The 14 Best Champagnes To Buy In Australia For 2024
— 24 May 2024

The 14 Best Champagnes To Buy In Australia For 2024

— 24 May 2024
Randy Lai
WORDS BY
Randy Lai

In the BH office, we’re fortunate to get the opportunity to regularly sample an array of impressive beverages — be they gin, whisky, or any number of freshly mixed cocktails. For yours truly, however, few categories are as consistently enjoyable as Champagne: the once-and-future king of traditionally made sparkling wines.

Building on our other suitably vinous Buyer’s Guides, below you’ll find a solid edit of the best Champagne we’ve drunk all year.

That could be anything ranging from a $70 Grower to the most vaunted Grand Cru: so long as there’s complexity, deliciousness, and (as you’ll see in a couple of situations) a robust value proposition. Santé.

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Bollinger La Grand Année Brut 2015 (Best Gift)

  • Region: Verzenay, Aÿ, Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, Chouilly, Avize
  • Varietals: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay
  • Dosage: 8g/L
  • Classification: Grand Cru non-vintage

Over its near-two-hundred-year history, Bollinger has crafted a range of critically and commercially lauded Champagnes. Still, few showcase the marriage between a specific vintage and the Maison’s timeless winemaking chops quite like La Grand Année.

Made exclusively in important years, with fruit which has been sourced from Grand and Premier Cru plots, the GA bottlings are an exemplary way to acquaint your fellow wine lovers with all of the most artisanal peculiarities of Bollinger’s house style. (Small wonder then that the 750ml bottles make such fab gifts.)

Just off the top of my head: this vintage-only Champagne is vinified exclusively in old oak barrels, sealed under cork, aged on lees (in the case of the 2015 vintage) for a decade, and — just for good measure — riddled by hand.

All of that meticulous savoir-faire has culminated in a wine that offers a muscular interpretation of the classic Bollinger bouquet. Plum, apple, and a medley of red fruit notes give way to a pleasant vanillin inflection, with a hay smoke that oenophiles have likened to the 2003 and 1989 vintages. With a little diligence, this should improve over the next decade.


Maison Mumm RSRV Cuvée 4.5

best Champagne
  • Region: Verzenay, Aÿ, Bouzy, Cramant, Avize
  • Varietals: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay
  • Dosage: 6g/L
  • Classification: Grand Cru non-vintage

A wine of immense quality that, in our view, is also comically underpriced, Maison Mumm’s Cuvée 4.5 comes from this producer’s RSRV collection: a curated, top-of-the-line offering that consists exclusively of blends sourced from Grand Cru vineyards. And at under $150 per bottle, to boot.

Built around Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from five terroirs that are administered directly by Mumm, the intense flavour and structure of Cuvée 4.5 are the result of the Maison’s decision to age this non-vintage blend for at least four years prior to release.

Cuvée 4.5 pours a pale golden hue and its nose is gilt with pronounced aromas of citrus, jammy stone fruits, honey and a hint of roasted coffee. The palate is initially racy, before opening up to reveal a well-rounded depth and richness — making it a wine which rewards food pairings.


Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 2012 (Best Splurge)

best Champagne
  • Region: Avize, Chouilly, Cramant, Oger, Mesnil-sur-Oger
  • Varietals: Chardonnay(s)
  • Dosage: 9g/L
  • Classification: Vintage Grand Cru

Despite the fact that we wrote a full-tilt list of the best Blanc de Blancs Champagne you can buy in Australia all too recently, Taittinger’s Comtes de Champagne makes our shortlist because it is (first and foremost) one of the world’s great sparkling wines. End-of-story.

Even amongst Champenoise, the Taittinger vineyards have always been renowned for the quality of their chardonnay; and it is this layered, energetic fruit (sourced exclusively from Grand Cru vineyards in the Côte des Blancs) that yields the backbone of Taittinger’s most premium offering. A small amount in the final blend, 5% give or take, is first matured in oak barrels.

Depending on the particular vintage — Comtes de Champagne is only ever released in the most exceptional of years — maturation occurs for a period of up to a decade. BdB fiends love to argue over the merits of the ‘best’ vintage (with 2002 and 2004 being the biggest contenders in recent memory).

Buy a bottle of the marginally more procurable 2012, and decide for yourself.


