There is a dizzying amount of Champagne brands out there, but our selection of the best Champagne brands in the world stands above the rest. These houses produce Champagnes in every style ranging from delicious nonvintage Champagnes to ultra-rare single-plot releases. While there are many different types of Champagnes, all houses must follow certain rules. They grow grapes in the four main regions of Champagne – La Côte des Blancs, La Côte des Bars, La Vallée de la Marne, and La Montagne de Reims – and craft their wines from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Arbane, Petit Meslier, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Gris. Here, we explain what each house is known for, so you can explore different Champagne brands with confidence.
Want to brush up on how Champagne is made? Be sure to read our guide to Champagne and sparkling wine here. Read on to discover our list of the best Champagne brands.
The Best Champagne Brands
In fact, Krug produces several stunning Champagnes, and it takes a different approach from other producers. It makes what’s technically a nonvintage Champagne, Grande Cuvée, but it’s so much more than your typical nonvintage offering. Krug’s chef de cave, Julie Cavil, applies the same high level of craftsmanship to the Grande Cuvée as she does its vintage and single-plot Champagnes. Grande Cuvée is also far more expensive than many of the best vintage Champagnes, including Dom Pérignon.
What makes Krug’s Grand Cuvée one of the best Champagnes in the world? Krug’s team blends more than 120 wines from over 10 years — each aged individually — to create a consistent house style and achieve a richness that’s impossible in each individual vintage.
While Krug is certainly one of the best Champagne brands in the world, and a favorite of many collectors, it’s not the household name that larger brands are. Why? Krug has a smaller production than most of the other best Champagne brands because a tasting committee tastes and approves every single reserve wine and the final assemblage (blend). Even if Krug wanted to increase production, they couldn’t do so and keep the same level of artisanship. As Cavil once told me, they simply don’t have enough time to taste more wines, a hallmark of Krug’s production and assemblage.
In addition to the Grande Cuvée, which comes in brut and rosé styles, Krug produces a vintage Champagne in select years, as well as a very rare single-plot wine, Clos du Mesnil.
The brand Dom Pérignon started as the prestige cuvée of Moët & Chandon and has since become one of the most famous wines in the world. It produces brut and rosé Champagnes, which each age for around seven years, as well as Plénitude 2 and 3, which age for approximately 15 and 30 years, respectively.
Dom Pérignon is one of the few vintage-only Champagne houses, which means it produces Champagnes using only the grapes from a single year. In a region with unpredictable weather, like the Champagne region, that can be a challenge, and it’s one of the reasons why most houses make nonvintage Champagne; good years can balance out the bad, and the Champagne will always taste the same. However, Dom Pérignon’s chef de cave, Vincent Chaperon, loves the challenge of creating a vintage Champagne in difficult years. Each vintage is like a time capsule that transports you directly to that year.
Of course, in terrible years, this means there is no Dom Pérignon produced, and the house makes a vintage Champagne in years when others might decline to declare a vintage due to the challenging conditions. No matter the vintage, you can expect a bold and rich Champagne that is fresh and balanced. Chaperon strives to find harmony in each bottle while still remaining bold and pushing the boundaries of Champagne.
You might not have heard of Salon, but it’s one of the most sought-after Champagnes by collectors.
What makes Salon so special? Its grapes come from the cru vineyards of Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, and it ages each bottle for 10 years before release. Salon blocks malolactic fermentation during winemaking, so the Champagne has high levels of acidity. It’s noted for crisp minerality and rich flavors. Salon was also the first-ever Blanc de Blancs Champagne, a style that is made from 100% Chardonnay grapes.
Salon has a limited production and releases at most 60,000 bottles a year. In contrast, some of the biggest luxury Champagne brands release millions of bottles annually. In addition, Salon bottles only truly spectacular vintages; in the 20th century, it produced just 37 vintages. The combination of limited release, very selective vintages, and cru vineyards makes Salon one of the best luxury Champagne brands in the world. Accordingly, it’s also one of the most expensive Champagnes you can buy upon release, going for around $550 a bottle and far more at auction. In Sotheby’s annual Champagne sales, it ranks third after Dom Pérignon and Krug.
