Supermarket’s bubbly deemed as good as Mumm and best value for Christmas
Co-op’s own-brand champagne is as good as Mumm Cordon Rouge and better than Moët & Chandon, according to tests by Which? naming it as the best value deal for Christmas bubbly.
The Co-op Les Pionniers NV champagne sells for £19, almost half the price of a bottle of Moët, but scored joint top with Mumm Cordon Rouge in blind tests by Which? experts.
Bargain hunters should steer clear of Spar’s “bland” £17.50 bottle of Marquis Belrive, however. It scored lowest in the tests, undertaken by a panel of masters of wine.
The cheapest supermarket champagne for 2018 is sold by Lidl and Aldi, which both have bottles priced at £12. Which? said that in its tests Lidl’s Comte de Senneval Brut and Aldi’s Veuve Monsigny were “commendable but did not make it into the top flight”.
The Co-op’s champagne scored 78% in the tests, replacing last year’s winner from Waitrose at the top of the table. The wine experts described it as “elegant and well-balanced”, commending its flavour as intense and reminiscent of honeycomb and nectarines.
The Les Pionniers champagne is made for Co-op by Piper Heidseick – which normally sells for £30 upwards in UK supermarkets. Co-op said that after winning the accolade it expects sales to soar by 300%.
Harry Rose, editor of Which? magazine, said: “We’re delighted to be raising a glass this Christmas to an excellent best-buy champagne for less than £20, proving that you don’t have to pay through the nose for delicious fizz.”
The Imperial Brut from Moët & Chandon, the best selling champagne brand in the world, scored relatively high overall, but the was found to be slightly “less sophisticated” than the Co-op bottle. Most of the panel thought the Moët was a “nice, buttery champagne”, but one found it “dull and earthy”.
However the biggest supermarket Christmas drinks battle is likely to be over prosecco, with deals starting from little more than £5. Which? will release its scorings for sparkling wine next week, but there are already signs that Britain may have passed peak prosecco.
The British drank 34.4m gallons of sparkling wine last year, but the growth in sales of prosecco has slowed markedly, with drinkers switching to £10 bottles of Crémant de Loire as a cheap alternative to champagne.
The fall in sterling has also handed a Brexit bonus to English sparkling wines, with many considered to match premium French champagnes in quality but are now priced the same or less.
English winemakers enjoyed a bumper harvest after this year’s long hot summer, with grape yields soaring, and the promise of a great vintage to come.