Lesser known players made their mark in the Champagne $100 & under tasting, writes RALPH KYTE-POWELL.
In the champagne region there is an organisation called the Club des Grandes Marques, a grouping of the top 24 Champagne houses. Many are household names across the world, some less well-known, but they all have a reputation for quality. Of these Grandes Marque houses, 10 had wines entered in this Cuisine tasting of Champagne $100 & under. Given their reputations, we might have expected them to dominate the awards. While this was the case in the other tasting of Champagne over $100, where eight of the Top 10 were indeed Grande Marques, under $100 the story was totally different – only three of the Top 10 came from the Club. New labels, lesser-known houses, cooperatives and others who sit outside the exclusive club were in the majority among the award winners. This indicates that the Champagne industry is a competitive place these days, and this means good things for consumers. Wine quality, driven by such competition, is steadily improving, and prices, especially from the lesser labels, can be very reasonable. Steve Voysey was upbeat about the story these Champagnes told. “Some brands were new to me in the under $100 category,” he said. “But their success just shows the quality and consistency of the Champagne region.”
A new Champagne for the judging panel and a very impressive one. Collet opens with an elegant nose centred on lemon, lime, peach syrup and beautifully subtle yeasty complexity. It has superb seamless texture, with a great combination of drinkability and elaborate flavours woven through a long fine finish.
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