With more than 300 producers listed in France, it is not always easy to choose a brand of champagne as there are so many houses and varieties. Likewise, we are often faced with a dilemma: should we turn to champagne brands whose reputation is well established or dare to discover the products of small producers?
To help you as best as possible in your choice, we have decided to present to you 10 major brands of French champagne before sharing with you the advantages of choosing champagnes from winegrowers.
- The great French champagne houses
- The good deal: winegrowers’ champagnes
The great French champagne houses
Champagne Houses are companies specializing in the production, development and marketing of champagnes throughout the world. They are based in the Champagne region of France, where they produce their vintages using traditional methods specific to this wine region.
They often have their own vineyards in Champagne, allowing them to produce part of the grapes necessary for their vintages. They are renowned for their talent in the art of assembly because, remember, they mix different base wines from different grape varieties (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier) and different years to create harmonious and balanced vintages and guarantee their customers the unique taste of their product.
Champagne Houses are often associated with prestigious and luxurious and well-established brands, which allows them to have international visibility. They distribute their champagnes throughout the world, either directly to customers or through distributors and wine merchants. They generally offer a varied range of vintages, ranging from non-vintage Brut champagne to vintage vintages, including Rosé champagnes and Prestige Cuvées.
Some brands of champagne have existed for several centuries, others are very recent but in any case, Champagne Houses ship more than two thirds of Champagne sales and more than 85% of total exports (to 200 countries).
There is no official and universal classification of Champagne Houses. The perception and evaluation of champagne brands can vary depending on personal taste and quality criteria.
However, certain Champagne Houses are often considered as references of quality and world renown because they have managed over time to stand out and make their brand Champagne Houses recognized for their know-how and the constant quality of their vintages. They are also often associated with the French art of living and symbolize elegance and refinement.
So what are the 10 most popular brands of famous champagne, produced in the region?
Moët & Chandon & Dom Pérignon
Moët & Chandon is one of the most famous and emblematic champagne houses in the world, recognized for its know-how, excellence and the consistent quality of its champagnes.
Founded in 1743 by Claude Moët, the house is located in Épernay. It has extensive vineyards and its supply of high quality grapes is ensured by contracts with wine growers in the region.
Moët & Chandon offers a range of renowned champagnes, including the famous “Moët Impérial” vintage, which is its non-vintage Brut champagne. We can also name the prestigious vintage “Dom Pérignon”, from the same vines, but produced only in the best years. 32 million bottles of champagne are sold per year.
Moët & Chandon is one of the market leaders and a major player in the champagne industry. It is part of the LVMH group (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton), one of the largest luxury groups in the world. with a turnover of 2,049.8 million euros.
In summary, Moët & Chandon embodies excellence and tradition in the world of champagne.
Veuve Clicquot is a famous champagne house based in Reims. Founded in 1772 by Philippe Clicquot-Muiron, it is today one of the most prestigious and recognized champagne houses throughout the world.
The house takes its name from the Clicquot widow, Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin, who took the reins of the company after the death of her husband in 1805. She played an essential role in the evolution of the house, notably by developing the riddling technique (turning the bottles) to eliminate yeast deposits, thus contributing to the creation of clearer and clearer champagnes.
Associated with refined luxury, its distinctive yellow label has become a recognizable symbol around the world. The most famous vintage is the “Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label”, which is a non-vintage Brut champagne highly appreciated for its elegance and consistent quality. The house also offers other prestigious vintages, notably “La Grande Dame” in homage to Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin.
The Veuve Clicquot house sells 16 million bottles of champagne per year and exports them to more than 150 countries. It also belongs to the LVMH group (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton), which is one of the largest luxury groups in the world and has a turnover of 2,049.8 million euros.
Note that the house continues to perpetuate its heritage of excellence, quality and innovation, making Veuve Clicquot a champagne brand marked by audacity and innovation.
Nicolas Feuillatte is a relatively young champagne house, founded in 1976 by Nicolas Feuillatte, a French businessman. This champagne house is located in Chouilly.
Unlike most major champagne houses, Nicolas Feuillatte is a cooperative. It brings together more than 4,500 independent winegrowers from the Champagne region who supply the grapes used to produce the house's vintages. This gives it a community and solidarity dimension.
