Champagne Day: 96+ point wines to try

DWWA 2022 top champagne

Champagne needs little introduction, nor does it require a celebratory occasion to pop open — but this Champagne Day, held annually on the 4th Friday of October, we can think of a few exceptional examples worth discovering.

Year after year, results from the Decanter World Wine Awards attest to the quality of Champagne, and the 2022 competition was no exception with 11 Gold, seven Platinum and two Best in Show medals awarded to this classic region.

Champagne’s two Best in Show medal winners are of particular note: Telmont, Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut 2012 and Castelnau, Brut 2006. Both have seen plenty of cellar age, something that is particularly important when a restrained dosage takes the wine into the Extra Brut category, as it does for Telmont’s refined, pure-fruited Blanc de Blancs. Beautifully aged, Castelnau’s 2006 Brut underscores how the 2006 vintage in Champagne has a terrific amount of pleasure to offer.

Scroll down to see the top 12 Champagnes of DWWA 2022

Vintage Champagnes saw a majority of top medals awarded, with 13 of the top 20 (Gold, Platinum and Best in Show winners) awarded to sparkling wines from the 2007 vintage on. The 2012 vintage stands out with five Champagnes awarded 95+ points from this celebrated vintage.

Of the seven Platinum medal-winning wines, all receiving 97 points, two were awarded to non-vintage expressions: Georges de la Chapelle, Cuvée Nostalgie Brut and Pannier, Blanc Velours Brut. Fresh and elegant, Pannier’s Blanc Velours is lifted and floral, showing notes of acacia, tea, and jasmine on the finish, whereas George de la Chapelle’s Cuvée Nostalgie is more intense, with ripe toasty Chardonnay-led aromas followed by almond, red fruit and citrus flavours.

Below find the 12 highest scoring Champagnes, well worth discovering, from the 2022 Decanter World Wine Awards, with many more to discover on the DWWA results site here.

Champagne Day: 96+ point wines to try

Best in Show

Castelnau, Brut 2006

Best in Show, 97 points
Praise has been lavished on the 2008 Champagne vintage in recent years, and justly — but this beautifully aged Champagne also underscores how the 2006 vintage, here as elsewhere in France, has a terrific amount of pleasure to offer. The colour has yet to deepen towards gold, and for the time being keeps its bright straw allure; the aromas are rich, bready, enticing and refined, beginning to show the harmony of age. It’s pure and structured on the palate, clearly built on fine Meunier and Pinot Noir, with Chardonnay adding grace notes and charm. The dosage is sagely discreet: cellar time as much as grams of sugar give the wine its finishing roundness and poise. Alc 12.5%

Telmont, Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut 2012

Best in Show, 97 points
Refined and pure-fruited Blanc de Blancs. The pale straw gold of its colour is just beginning to deepen, and the wine has a restrained aromatic profile of white nectarine and peach,with the cream of lost lees smoothing its journey in the glass. In the mouth, it is intense, long, searching and pure, all sap and sinew at first; give it time, and you’ll see those early-season summer fruits begin to smile shyly despite the wine’s dry force. Alcohol 12%


Chapuy, Unique Oger Chardonnay Brut Nature Grand Cru 2014

Platinum, 97 points
Deep and powerful, yet airborne and alive. The restrained aroma develops and opens to offer white flowers, lemon blossom, balm, and a light touch of nuts. The palate shows delicious lemon, apple, and melon, with some bright exotic details. The mineral-dry, biscuity finish shows an accent of fresh almond. Alc 12.5%

Charles Ellner, Séduction Brut 2007

Platinum, 97 points
Tight and lean with a delightful linear texture. The nose is pure umami with super-rich yeast overlaying a spine of lime cordial. The electric-acid palate is almost unyielding, with austere baked apples, oysters, chalk, and a pickled lemon note. Mouthwatering, crisp, cleansing. Needs time. Alc 12%

Georges de la…

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Champagne Day: 96+ point wines to try  
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