Moët & Chandon Imperial Brut

best Champagne
  • Region: Montagne de Reims, Côte des Blancs, Vallée de la Marne, Sézanne, Aube
  • Varietals: Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay
  • Dosage: 7g/L
  • Classification: N/A

A worldwide icon — and one of the primary drivers in Australia’s status as the 6th biggest market for Champagne exports (by volume). Owing to Moët’s prominence in Champagne (including the remarkable Château de Saran), and its status as one of the 10 biggest negociants in the region, the flagship ‘Imperial’ blend is created from a recipe of over 100 different wines.

Known for its bright, fruit-forward style — ideally served as an aperitif — the Imperial cuvée pours a light straw hue in the glass, foreshadowing notes of pear and fresh-cut green apple. Similarly, the palate is dominated by flavours of white fruit with a subtle hint of cereal on the finish.


Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Rosé 2013

  • Region: Épernay
  • Varietals: Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay
  • Dosage: 8-10g/L
  • Classification: Vintage Grand Cru

For longtime Boss Hunting stans, this will be a prestige bottling with a certain amount of pedigree (in part, owing to its popularity with one Mr. James Want).

First released in 1978, Belle Epoque (the “Beautiful Era”) is similar to a number of other prestige bottlings in our list of the best Champagne in a number of ways. It’s only crafted in exceptional years, and even then, in controlled quantities; utilising the best vineyards Perrier-Jouët has at its disposal.

The rosé is one of three expressions in the collection: enjoying plenty of structure and a lifted, floral grip that make it an excellent all-rounder. The iconic engraved bottle, inspired by the artwork of 20th-century glassmaker Emile Gallé, gives drinkers an unencumbered view of the wine’s luminescent salmon hue.

On the first whiff, the 2013 vintage offers up notes of strawberry and peonies, threaded by an undercurrent of kumquat. On the palate, there are prominent notes of mandarin and pink citrus; followed by a generous buttery finish — the telltale sign of extended lees ageing.


Louis Roederer Collection 243 NV

  • Region: Montagne de Reims, Vallée de la Marne, Côte des Blancs
  • Varietals: Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay
  • Dosage: 8g/L
  • Classification: N/A

Louis Roederer’s new (and deceptively titled) ‘entry-level’ cuvée, Collection 243 was borne out of the desire of the Maison to craft a “vibrant and contemporary” Champagne influenced by the vicissitudes of the 21st century.

In English? Each consecutive 243 release is built around multiple vintages, with the balance of one year supported by reserve wines of increasingly venerable age. It’s a system that isn’t dissimilar to the one Krug employs for its Grande Cuvée; with the current 243 featuring old Champagne going as far back as 2009.

Straw in colour with a light golden hue, Collection 243 conjures a fine persistent mousse when poured. The nose is laden with aromas of baked bread, citrus, and pear. That latter white fruit characteristic evolves further in the glass — complemented by 243’s rich yet refreshing mouthfeel. A fine spine of acidity and an 8-gram dosage combine to make this one of the best aperitif-style sparkling wines.


André Clouet Grande Reserve NV (Best Value)

best Champagne
  • Region: Bouzy
  • Varietals: Pinot Noir
  • Dosage: 8g/L
  • Classification: Grand Cru non-vintage

Selfishly, I had a hard time deciding whether to include this signature non-vintage offering from André Clouet in our Buyer’s Guide to the best Champagne. But if the goal is to be definitive, then needs must.

Crafted solely with estate-grown Pinot Noir from the village of Bouzy, Clouet’s Grande Reserve is damning evidence that much of Champagne’s most exciting winemaking is occurring outside the orbit of the Grande Maisons.

To be perfectly clear: this wine, which currently retails for less than $100, is a full-tilt Blanc de Noirs; in which all of the fruit comes from Grand Cru vineyards. Y’know: the sort of raw material that a bigger, more commercially inclined Champagne house would charge $400 for.

To make matters all the sweeter, 50% of the final blend is made using old reserve wines — sourced from a perpetual reserve that Clouet first set up in 2002. This is a measure that, throughout the traditional Champagne industry is, practically unheard of. Ditto at this budget.