While the ubiquitous yellow-label Champagne might be what the house is best known for — it’s actually the number-one-selling Champagne in the US — Veuve Clicquot also makes a stunning prestige cuvée, La Grande Dame. It’s named for the Widow Clicquot, who revolutionized the Champagne industry and was known as the great lady of Champagne, or “la grande dame” in French. Veuve Clicquot partners with female artists for each release of this vintage Champagne — most recently Yayoi Kusama in 2012 and Paola Paronetto in 2015.
La Grande Dame is noted for its use of Pinot Noir, which has accounted for 90% of the blend since 2008. It typically has floral notes with fresh fruits combined with honey and a nuttiness that develops with age.
The brand Ruinart is the favorite all-occasion Champagne for many industry insiders. Its most well-known offering is a Blanc de Blancs Champagne made exclusively from Chardonnay grapes, which is one of the best nonvintage Champagnes you can find. It comes in a distinctive clear bottle that’s shorter and wider than most other Champagnes. The wine is protected from light damage by an eco-friendly, recyclable “Second Skin” packaging made from 99% paper. Ruinart also makes a fabulous vintage Champagne, Dom Ruinart, which is one of our top prestige cuvées.
Ruinart is also our best all-around Champagne for gifts, so keep a few bottles on hand to bring to celebrations.
Perrier-Jouët is recognizable by its distinctive floral bottles featuring an Art Nouveau anemone motif. The design is a visual representation of the floral Champagne inside. The Champagne is Chardonnay-focused, which gives it the fresh, floral quality that Perrier-Jouët is known for. What might have started as a stylistic choice of a floral wine now represents the brand’s ethos. The house has earned the Sustainable Viticulture certificate in Champagne and focuses on sustainable winemaking. In addition to nonvintage Champagne, it produces the Belle Époque prestige cuvée in brut, rosé, and Blanc de Blancs styles.
Louis Roederer might be best known for its prestige cuvée, Cristal. Not only did Louis Roederer pioneer the concept of a prestige cuvée in 1876, but Cristal remains one of the most iconic and sought-after Champagnes in the world today. The house owns 240 acres of vineyards with Grand Cru and Premier Cru designations, in contrast to many houses that purchase grapes from partner vineyards. In addition to the famed Cristal, Louis Roederer produces several different types of Champagne. Including nonvintage, vintage, and Brut Nature, which does not have any dosage to sweeten the wine.
The go-to Champagne of everyone’s favorite spy, 007, Bollinger is a Pinot Noir-focused house. It owns 179 hectares of vines, of which 85% are Grand and Premier Cru. Bolly, as the Brits affectionately call it, produces many types of Champagne, including nonvintage, vintage, the single-plot La Côte aux Enfants, and an unusual Blanc de Noirs, a white Champagne made exclusively from the black grapes Pinot Noir and Meunier.
The Laurent-Perrier is one of the oldest Champagne brands – it was founded in 1812 – but it doesn’t rest on its laurels. The maison was one of the first to introduce an ultra-brut Champagne with zero dosage. Dosage is a mixture of sugar and wine that is added to Champagne in the final blend, and every Champagne that is not labeled “zero dosage” or “ultra brut” has some added sugar to balance the acidity in the wine. However, some people find even the driest Champagne to be too sweet, so brands created Champagne without any added sugar. This makes for a somewhat bracing Champagne, but its fans adore it. For a more classic style, try its Grand Siècle Champagne. This blends wines from three fabulous vintages, and it’s crafted exclusively from Grand Cru vineyards. Laurent Perrier also crafts one of our favorite rosé Champagnes, crafted from 100% Pinot Noir.