It’s ‘Absolutely Champers’ this New Year

champagne splash

With the boggling amount of choice now on offer when it comes to selecting fizz – from Prosecco, Cava, Crémant to English Sparkling wine – surprisingly for some, it’s easy to forget the much-adored Champagne region.

Watching BBC Two’s ‘Absolutely Champers’, where Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders (the actors behind the Absolutely Fabulous characters) visit the Champagne region to find out how their favourite tipple was made, reminded me of the mastery involved in its production, not to mention the magical power it has to unite people in celebration.

Every vintage ‘bottles up’ the essence of the year in which it was produced – it’s unique taste, nuances of weather, topography and region. Its delicious nature is then blended to perfection by the Chef de Cave, so that we can spend a savouring moment to celebrate, or simply to spruce up an otherwise standard occasion.

This new year it is absolutely champers all the way. Here are some vintage and non-vintage recommendations for seeing in the new year:

  1. Bollinger La Grand Année 1992– the favourite house for the Ab Fab duo, Eddie and Patsy. 30% chardonnay, 70% pinot noir – a “legendary fizz” according to Decanter. Available from Fine + Rare, £244.
  1. Laurent-Perrier Brut Millésimé 2006– a 50% blend of chardonnay and 50% pinot noir from grand cru vineyards, the perfect partner to seafood canapés on New Year’s Eve. Available from Majestic, £49.99.
  1. 2004 was especially fine for blanc de blancs, that is 100% chardonnay wine. We love Ruinart NV Blanc de Blancs– a true favourite – gentle, creamy and abundant in substance for an elegant dinner party apéritif.
  1. Grower Champagne continues to trend. Taking more of an artisanal approach from smaller producers, these wines offer fabulous value and equal sparkle. Try Champagne Lacroix Vintage 2007,French Bubbles, £49.00.
  1. For a pink fizz try Oeil de Perdrix Rosé NV Champagne.All the finesse and complexity of the major houses but understated in style and price. Majestic, £26.99.
  1. Telegraph wine columnist, Victoria Moore recently summed up the Best Fizz for Christmas– “The VERY best champagne under £20, whatever offers might be around the corner, is the Co-op’s Les Pionniers, a true star…” Co-Op. We can’t argue with that!

Wishing you a Very Merry New Year.