The house offers a wide range of champagnes, ranging from non-vintage champagnes to vintage vintages, including Rosé champagnes and Prestige Cuvées. Their “Cuvée Brut Réserve” is one of their most popular vintages. Nicolas Feuillatte's champagnes are exported to more than 100 countries.
It should be noted that Maison Nicolas Feuillatte is committed to sustainable and environmentally friendly practices, particularly with regard to water, energy and waste management.
In short, the Nicolas Feuillatte champagne brand is appreciated for its consistent quality and its diversity of vintages. It's no surprise that 9 million bottles of champagne are sold during the year.
Mumm is a historic champagne house, founded in 1827 by the brothers Jacobus, Gottlieb and Philipp Mumm, who were originally from Germany and settled in Reims.
Mumm is part of the Pernod Ricard group, which is one of the leading players in the wine and spirits industry globally. With 97 million euros in turnover, Mumm sells around 7.8 million bottles of champagne per year.
One of its most emblematic vintages is the “Cordon Rouge”, a non-vintage Brut champagne recognizable by its emblematic red ribbon.
For the record, Mumm is often associated with sporting events and celebrations, notably as an official sponsor of Formula 1.
The Mumm house, often linked to the famous slogan “Mumm, the Champagne of the daring”, perpetuates its heritage of excellence and its spirit of innovation.
Laurent-Perrier is a prestigious champagne house founded in 1812 in Tours-sur-Marne by André Michel Pierlot. It was then taken over by Alphonse Pierlot, his son, who developed the company and gave it the name Laurent-Perrier in homage to his wife, Mathilde-Emilie Perrier.
Laurent-Perrier has remained a family-owned and independent champagne house since its creation. She is at the forefront of innovation in the champagne industry as she was the first to introduce a Rosé Saignée champagne, which allowed her to create elegant and refined rosés.
Furthermore, it is committed to sustainable and environmentally friendly practices, particularly with regard to the preservation of biodiversity and the reduction of its impact on the environment.
Laurent-Perrier offers a varied range of champagnes, including some emblematic vintages such as “Laurent-Perrier Brut” which is a non-vintage brut champagne., the “La Cuvée” which is a high-end cuvée, and the “Grand Siècle” which is a prestige cuvée.
Laurent-Perrier is considered one of the great quality champagne houses, with 7.4 million bottles of champagne sold per year.
Piper-Heidsieck is a renowned champagne house (with 141.2 million euros in turnover), founded in 1785 by Florens-Louis Heidsieck in Reims. In 1835, the house was renamed Piper-Heidsieck after the marriage of Henri-Guillaume Piper and Christiane-Charlotte Heidsieck.
The house sells around 5 million bottles of champagne per year by offering emblematic vintages such as the “Piper-Heidsieck Cuvée Brut” which is a non-vintage Brut champagne, and the “Piper-Heidsieck Rosé Sauvage” which is an intense and bold rosé but also prestigious vintages including the “Rare” which is produced only in the best years and which is considered one of the most prestigious vintages of the House.
Piper-Heidsieck continues to perpetuate its legacy of excellence and elegance, while creating bold and seductive champagnes.
The history of Pommery champagne dates back to 1836. It is a prestigious champagne house, based in Reims. In 1856, it was taken over by Alexandre Louis Pommery and Joseph-Narcisse Greno. After the premature death of her husband, Louise Pommery took over the management of the house and contributed to its expansion.
Pommery is famous for its chalk caves, which are old chalk quarries located beneath the city of Reims. These cellars offer ideal conditions for aging champagne. They have given rise to ranges of refined champagnes, one of the most famous vintages of which is the “Pommery Brut Royal”, a non-vintage Brut champagne highly appreciated for its elegance and balance.
In 2002, the Vranken group and the Pommery champagne house merged to form Vranken-Pommery Monopole. This merger allowed the two houses to combine their strengths and know-how, while preserving their distinct identities. Thus, 5 million bottles of champagne are sold per year for a turnover of 271.5 million euros.
Pommery is a premium champagne brand, appreciated for its elegance, quality and historical heritage.
Lanson is a renowned champagne house, founded in 1760 by François Delamotte in Reims under the name “Delamotte, Lanson et Cie”. It then took the name “Lanson” in the 19th century. Today, 4.5 million bottles of champagne are sold per year for a turnover of 255.4 million euros.
