Best Prestige Champagnes (Updated list Dec. 2020)

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 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.

2. Champagne Laurent-Perrier, Grand Siècle n ̊24

Origin: ֤Tours-sur-Marne, France
Varietal: 55% Chardonnay, 45% Pinot Noir
Price: $175 for 750 ml.
ABV: 12.5%

This is a blend of grand cru wines from three different vintages: 2007 – 2006 – 2004, and it’s the 24th time Laurent-Perrier has produced Grand Siècle.

The wine shows fine and persistent bubbles with a developed golden color. Aromas are intense and complex: candied fruits, roasted almonds, a subtle hint of honey and spices. Flavors show apple, candied lemon zest, honey, briny minerality and blackberry. The wine finishes with a perfect balance between strength and elegance.

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

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

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

> Check out GAY> Chocolates for the holidays? Watch GAYOT’s exclusive video interview with Maître Chocolatier Erik GoossensENJOY 10% OFF YOUR ENTIRE ORDER..T’s Guide to Prestige Champagne.

6. 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.