs is full of complexity and rich concentrated fruit.  Apricots, honey, walnut and flowers all make for a fuller mouthfeel and a really expressive, stunning champagne.’

Bring this one out on Christmas Day, as you will be delighted to drink this on its own as an aperitif, or paired with your Christmas dinner.

2013 Marguet ‘Ambonnay’

Sophisticated, serious, powerful, and delicious!  Marguet has made my holiday list two years in a row.  Last year, I suggested Marguet’s collaboration Sapience, and this year, the Ambonnay 2013.  Benoit Marguet is considered one of the most important natural wine producers in Champagne, and biodynamics really make an impact in his wines. 

Gina Lyons tasting note ‘This one in particular expresses the character of the terroir of Ambonnay – from the sites of Lieux-dits Les Crayères, Les Bermonts, Le Parc, and Les Saints Rémys.  Gorgeous brioche, lemon and blossom, and a distinctly salty and very ripe apples and peaches on the palate.’  

This Champagne evolves, so make sure to savour it!  Bring it out on New Years during cocktail hour so you have some time to really enjoy it.

2016 Chartogne-Taillet ‘Heurtebise’

I can’t get enough of Chartogne-Taillet this year.  With every cuvée I try, I seem to always suggest it to someone looking for a spectacular Champagne.  Located in the village of Merfy, Chartogne-Taillet produces mostly single-parcel wines to fully celebrate the uniqueness of the soil.  

Gina Lyons tasting note ‘The Heurtebise parcel consists of 35-year-old vines on calcareous sandy soils.  This gives the champagne an unforgettably clean minerality, in balance with vibrant citrus, orchard fruit, hazelnut and delicate brioche.’ 

This Blanc de Blancs most definitely should be gifted to the host or chef of your holiday meal, and if that is you, then pull it out for dinner and pour yourself the whole bottle!


[read Champagne Club tasting notes & scores here]

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