The Best Prestige Champagnes in 2023

By Dirk Smits

Top Tête de Cuvée Champagnes, the Best of the Best

Tête de cuvée or prestige Champagnes represent a Champagne house’s best-of-the-best. Prestige Cuvées are made from the finest grapes from the best locations of vineyards in Champagne, mostly with Premier Cru or Grand Cru status.

They typically are aged from five to eight years before being released and offer more complex, elegant and intense aromas and flavors than their siblings. These wines come with a higher price tag since only the best grapes are used and the time spent in the cellar is longer (think cash-flow).

The wines are listed in alphabetical order.

> For more details on top-notch bubbly, take a look at our Guide to Prestige Champagne.

1. Champagne Deutz, Cuvée William 2009

Champagne Deutz Cuvée William 2009

Origin: Aÿ, France
Varietals: 62% Pinot Noir, 34% Chardonnay, 4% Pinot Meunier
Price: $134.00
ABV: 12%

Cuvée William has been the flagship expression of Champagne Deutz for over half a century, since it was first released commercially in 1961. The grapes were pressed and vinified at Deutz’s state-of-the-art winery in Aÿ, with each individual parcel being vinified in its own separate tank. It remained on the lees for 10 years and was given a dosage of 8.8 grams of sugar per liter.

The wine shows a beautiful deep straw color with extra fine bubbles. The bouquet delivers the distinct Deutz nose, a combination of chalky minerality and smoky notes with apple, pear, grapefruit and Asian spice. The mouth feel is broad and complex due to the 10 years aging on the lees with flavors of baked apple, citrus, cherry, lemon zest and orange marmalade. The wine has a lovely texture and creaminess evolving in a long and elegant finish.

> For more information, visit the Champagne Deutz official website.

2. Champagne Dom Pérignon 2010

Origin: Épernay, France
Varietal: 46% Pinot Noir, 54% Chardonnay
Price: $186.00
ABV: 12.5%

Dom Pierre Pérignon, a French Benedictine monk, set out his vision to “create the best wine in the world” when he became Cellar Master at the sacred Abbey of Hautvillers in 1668. Dom Pérignon dedicated more than 40 years to this mission, employing a visionary spirit and daring approach to the wine making process. Over that time, he became known as the “father of Champagne” for laying down the fundamental rules for the traditional Champagne production method (La Méthode Champenoise or Traditionnelle). A favored wine of the Sun King Louis XIV, Dom Pérignon himself compared his wine to “drinking stars.”

Time is part of the Dom Pérignon equation. It takes no fewer than eight years of ageing to reach the aesthetic ideal of Dom Pérignon. In the darkness of the cellars, inside the bottles, each vintage experiences a slow transformation in contact with yeasts to obtain the harmony that will characterize Dom Pérignon forever.

The wine has a soft golden color with fine, persistent beads. It features tart apple, melon, stone fruit and grilled nuts. On the palate it unfolds flavors of savory spices, exotic fruit, candied ginger and cooked apple. It finishes with refreshing minerality and salinity. The dosage is 5.3 grams per liter.

> For more information, visit the Dom Pérignon official website.

• Read about Dom Pérignon history and watch our exclusive video interview with former Chef de Cave Richard Geoffroy.

3. Champagne Krug, Grande Cuvée – 168th Edition

Origin: Reims, France
Varietal: 52% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay, 13% Pinot Meunier
Price: $188 for 750 ml.
ABV: 12.5%

Krug Grande Cuvée is re-created every year, beyond the notion of vintage. The 168th edition of this wine is a blend of 198 individual wines from 11 different vintages, the oldest being 1996 and the youngest 2012. Réserve wines make up 42% of the blend.

The wine has a golden color and a fine, dynamic effervescence. Aromas of white blossom, candied fruit, spices and citrus dazzle the nose. The frame of réserve wines supports flavors of red fruit, quince, honey and roasted hazelnuts. The wine takes on spicy notes and carries it towards a well-balanced and long, complex finish. Drink now and over the next 15 years.

> For more information, visit the Champagne Krug official website.