Regardless of price, this Grande Reserve is an exceptional take on Pinot Noir-led Champagne. Fresh, nougaty, and laden with delicate berry flavours which give this Blanc de Noirs an unusual edge over its contemporaries. Buy a case, lay half down, and drink the rest with wild gleeful abandon.


Boll & Cie Grand Cru Vintage 2010

best Champagne
  • Region: Bouzy
  • Varietals: Pinot Noir
  • Dosage: 8g/L
  • Classification: Grand Cru non-vintage

In many ways, Boll & Cie is the quintessential small Champagne house — founded in 1853, a stone’s throw from the cathedral city of Reims. For most of its history, the speciality here has been the regionally emblematic Chardonnay grape.

The Maison is not exceptionally well-known outside of enthusiast circles, but after a 100-year hiatus is once again finding its feet around the globe. Presently available in Australia through a handful of specialty retailers, the brand’s vintage Blanc de Blanc is another of the few Chardonnay-only blends we’ve chosen to endorse under the wide category of ‘Champagne’.

Fans of Taittinger’s prestige bottling will find a lot of familiar pleasures here: ranging from exclusive use of Grand Cru Chardonnay (only the first pressing!) to a generous, 6-year nap on lees.

Chiselled in structure, with a very fine bouquet of ripe limes and lemon verbena, we heartily recommend this to gourmands who enjoy Champagne, above all else, as a serious white wine; and secondly, as a bit of bubbly fun.


Krug Grande Cuvée 170èmé Édition Brut

  • Region: Reims
  • Varietals: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier
  • Dosage: 6g/L
  • Classification: Prestige cuvée

In a perfect world, it’s helpful to experience the flagship wines of Dom Pérignon and Krug (two of LVMH’s elite liquor labels) side by side. While the former has a totemic reputation for its year-specific Champagnes, Krug opted to go the non-vintage route — for the most part — early on, crafting the first edition of Grande Cuvée in 1845.

These bottles are now categorised with an extensive numbering system; and are habitually produced using 120 base wines, from a dozen different vintages. One can only imagine the headache involved in drilling down to this final number (Krug’s Tasting Committee, led by Cellar Master Julie Cavil, began with a long list of 400 wines).

While the 171st edition is newly in-market, we’ve noticed there’s still a decent amount of the preceding 170èmé available in Australia. Centred on the excellent 2014 vintage in Champagne, this particular Grande Cuvée conveys the Krug house style’s hallmarks whilst being its own breed of animal.

A precise and chiselled drop, it commences in the glass with notes of dried fruit, choux pastry, Tahitian vanilla, and ginger. The Pinot-dominated assembly gives this wine a full frame and excellent concentration, yet it’s racy throughout. In a phrase: powerful weight, lightly carried.


Bollinger Special Cuvée

  • Region: Aÿ, Bouzy, Verzenay
  • Varietals: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier
  • Dosage: 7-8g/L
  • Classification: N/A

James Bond, Patsy Stone, Elizabeth II — few Champagne houses could hope for a fanbase as public and prestigious as that of Bollinger’s. Since the early 20th century, the brand has been a favourite across the English Channel; and through the dissemination of colonial influence, a beloved Maison here in Australia for many decades.

At the heart of this popularity, you’ll find Special Cuvée: so-called because, in 1911, Georges Bollinger’s agent convinced him to label it thusly for UK consumers (and because he found the phrase “Brut NV” too underwhelming for the brand’s standard bearer).

Today, Special Cuvée persists as Bollinger’s bestseller. The Maison does of course make a variety of prestige and experimental bottlings, yet this emblematic non-vintage continues to be an excellent primer — introducing budding enthusiasts to the muscular, food-friendly character that is present in most Bollinger cuvées.

The wine’s brassy gold hue is a byproduct of how much Pinot Noir (i.e. 60%) is used in the final blend. During nosing, most drinkers will pick up whiffs of peach, apple, and roasted quinces. These work well alongside the buttery, subtly tannic palate: one which offers thoughtful drinkers plenty to chew on, due to the utilisation of generous amounts of reserve wine. Another inexplicably underpriced heavy hitter.


