10 OF THE BEST CHAMPAGNE PRODUCERS TO LOOK OUT FOR RIGHT NOW

by | Sep 6, 2022 | Leisure, Spirits

What’s the best champagne out there on the market? There’s no better source to go to than Richard Juhlin, who set up The Champagne Club in 1999 as a leading, independent source of information for all things champagne.

Related: The best in boutique champagnes for special occasions

So when it’s time to make recommendations on the best champagne, the “language of luxury,” there is no better source than Richard. Just look at his bio: He is one of the world’s top experts in champagne, most famous for his skills in blind tasting. Since 1998 he has held the world record for most champagne ever tasted – more than 14,000 different unique champagnes over his lifetime.

Richard was awarded Légion d’honneur by former French president Francois Hollande in 2013. Other awards include the Chevalier d’Arc in 1997 and the Mérite agricole from the French Ministry of Agriculture in 2002. In 2003 at the annual Spectacle du Monde tasting in Paris he correctly identified 43 out of 50 champagnes.

He’s an author on the topic, and in 1999 was credited with arranging one of the greatest champagne tastings ever held, at the Stockholm Millennium event spotlighting 150 of the best champagnes ever made. So when Regarding Luxury asked him who the top champagne producers are right now, know that this list comes from one of the world’s true authority figures on champagne.

Agrapart & Fils

★★★★ of ★★★★★

“Agrapart is a serious grower owning 12 hectares of vines in 62 parcels, concentrated in the grand crus of Avize, Oger, Cramant, and Oiry, with a small part in Coligny part of the Val du Petit Morin and also Vauciennes and Avenay-Val-d’Or in the Marne Valley and producing beautiful storable wines vinified in oak barrels of varying sizes. Pascal Agrapart is an excellent winemaker indeed. One of the top growers in Champagne. Close to 5 stars.”

Nicolas Maillart

★★★★ of ★★★★★

“The present owner and wine-maker is the extremely well-educated Nicolas born in 1977 who makes sure of putting his Bordeaux knowledge to the best possible use for the wines in Champagne. Vinification is almost completely ecological and the average age of the vines is an impressive 30 years. 80% of the wines are fermented in oak barrels. A mightily impressive wine with colossal, gigantic, modern power.

Oaky, assuredly, but very rich in grapiness and deep dark fruit in a Selosse-like manner. Even better are the new series of lieu-dits Mont Martin, Jolivettes and Montchenot.”

Ulysse Collin

★★★★ of ★★★★★

“In Congy, resides Oliver Collin, a new disciple of Jacques Selosse, a biodynamic producer who creates exciting and desirable blanc de blancs which is produced in oak barrels. In 2003 Olivier Collin regained control over the vineyards that the family rented out for decades. The geological mix of chalk and silex is quite unique in Champagne which really adds an unique character to the wines produced by this burgundy-influenced oak-enthusiast.

His vinification becomes more and more organic, but he does not rule out the use of conventional methods, if they give better results. The time the wine spends in oak casks has been extended every year and this extremely talented winemaker has enormous potential to create small masterpieces from the 8.7 hectares that this producer controls.”

Paul Bara

★★★★ of ★★★★★

“Paul Bara is allready a legend in Champagne. He took over the firm as a teenager sixty years ago and remembered every vintage in perfect detail. Many major Champagne houses have approached Bara over the years to try to buy the thirty exceptional locations he controls from 11 hectares in the village.

Despite the traditional methods, Bara’s wines have a very elegant fruitiness, which is unique in Bouzy. It is incomprehensible that he used to be best known for his red wine when his Champagne is world class. The wines are still great. Comtesse Marie de France is the gem to search for. Today’s winemaker is Christian Forget.”

Franck Bonville

★★★★ of ★★★★★

“Olivier Bonville makes very rich, nutty Champagnes in the English style nowadays. The father’s wines were perhaps even more vigorous, but the son makes wines with a Chablis-like purity. I personally think that Bonville, Agrapart and De Souza are the only growers in Avize who come anywhere near Selosse. The Vinothèque wines are magical and the new Pur series is really pure.”

Vincent Charlot

“Said to be another new star. Vincent Charlot is based in the Marne Valley village of Mardeuil, across the river from Cumières. His family has owned vines here for some time but delivered the fruit to the cooperative. In 2001, Vincent took over the family vines and is now the owner of 4.2 acres around the village, spread over 33 plots. Much of the vineyard is planted with Meunier, but he has some Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and a bit of Arbanne, Petit Meslier, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc. Fermentation is done on native yeasts in used oak casks.”

Legras & Haas

★★★ of ★★★★★

“François Legras is the former winemaker at R. & L. Legras and has broken away and started his own house. Today the domaine is run perfectly by the intelligent Jerôme Legras. They actually produce up to 400,000 bottles for the big Champagne houses. The style is very clean, with crystal-clear acidity and elegant fruit. Jerôme have so many interesting projects going on, a small house to keep your eye on in the future.”

Pierre Moncuit

★★★ of ★★★★★

“Nicole Moncuit runs this well-respected domain, which owns nineteen hectares at Le Mesnil, including a share of Les Chétillon’s old vines. Moncuit is often mentioned in the same breath as greats like Selosse, Diebolt and Peters, which is something I have for a long time had trouble understanding. The non-vintage champagne is particularly delicious at present. Moncuit is rapidly approaching four stars.”

Mailly Grand Cru

★★★★ of ★★★★★

“The seventy-seven members of the cooperative share at present the same number of hectares in a very professional and successful manner. Sebastien Moncuit is now the skillful winemaker. The Mailly Cooperative belongs among the absolute best, and best known, of the cooperatives in the whole district. Their marketing is well-organised and forward-looking.  All Champagne Mailly Grand Cru champagnes are made from the best possible Grand Cru grapes. First cooperative to reach 4 stars.”

Paul Déthune

★★★ of ★★★★★

“This Ambonnay domain is among the loveliest and best cared-for in the whole of Champagne. The wines from the 7 hectares in the village are more or less biodynamically produced. Everything is just as immaculately cared for inside the tasting room. The wines have acquired a power and dignity that they lacked before and the better ones are truly impressive creations.”

The stars

There are only 5 producers in Champagne that has reached 5 stars in Champagne according to the ranking of Champagne Club by Richard Juhlin.

  • Bollinger
  • Krug
  • Louis Roederer
  • Salon
  • Selosse

Images: The Champagne Club

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