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Long weekend champagnes

Top Five Champagnes For A Long Weekend (2021)

My top five champagnes for a long weekend is my annual ode to our first long weekend of the spring, which is coming up this weekend in Australia.

While I am very conscious of the great number of Australians who continue to be stuck in lockdown or otherwise affected by COVID-19, I also feel this weekend is an opportunity for us to celebrate all the things in life we have to be grateful for.

So with that intention in mind, wherever you are in the world, I hope you join me in a toast and enjoying reading the 2021 edition of my top five champagnes for a long weekend.

Top five champagnes for a long weekend 

Because this long weekend lands at the start of spring and the weather is taking a warm turn in Australia, this list is big on fresh, bright chardonnay-driven champagnes to enjoy in the warm sunshine.

So here goes with my list for your spring, long weekend champagnes! 

1. Delamotte Brut NV

I often use the Delamotte Brut NV in my tastings to demonstrate the effect of chardonnay on champagnes… and because the style is so easy to enjoy and you can often buy it from Vintage Cellars in a 2 for $100 bundle, making it exceptional value.

Delamotte

Delamotte is one of the oldest, established in 1760, and its strength lies in its vineyards being located in the Grand Crus of the Côte des Blancs where the chardonnay is so well known for its chalky minerality and producing fresh, delicate, consistent champagnes. The house united with Salon, one of the most highly regarded (and expensive!) chardonnay-focused champagne houses, in the late 80’s and both are now owned by Laurent-Perrier.

How does all that taste? Creamy, fresh, lemons and fresh white flowers with hints of apples and pears.

In a word…. pure.

Moment or mood? Honestly… any hour of the day or night from September to March.

Where to find it? For $80 at Emperor or grab a bargain at Vintage Cellars when it’s next in a two for $100 bundle.

The technical details 

Chardonnay : 55%
Pinot noir : 35%
Pinot Meunier : 10%

3 years on lees and minimal dosage.

If you wanted to stretch your chardonnay appreciation a little, splash out on the Delamotte Blanc de Blancs Brut ($127 from Emperor) for a next level Dellamotte experience… 100% chardonnay, 7g/l, all grand cru and cellared for four – five years. The current release’s base year is the AMAZING 2008 vintage making it a pretty amazing Blanc de Blancs.

2. Piper Hiedsieck Essentiel Blanc de Blancs

I first tried this new release from Piper Heidsieck a few years ago on the Australia Day long weekend and I was very pleasantly surprised. I don’t drink a lot of Piper Heidsieck but it is my sister-in-law, Deb’s, fave house and we were going away for her 40th birthday so I decided to surprise her with a new option from her fave. We visited Piper Heidsieck together just six months earlier and didn’t even try this new blend there.

We did have a pretty epic selection to get through with a chardonnay focus (because the weather was so hot) and I have to admit…. I wasn’t taking this bottle very seriously. It was the first bottle we popped the arvo we first arrived while we were just messing about and…. it was really good.

In the glass it was a really pale colour – less golden, more a hint of light green – and on my first smell there was a really strong smell of coconut! I was pretty shocked to smell coconut in a champagne and while I was processing this as a “WTF?”, my brother piped up and said “I smell coconuts too… in Deb’s sunscreen!”. My sister-in-law had just applied her coconut scented sunscreen and that was dominating the air around me!

Actual poolside pics complete with rose all day floatation device

Funny story but also a good lesson…. it can be hard smelling and tasting wines outside. We were poolside, on the water (they were man-made canals at Broadbeach Waters but we were close enough to the beach to smell the sea and the salt), with pot plants (and sunscreen!) all around us and that does affect your champagne tasting.

So I moved inside for a proper tasting where it was all lemony limestone with some hints of fresh bread. And my second glass was all crunchy green apples. This first experience has cemented the Piper Hiedsieck Blanc de Blancs as our family poolside coconut champagne and I feel obliged to pop again this year with my brother and sister-in-law.

The technical details 

100% Chardonnay
35% Reserved wines
Dosage : 4 g/l

How does all that taste? Not like coconuts! Lemony limestone and crunchy green apples with a hit of fresh bread.

In a word…. surprisingly good! (I know, that’s two words).

Moment or mood? It has to be poolside!

Where to find it? For $73 a bottle of $64.99 in a half dozen at Vintage Cellars.

3. Le Brun de Neuville Authentique ‘Assemblage’

I have actually tried four different cuvees from the Le Brun de Neuville and they have all been crackers and high on the chardonnay. I’ve tried the NV Blanc de blancs, the 2008 vintage (which is 96% chardonnay and the tiniest 4% of pinot noir) and the Authentique blanc de blanc as well as the Authentique ‘Assemblage’.

I actually wanted to include the NV Blanc de blancs but I can’t find it anywhere online where you can buy it at the moment so I settled on the Authentique ‘Assemblage’. which is still 75% chardonnay and absolute killer wine but… it is a bit more complex than the others.

Le Brun de Neuville Authentique ‘Assemblage’

The Le Brun family vineyards are found in the village of Bethon, close to the town of Sézanne, in the Cote de Sézanne. The vineyard Le Brun de Neuville is spread over 150 hectares, of which the majority has been planted for over 30 years on the undulating slopes of the Sézannais. Its vineyard is planted predominantly in Chardonnay, which represents 88% of the total. The Pinot Noir accounts for 11% and the Meunier just 1% of the vines.