Bruno Paillard Rosé Première Cuvée

best Champagne
  • Region: Mailly, Verzenay, Verzy, Les Ricey, Avize, Cramant
  • Varietals: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay
  • Dosage: 6g/L
  • Classification: Prestige Cuvée

An independent house with an artful reputation (beloved by critics and the legendary Joël Robuchon) Bruno Paillard is well-regarded for its characterful vintage Champagnes — almost all of which emphasise laser-purity and the art of blending.

I could talk incessantly about Paillard’s ‘Nec Plus Ultra’ (a wine that is assembled with all the care and meticulousness of a great Burgundy) yet the rosé is probably a more approachable, intuitively enjoyable place to begin.

Cast in a delicate shade of “ballet slipper pink” (achieved via gentle pressing) this is Champagne tailormade for an Aussie summer. The addition of minimal sugar allows the wine’s red fruit characteristics to shine through clearly. Right now, there are prominent flavours of strawberry and morello cherry. However, expect secondary notes of fig and blackberries to creep in after a few years of cellaring.


Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame 2012

  • Region: Mailly, Verzenay, Verzy, Les Ricey, Avize, Cramant
  • Varietals: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay
  • Dosage: 6g/L
  • Classification: Vintage Grand Cru

This is the 23rd release in Veuve Clicquot’s award-winning collection of prestige cuvées: dedicated, as ever, to the legendary Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin (a.k.a. “Madame Clicquot”).

In keeping with the Veuve Clicquot house style since 2008, this particular La Grande Dame vintage is also composed of around 90% Pinot Noir, with Chardonnay making up the balance of the final blend. In line with the premium offering crafted by other Grande Maisons, all fruit is sourced from Grand Cru plots administered by the brand directly.

On the nose, the 2012 vintage boasts a delicate perfume of florals and white fruit. The palate meanwhile, is as generous as it is complex: full of the subtly integrated flavours of hazelnut and hard fruit candy which are indicative of extended lees ageing.


Dom Pérignon Brut Vintage 2012

  • Region: Hautvillers, Montagne de Reims
  • Varietals: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay
  • Dosage: 5g/L
  • Classification: Vintage Grand Cru

At the time of publishing, punters will have been able to nab the latest vintage (i.e. 2013) from Dom Pérignon for the best part of a year. But that doesn’t mean you should cease paying attention to the 2012 release — not by a long shot.

Among the most critically lauded vintages of the last 15 years (aficionados seem hellbent on comparisons with ’08) the watchwords that come continually to mind are “explosive” and “paradoxical”. An excellent, well-rounded sparkling wine that manages to reconcile fruit with lees and minerality with richness.

As many have already pointed out, this vintage is currently drinking well; but will unfurl to reveal more of its dense fruit core over the next two to three decades. For now, expect lime, kumquat, buttery brioche, and the unmistakable whiff of gun smoke — a DP signature.


Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 2013

  • Region: Ambonnay, Bouzy, Chouilly, Vertus, Cramant
  • Varietals: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay
  • Dosage: 7g/L
  • Classification: Prestige Cuvée

First released in 1984, and only in 19 other highly exceptional vintages (millésime) since, this acclaimed ‘Winston Churchill’ cuvée is a homage to the British statesman, writer, and big bubbly enthusiast of the same name.

Built around an undisclosed assembly of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, from Grand Cru vineyards “already under vine during Churchill’s lifetime”, it’s fair to say that this is the apogee of fine winemaking at Pol Roger. A top-of-the-range vintage Champagne in every sense of the word, it’s jampacked with flavours of brioche and acacia honey that swirl around an orchard fruit centre.

In contrast to many of the bottles that populate this Buyer’s Guide, the Churchill cuvée undergoes manual remuage: the process by which sediment, generated during the secondary fermentation process, is removed by hand. A fitting gesture for an icon who preferred things done the good ol’ fashioned way.


Enjoyed reading this bubbly-focused Buyer’s guide? Then consider our related wine & spirits stories. Below are a few of our personal favourites to get you started:

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Randy Lai
WORDS by
Following 6 years in the trenches covering consumer luxury across East Asia, Randy joins Boss Hunting as the team's Commercial Editor. His work has been featured in A Collected Man, M.J. Bale, Soho Home, and the BurdaLuxury portfolio of lifestyle media titles. An ardent watch enthusiast, boozehound and sometimes-menswear dork, drop Randy a line at [email protected].

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