4. Champagne Laurent-Perrier, Grand Siècle n ̊25

Origin: ֤Tours-sur-Marne, France
Varietal: 60% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir
Price: $232 for 750 ml.
ABV: 12%

The idea of Grand Siècle is based on a single observation: nature will probably never provide the perfect enological year but thanks to the art of assemblage, Laurent-Perrier can in fact create it with each new iteration. This n ̊ 25 is a blend of Chardonnay supplemented with Pinot Noir and selected among 9 of the 17 existing Grand Crus in Champagne. The wines come from three different vintages: 2008, 2007 and 2006. It’s the 25th time Laurent-Perrier has produced Grand Siècle. The wine spent a total of 12 years on the lees and has 7 grams of dosage.

The wine has a pale gold color showing a fine and persistent effervescence. The bouquet is intense and complex with aromas of lemon zest, tart apples, crushed stone, white flowers and a touch of iodine. The palate has a creamy, silky texture revealing flavors of pear, citrus, mineral and spice. It is elegant and complex at present but will reveal itself even more with a few years of cellaring.

For more information, visit the Champagne Laurent-Perrier official website.

> Check out GAYOT’s profile of Champagne Laurent-Perrier House.

5. Champagne Louis Roederer, Cristal 2012

Origin: Reims, France
Varietal: 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay
Price: $275 for 750 ml.
ABV: 12%

The 2012 vintage represents a milestone for Cristal as Roederer made this wine for the first time from 100% biodynamically farmed estate vineyards. The wine does not undergo malolactic fermentation and the dosage is 7.5 grams of sugar per liter.

The wine shows a pale golden yellow color and an energetic effervescence. The aromas exhibit citrus, white flowers, toasted almonds, spice, vanilla and a chalky minerality. The mouth reveals a great density, elegance and precision – almost lacelike – long lasting and ending with a lot of finesse. This wine shows its fine personality now but will develop in the next 20 years.

> For more information, visit the Champagne Louis Roederer official website.

> Watch Sophie Gayot sabering a bottle of 2008 Cristal blindfolded.

6. Champagne Piper-Heidsieck, Rare 2006

Origin: Reims, France
Varietal: 70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay
Price: $165 for 750 ml.
ABV: 12%

The 2006 release is a cellar selection of eight different Grand Cru vineyards with a dosage of 9 grams per liter.

Rare 2006 displays a light straw color and dynamic fine bubbles. In the glass it shows complex aromas of yellow orchard fruit, toasted bread, white flowers, iodine and chalky minerality. On the palate it lays out a firm structure, racy mousse and fine creaminess. This wine is great now but will evolve over the next 15 years, probably even longer.

> For more information, visit the Champagne Piper-Heidsieck official website.

> Check out GAYOT’s profile of Champagne Piper-Heidsieck House.

7. Champagne Pol Roger, Sir Winston Churchill 2009

Origin: Épernay, France
Varietal: It’s a family secret!
Price: $175 for 750 ml.
ABV: 12%

While the exact blend is a family secret, it is believed that the wine is blended to meet the late Sir Winston Churchill’s approval and is most likely a majority of Pinot Noir with some Chardonnay. Grapes are sourced from old vines located exclusively in Grand Cru vineyards using the same plots that were used to produce Churchill’s favorite vintages, such as the excellent 1928.

The wine displays a mid-golden yellow color and lively stream of delicate bubbles. The nose is powerful with a rich dose of minerality, toast, fresh quince, peach, apricot, some preserved lemon and hints of spice. The palate is very balanced, showing weight, power, a velvety texture and a long persistent citric acidity evolving in a long, elegant aftertaste. Drink now or hold for at least 10 years to get full maturity.

> For more information, visit the Champagne Pol-Roger official website.

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8. Champagne Veuve Clicquot, La Grande Dame 2012

Origin: Reims, France
Varietal: 90% Pinot Noir, 10% Chardonnay
Price: $195 for 750 ml.
ABV: 12.5%

Starting with the 2008 vintage, Clicquot makes this wine almost entirely with Pinot Noir. A dosage of 6 grams of sugar per liter was added.

The wine has a straw yellow color and fine bubbles feed a persistent mousse. The nose shows delicate aromas of jasmine, white blossom, honey and roasted almonds. There is density and freshness on the vinous palate, and a long finish. 

> For more information, visit the Champagne Veuve Clicquot official website.