The location of the vineyards and the terrior make these wines really interesting and exciting. The Cote de Sézanne rests on a bed of chalk covered with a few centimeters of earth made up of granules of calcite. Its high porosity makes it a real reservoir of water ensuring the plant a sufficient supply, even in the driest summers. The Brun de Neuville vineyard is planted on a hillside that allows it to accumulate large amounts of solar energy.

The technical details 

75% Chardonnay, (including 8% on oak)

25% Pinot Noir including 51% of reserve wine.

Primary Alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel tank with NO Malolactic fermentation. Transferred to oak for several months and then to bottle for secondary fermentation entirely under cork.

4 years on lees under cork.

Dosage: Brut 6 g/l

How does all that taste? Filled with cream, apricot, lemon preserve and ginger stem biscuit. The palate is rich with much depth, pulling on the tongue. Some very appealing fruit bitterness coupled with bright acidity and moreish oxidative character. Soft, yet punchy on the finish. This is a big wine, give it some time in your glass, or if you can, decant it.

You can see the full tasting with Kyla and Kyri from Emperor Champagne below.

In a few words…. interesting and exciting!

Moment or mood? This is definitely one to pop with your champs snob friends. It’s not an easy wine or a party pleaser, but for lovers of chardonnay or really good champagne, they will love it.

Where to find it? From Emperor Champagne for $109 a bottle.

4 & 5. Larmandier-Bernier…  Latitude Extra Brut AND Longitude Premier Cru Extra Brut

So this is actually two champagnes tied up together!

Larmandier-Bernier champagnes receive high praise from the actual champagne wine experts. When I first tried the Latitude Extra Brut AND Longitude Premier Cru Extra Brut, I was having a champagne geek weekend away with a friend and fellow champagne lover. I wrote about it in an Instagram post at the time so I am going to quote myself here… 

“OMG! That was insane … @larmandier.bernier longitude and latitude side by side. Incredible to study the nuances and differences between two champagnes that are both NV & 100% chard, same time on lees, both 4g/l dosage, 30 or 40% from perpetual reserve from the same producer, just different villages/terroir. Such different champs and so much fun being a champagne geek with Topaz. There are so many dimensions to each wine that rolled out over the time we served each. We flip-flopped over our preferences 10 times and ultimately adored them both but the Latitude finished ahead by a nose for me. We found crisp pear in the lat and salted caramel in the long as the the most defining characteristics. Minds blown, in ❤️, and we have a Terre de Vertus to try still! I want more!!! #wow”

I don’t know that I need to say much more do I?

But I will 😉 only because the house deserves a little detail around their style but I will keep is short(ish) 

Larmandier-Bernier:

  • excel at chardonnay – 90% of their grapes are chardonnay
  • they use grapes from only premier cru and grand cru villages (grands crus: Cramant, Avize, Oger and Premier cru: Vertus)
  • they are a biodynamic producer
  • all low dosage to let the wine and terrior shine through  

Their motto… “Good champagnes conform to the rules. Really great champagnes often break them!”

Larmandier-Bernier Larmandier-Bernier

Larmandier-Bernier

Larmandier-Bernier Latitude Extra Brut

The technical details 

100% Chardonnay
40% Reserve wines from the estate’s perpetual reserve started in 2004.
Dosage : 4 g/l

The grapes… It is made exclusively from Chardonnay grapes which all come from the same “latitude”: the south of Vertus. 

How does all that taste? This is a totally wicked champagne and the smell and flavour profile flipped around over the course of the bottle which is half the fun! Dominated by crisp pear for us… but that was just us on that day – you will probably have a completely different experience!

In a word…. there is no way I can sum up this wine in just one word. But if I had to pick one…. intense.

Moment or mood… With a really close friend (or two) who really loves champagne (love you TC!)

Where to find it…  $89.99 from Emperor Champagnes … and that is an amazing value for what is a ripper of a champagne!

Larmandier-Bernier Longitude Premier Cru Extra Brut

The technical details 

100% Chardonnay
40% Reserve wines from the estate’s perpetual reserve started in 2004.
Dosage : 4 g/l

The grapes… exclusively from the Chardonnay grapes grown on the Côte des Blancs: Vertus, Oger, Avize, Cramant, which form a line close to the 4th meridian. 

How does all that taste? Most memorable for us was salted caramel but you will probably have a completely different experience!

In a word…. Again there is no way I can sum this wine up in just one word. But if I had to pick one…. precise .

Moment or mood… Again with a a really close friend (or two) who really loves champagne (love you TC!)

Where to find it…  $109 (right now on sale but usually $120) from Princes Wine Store… such amazing value for the quality of this champagne!

That’s a wrap on my long weekend champagnes for 2020. Make sure you check out my posts from other years below. 

Top 5 ‘Straya Day Champagnes from 2017 which still stand as legit awesome options! This post was my second ever ‘top five’ blog post and my ode to the Australia Day long weekend (or ‘Straya Day as we tend to say) and Aussies loving champagne.

And my Super Summer long weekend champs list from 2018. ‘Straya Day is the last long weekend of the Aussie summer so it’s hot and (usually sunny), so these champs are all big chardonnay blends to cool you down for all your BBQ’s, pool parties, picnics, cricket, music countdowns, and rock concerts… which all require champagne!

Try these champs and let me know what you think!  Or what other champagne will you be drinking this long weekend? Comment below or over on the socials tagging @bubbleandflute and #champagnelongweekend #frenchaustraliaday #champagneanyday #bubbleandflute

Bubble & Flute promotes the responsible consumption of alcohol for individuals of legal drinking age in their country.