Sometimes we all need a splurge. You need to treat yo’ self! And when it comes to a wine splurge, Champagne is near the top of the list for me. Champagne is typically not cheap, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find good value.
Value is all a matter of perspective. I’m often asked if more expensive wine is really better. And there’s no simple answer for that. Sometimes more expensive wines are amazing, but so are some inexpensive wines. Sometimes expensive wines are disappointing, and so are some inexpensive wines.
Champagne — the real deal from the Champagne region of France (i.e., not sparkling wine from other locales mistakenly referred to as Champagne) — typically costs at least $50 a bottle or more. But how does it compare to less expensive Cava, Prosecco or other sparklers? Is it really worth it? Is it really all that different?
Again, it’s all a matter of perspective. But in general I have found there is a difference with Champagne. Whether or not that difference is “worth it” is something only you can determine for yourself.
One of the most common differences I find is in the mouthfeel. Champagne tends to have a greater bubble density and a creamier mouthfeel than a lot of other sparkling wines. This isn’t universally true, but it is a common difference particularly when comparing to something like a Prosecco which has a totally different production technique.
The aromas and flavors can also be more elegant with a good Champagne.
That’s not to say there aren’t some wonderful sparkling wines that aren’t Champagne. Trust me, I’ve had many delicious sparklers that aren’t Champagne. But when I do have Champagne more often than not it is an awesome experience.
So, this review is more about value than about cheapness. As I mentioned, most Champagne is $50+ per bottle. This bottle, from Forget-Brimont, comes in just under that at $45. Relatively speaking, it’s fairly cheap for a Champagne. But wait, it gets better. This wine is also a “premier cru.” But what does that mean, you might ask?
Champagne vineyards are classified based on location. Those villages considered to be the top tier are called grand cru, the next tier is premier cru and then there’s everything else. Only 18% of the villages in Champagne are classified as either grand cru or premier cru. And Forget-Brimont claims their premier cru wine is made with approximately 30-40% grand cru fruit. That’s a long and complicated way of saying this wine is made with what’s considered top tier fruit in Champagne.
Forget-Brimont is also family-owned and all the production happens on site. All of this is great, but of course the proof of the wine is in the tasting.
The nose of this champagne is delightful and complex. It has a little bit of nuttiness, a little bit of yeastiness, a little bit of something I can only describe as apple pie crust and a little bit of lemon. It delivers a creamy mouthfeel with bubbles galore and flavors such as green apple, lemon and almonds. Salty minerals appear on the mid-palate and linger into the finish, where the apple and yeast also hang around. This is a delicious champagne.
So is it worth a splurge? That’s up to you to decide for yourself. For me, it’s delicious and the value makes it a top contender for a treat yo’ self splurge.
Wine: Forget-Brimont, Brut Premier Cru Champagne
Variety: 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Meunier and 20% Chardonnay
Disclosure: This wine was received as a media sample.