The opening of a bottle of Champagne conjures up images of celebration and special occasions. There are a few main styles to choose from - the most usual is NV (or non-vintage) that signifies a producer is aiming for a distinct house style, such as richness in Bollinger or Pol Roger, or freshness in Lanson. If a Champagne is labelled simply as 'Brut', it is most likely made with a combination of the three noble grape varieties: Champagne, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, while a 'vintage' Champagne express the conditions of a specific year, such as the excellent 2009. When Blanc de Blancs (white of white) appears on the label, it means the Champagne is made exclusively with pale-skinned Chardonnay grapes. Traditionally this creates a Champagne with a light zesty flavour when young and wonderful buttery notes when aged. A Blanc de Noirs (white of black) means that one or both of the grapes are black-skinned varieties (Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier). Although still 'white' in colour, this style tends towards a fruitier character.
Whatever your preferred taste profile, and whatever your budget, there's sure to be a Champagne below for every occasion