/ Food & Drink

Why I shouldn’t think twice about budget champagne

Call me a snob, but when I have the great and good round for a glass of Christmas bubbly, I think twice before uncorking supermarket fizz. Yet, our latest taste test found you don’t need to pay top prices for champagne.

My obsession with posh labels doesn’t make sense. In our latest festive fizz taste test, four experts (yes, that’s people who know more about Champagne than I ever will) blind tasted 11 bottles and picked supermarket champers as the best.

Morrisons’ Best Brut, the Co-operative’s Les Pionniers, Waitrose’s Brut and Lidl’s Comte de Brismard champagnes topped the table in that order, ahead of big-name brands Moet and Chandon and Veuve Clicquot. All are priced under £20.

But isn’t your Christmas party as much about style as it is about great taste? And how will I feel when I get those sideways glances that seem to say; ‘Are you really drinking something that started its life in Lidl?’

It shouldn’t be this way. Because that’s exactly what Which? is all about – great value and great taste, not what’s on the label. And it’s exactly why we make our experts taste blind too – their brand preconceptions are left out of it.

So will you be brave enough to bring out the budget champers this Christmas? Maybe you’ll gift-wrap a bottle of Morrisons for a special occasion? Or will you be doing some private pouring behind the poinsettia too?

Michael Page says:
19 December 2011

happened to be passing a lidl store this afternoon (In Horley) where I notice they have reduced the price of the Comte de Brismard to £9.99 – nor were they pushing the Which? recommendation…

Smorlporl says:
20 December 2011

Yes Michael. I bought a bottle at the already reduced price of £12.99 last week, found it agreeable and went back for 4 bottles yesterday only to find it at under a tenner a bottle! The Which? Best Buy was mentioned on the weekly bargains flyer last week but thankfully the low key advertising meant there was plenty of stock left on the shelves.

Janet Reeves says:
31 December 2011

years ago I worked as a Retail Assessor and one shop where one of my learners worked was part of an off licence chain. She had attended several courses on wine and what it went with and the advice she gave me regarding bubbles was always to buy a very good sparkling wine rather than cheap champagne. Her recommendation was Jacobs Creek Chardony Pinot Noir – she said I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference as it was made with the same grapes using the same method!

Champagne Piggy says:
24 November 2012

I’ve been saying ‘ditch the labels’ for years over at my (Champagne Piggy) blog. You can buy better (and more) Champagne for your money. When there’s lip smacking Champers on offer at that price it’d be rude not to. Watch out Lidl, here I come!