The festive season is nearly upon us. The period of parties, family gatherings and celebrations. Christmas parties, Christmas meals and New Year. Bottles of bubbly never go amiss at this time, especially the luxurious treat of Champagne. So, why not also give a bottle of Champagne as a gift?
We discussed styles of Champagne in our blog post just before International Champagne Day, so what else should you be thinking about when buying a bottle of Champagne as a gift?
Here are some tips to help you make your choice.
Blanc de Blancs, Blanc de Noirs or Rosé
If you are buying it as a gift for an individual, then you’ll need to consider their taste and whether they prefer lighter or more robust styles. Choose a Blanc de Blancs made from 100% Chardonnay for someone who enjoys more delicate styles and a Blanc de Noirs made from red grapes Pinot Noir and/or Meunier for fans of more full-bodied, complex flavours. For rosé lovers, of course, a fruity rosé is in order.
Vintage or Non-Vintage
Depending on your budget – Vintage Champagnes are generally more expensive – you’ll also need to think about whether the recipient of your gift prefers more complex, toasty aromas – then a Vintage Champagne, made from the fruit of only one year, with its longer ageing and greater complexity will be just the ticket. However, if they prefer fruiter, more easy-drinking wines, then opt for a Non-Vintage Champagne, a blend of wines from several vintages.
Non-Dosé, Extra Brut or Brut
Most Champagne is made in a Brut style, so that is probably the safest choice if you don’t know your recipient well. However, if you know they like bone dry wines, you could opt for a non-Dosé, which has no added dosage, or an Extra Brut, which has lower dosage than a traditional Brut.
Grande Marque or Grower Champagne
You should also consider how wine or Champagne savvy the person is. If they are pretty switched on about Champagne, then an interesting grower Champagne might make a more personal gift. However, if this is not the case, it might be wise to play it safe and pick wine from a more familiar, better-known Champagne House.
Now the question here is what size bottle you should buy. Should it be a half-bottle? Probably not, as especially at this time of year, Champagne is a wine for celebration and sharing. A standard size bottle of delicious Champagne will probably keep most people happy. But, if you’re heading to a larger gathering with a bottle, you could consider taking a larger format with you. Next step up, at 1.5 litres is a magnum, usually enough to meet most needs. But did you know that you can also buy Champagne in increasingly large bottles, all with difficult to remember names. For example a Jeroboam clocks in at 3 litres, a Methuselah at 6 litres and a Balthazar at 12 litres, right up to a Melchizedek at 30 litres! You’d need quite a budget and some strength to pour that!