Wotwine Christmas Sparkle!

Wotwine Christmas Sparkle!

Nothing shouts out celebration quite like a bottle or two of bubbly!

The run up to Christmas is a great time for splashing out, to share a little indulgence with family, partners or colleagues. There are also seductive-looking deals on offer from most of the supermarkets, tempting us with “25% off” stickers or case discounts. But are they really as good value as they might seem?

To find out, we handed ourselves the arduous task of tasting our way through over 60 champagnes and other sparkling wines in search of their Christmas Best Buys. Happily, we took notes as we went along!
First, some wines from the Grandes Marques, the famous brand names of Champagne. They are super-consistent and reliable, so it’s really a question of finding a “house style” you particularly enjoy. The major Champagne houses all aim to be distinctive and some use different techniques so there is a surprising range or flavours and textures to explore.One factor that is more consistent is the large marketing budgets and corporate overheads … and that can translate into high retail prices. Many of the Grandes Marques are now over £40 at RRP so it was therefore reassuring to find two excellent examples offering genuinely great value this December.
Piper Heidsieck Champagne Brut
Piper-Heidsieck Champagne Brut 
ASDA                  Price: £22.00 (Rollback Price)
Morrisons         Price: £24.00 (Until 01/01/2019)
Sainsbury’s      Price: £24.00 (Buy 6 save 25%)
The Wotwine panel thinks this is worth: £32.00
Tasting note: Nicely made, complex wine with good depth and fruit character, warm spice notes and a long finish.
OCADO Laurent-Perrier La Cuvee
Laurent Perrier La Cuvée NV
Ocado            Price: £26.66
The Wotwine panel thinks this is worth: £32.00
Tasting note: Textbook champagne with good fresh palate, nice fruit intensity with some brioche notes. 
There’s always something luxurious about rosé champagne … and the producers know it! For most champagnes, the extra cost is minimal – just some red wine blended in, something the Champenois are uniquely permitted to do in Europe – but prices are typically marked up significantly. Our team were therefore excited to find two genuinely well-priced rosés, again from well-known producers. You could also stick a couple of bottles away for Valentine’s Day while you’re at it!
TESCO Lanson Rose Champagne
Lanson Brut Rosé NV
Tesco          Price: £27.00
The Wotwine panel thinks this is worth: £27.00
Tasting note: Well made, classy wine with refreshing red apple and strawberry character, good weight and length.
WAITROSE Canard Duchene Authentic Rosé
Canard Duchene Authentic Rosé NV
Waitrose       Price: £22.99
The Wotwine panel thinks this is worth: £24.00
Tasting note: Pale pink, light wine with bruised red apples, raspberries and some bready character. Elegant mousse and good balance.
Venturing outside the Grandes Marques often offers better value but is higher risk.  Many of the names are created specifically for supermarkets and produced by co-ops or other large producers so there’s no established “house style” to rely on.  Whilst many are excellent, they can also be disappointingly thin and acidic or just rather dull. This where we think Wotwine really comes into its own, identifying those that deliver not only lower prices but also excellent value. The first from Tesco is an absolutely stellar Christmas buy, in Wotwine’s All-time Top 50 Value Wines and is worth double its price. We’ll definitely be buying a case or two!
TESCO Louis Delaunay Champagne Brut Non Vintage
Champagne Louis Delaunay Brut NV
Tesco         Price: £14.00
The Wotwine panel thinks this is worth: £28.00
Tasting note: Gently floral, fresh wine with good mineral edge. Crisp and clean. Good intensity and balance.
Sainsburys Taste the Difference NV Brut Champagne
Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Champagne NV
Sainsbury’s   Price: £18.00
(Buy any 6 or more and save 25%)
The Wotwine panel thinks this is worth: £23.00
Tasting note: Simple, clean wine with some ripe apple and lemon sherbet character.
Although Champagne is synonymous with Christmas, there are some excellent sparkling wines from other parts of the world which, these days, lay down a serious challenge.  We’ve picked out one from Australia and another, an excellent rosé from rather closer to home: in fact, just outside Brighton!
It’s interesting to see that they’re both from M&S as Wotwine has a bit of a love-hate relationship with them, to be honest.  As our 2019 Wotwine Supermarket Wine Retailer Awards showed, we really rate their range for quality (equal top with Waitrose and, perhaps more surprisingly, Lidl) but M&S consistently over-price in our view so we mark them down for value. Great to see these two absolutely spot-on … and don’t forget we don’t know the price when we taste them. Perhaps the message is getting through.
M&S Craft 3 Sparkling BRU
Craft 3 Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir NV
M&S          Price: £12.00
Buy 2 Cases Save 10%
Buy 3 Cases Save 12.5%
Buy 4 or more Cases Save 15%
The Wotwine panel thinks this is worth: £12.00
Tasting note: Ripe, fruity wine with lemon and lime, red apples and pears and a fine mousse.
M&S Ridgeview Marksman Rosé NV
Ridgeview Marksman Rosé NV
M&S        Price: £28.00
The Wotwine panel thinks this is worth: £28.00
Tasting note: Well-made wine with pale strawberry colour, interesting bruised apple character, ripe citrus fruits and a fine mousse. Elegant with good depth and complexity.

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*Note – Prices and availability correct at time of research, we cannot guarantee that all stores stock the listed items and price may vary or be subject to change.