Lanson is renowned for its winemaking without malolactic fermentation. This method gives his champagnes a particular freshness and liveliness.
Lanson offers a range of quality champagnes, including the “Lanson Black Label” which is a non-vintage Brut champagne much appreciated for its fresh and lively style. For more than two centuries, Lanson has been recognized for its distinctive style, consistent quality and artisanal tradition.
Mercier is a champagne house founded in 1858 by Eugène Mercier in Épernay and belonging to the LVMH group. The founder of the house had an ambitious vision: to make champagne accessible to everyone. He was a pioneer in the use of bold and innovative advertising techniques to promote his champagnes.
Mercier has always been committed to offering quality champagnes at affordable prices, making it a popular choice for those looking to enjoy champagne without compromising quality. 4.3 million bottles of champagne are now sold per year with a turnover of 2,049.8 million euros.
Maison Mercier offers a range of quality champagnes, ranging from non-vintage Brut to Rosé and vintage vintages.
Since its beginnings, the Mercier house has been renowned for its innovative spirit and its ability to democratize champagne.
It is one of the oldest family champagne houses. It was founded in 1734 by Jacques Fourneaux in Reims but its name comes from Pierre Taittinger, who bought the house in 1932 and contributed to its expansion and international influence. With its 2 million bottles of champagne sold per year and a turnover of 155.9 million euros, Taittinger is a champagne house whose reputation is well established.
Taittinger has extensive vineyards in Champagne, some of which are classified as Grand Cru, which allows them to control the quality of the grapes used to make their champagnes.
Taittinger offers a range of refined champagnes, including some emblematic vintages such as “Taittinger Brut Réserve” which is a non-vintage brut champagne highly appreciated for its freshness and balance.
It is a premium champagne brand favored by champagne connoisseurs and lovers around the world.
The good deal: winegrowers’ champagnes
Beyond the famous champagne houses, choose small champagne producers can be an enriching experience and a very good alternative for several reasons:
- authenticity: Small champagne producers are often artisans who are passionate about their profession. They emphasize quality and tradition rather than large-scale production. Their champagne is the result of authentic craftsmanship and meticulous attention to detail.
- the discovery of unique vintages: Small producers generally have smaller vineyards and limited production, which allows them to create unique and original vintages. An opportunity to discover flavors and characteristics that stand out from major brands. You can discover new tastes, new names, and experiment with unexpected pairings with dishes.
- the direct relationship: Buying champagne from small producers can allow you to establish a direct relationship with them. You can get information about their production methods, their philosophy and their passion for champagne. This proximity can bring a human and personal dimension to your tasting.
- competitive prices: Champagnes from small producers can often offer excellent value for money. By avoiding the significant marketing costs of big brands, these producers can offer high quality champagnes at competitive prices.
This is what Maison De Lozey offers you located in Celles-sur-Ource. The independent family business perpetuates its artisanal know-how and makes a point of producing unique, quality champagnes. Thus, it has a wide range of champagnes which are worth a detour…
Some suggestions for champagnes to discover
The prestigious: The vintage of gentlemen is the result of meticulous work. It comes from a blend of the best wines from De Lozey. This characterful champagne offers a perfect balance between maturity and dynamism and will delight your tables on special occasions or memorable celebrations for less than €90.
The classic : The raw tradition is a safe bet. Slightly fruity, it is composed of 70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay, with a reserve wine of 15 years. It will charm your taste buds and those of your guests on every occasion.
L'original : The Sunday vintage is the most personal. It was created in memory of the De Lozey family's Sunday meals. With its original label and the finesse of its bubbles, it will also make yours unforgettable.
The refreshing: Saignée Rosé, 100% pinot noir, could also seduce you with its intense color and the sweetness of its taste.
Exclusivity: Pinot blanc is the latest limited edition from De Lozey. Exclusively blended from Pinot blanc, this round and fruity champagne offers a unique taste to accompany your culinary specialties.
You are now unbeatable on the 10 major French champagne brands!
However, it is important to note that the quality of winegrowers' champagnes, such as those from De Lozey, allow them to have their rightful place on our tables and are often great discoveries.
We now leave you with the pleasure of exploring different vintages and discovering those that bring you the most pleasure and wonder. Health !