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It’s nearing the end of the year, and there’s no better way to celebrate the party season than with a glass of gorgeous bubbly!
There are lots of great deals in the supermarkets just now, as well as some top class Champagnes to pick from.
So whether you want to push the boat out, or watch the pennies, there’s a perfect bottle of fizz out there for you, and to help select the best ones around according to your budget, wine expert Tom Cannanan has selected three of his favourites.
1. Peckhams Champagne, £23.99 from Peckhams
This is Peckhams’ house Champagne, and it’s a very refined bubbly with a delicate fruity taste. Made by a very good small producer called Gardet, it is a blend of one-third each of the three Champagne grapes - Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier - from Premier and Grand Cru vineyards.
The Champagne, which spends five years in the cellars before being released, is available in 12 of Peckhams’ 13 stores across central Scotland. It is actually sold elsewhere under the label 'Gardet Brut Special', including as the house Champagne at the Dorchester in London!
It has nice light fruity flavours of apples, lemons and crusty bread.
2. Bollinger, Special Cuvée, Priced from £26.65 (from Majestic) -£37 (RRP) from Majestic, Oddbins, Waitrose, Tesco
'Bolly' is one of the world's most recognised Champagne names. Famously swigged down by Patsy and Edina in Absolutely Fabulous, it is actually one of Champagne's most complex wines.
Founded in 1829, part of the wine for Bollinger's Special Cuvee is aged in oak barrels, just like a top Burgundy wine, meaning the wine has extra richness and depth.
This Champagne has flavours of oranges, pears and digestive biscuits.
3. Perrier-Jouët, Belle Epoque 2002, priced from £75 (Majestic, just now) - £102.99, from Oddbins and Majestic
This is one of the world's most prestigious Champagnes, that comes in a beautiful hand-painted bottle, and in this case, also from a superb vintage as 2002 is a great year for Champagne.
From the finest Grand Cru vineyards, this wine is a special selection of the best grapes and is not made every year - only in the best years. It is released only after seven years ageing in the chalk cellars of Perrier-Jouët, so this wine is brand new to the market for Christmas 2009.
It is an intense yet delicate wine, with a fine balance between fruit and power, that will cellar for a decade or more - but is delicious now and makes the perfect gift or drink to serve at an elegant party!
This Champagne has flavours of toffee, cashew nuts, and lemons and limes.