Fantastic fizz: 12 of the best cheap Champagnes

Cheap and cheers-ful, Champagnes that taste great and won't break the bank

Updated on 23 January 2020 • Written By Deborah Reda

Fantastic fizz: 12 of the best cheap Champagnes

Most people would agree that Champagne still reigns supreme when it comes to sparkling wines, in spite of the rise in people drinking prosecco and English sparkling wine. If you ask us, there’s no better way to celebrate a momentous occasion than by popping the cork off a bottle of bubbly, and it really is best if that bubbly is proper Champagne. 

Whether it’s right that Champagne is seen as a luxury in a way that other sparkling wines are not isn’t for us to say, but Rome wasn’t built in a day and the Champenois have invested hundreds of years of time and money into educating consumers into the unique virtues of Champagne and protecting its name. And while it’s generally true that with luxury items like Champagne, you do tend to get what you pay for, that doesn’t mean anything under £50 is going to taste like hairspray – far from it –  which is where this guide comes in. 

We’ve tasted our way through the best Champagnes under £40 (cue jokes about what a tough gig this job is) and come up with this list of what we consider to be the best cheap Champagne on the market right now. And we’d like to stress that when we say ‘cheap’, we don’t mean low-quality or mediocre-tasting – this is SquareMeal after all – we mean affordable luxury for those who still want something wonderful to drink, without having hundreds to drop on a bottle of expensive Champagne

Most of the Champagnes in our round-up are non-vintage which, in case you’re wondering, means that the grapes used are from more than one year’s harvest, allowing the Champagne house to balance the flavours from one year to another and produce their signature house style. They are more commonly available, but not necessarily less flavourful than vintage Champagnes. As the proof of the pudding is always in the tasting, we recommend you check out as many of these bottles as your wallet allows.   

 

Marquis de Pomereuil Champagne

What: Made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, this floral Champagne pairs particularly well with smoked salmon, so if you’re putting on a boozy brunch or a Champagne and canapé reception, it’s an excellent choice. At the time of writing it's currently on special offer making it the cheapest Champagne on this list and a real bargain!
Where to buy it: M&S
Price: £17.34

 

Piper-Heidsieck Champagne Brut

What: This award-winning Champagne is fresh, light and bursting with zingy citrus flavours. The brand is synonymous with precise wine-making and its classic structure delivers a nutty nose together with citrus and pear flavours on the palate. This Champagne works well as an aperitif but on account of its roundness in the mouth, amplified by ageing on the lees and the inclusion of reserve wines, it’s a versatile accompaniment to food too.
Where to buy it: The Whisky Exchange
Price: £24.95

 

Tesco Finest Vintage Champagne

What: If we’re being snobbish or just wanting that bit of extra cachet, we’d choose a longstanding Champagne house over a supermarket’s own label, but Tesco’s Finest Vintage Champagne has won so many accolades over the years that it seemed unfair to leave it off this list. Made from Chardonnay grapes alone, it’s crisp and dry with delightful citrus notes. 
Where to buy it: Tesco
Price: £26

 

Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Reserve NV

What: This best-selling retail wine ticks a lot of boxes. The palate is distinguished by notes of pear and apricot combined with toasty richness and a slight honeyed sweetness. A combination of ageing on lees and cellar-ageing adds complexity that you don’t always associate with Champagne at this price point.
Where to buy it: Waitrose Cellar
Price: £26.99

 

Ayala Brut Majeur

What: Beautifully dry and fresh, Ayala’s delicately pale Brut Majeur, made by Champagne Bollinger, fizzes with notes of citrus, apple and honey. It’s won plenty of awards for everything from its refreshing taste to its value for money and continues to be one of the most popular Champagnes for those looking to celebrate a special occasion without spending a fortune.
Where to buy it: Waitrose Cellar
Price: £29.99

 

Canard-Duchene Cuvée Léonie Brut NV

What: There’s a surprising depth and maturity about Canard-Duchene’s Cuvée Léonie – maybe on account of its decent slug of reserve wines – while attractive toasty and slightly spicy aromas lead into a palate that sparkles with bright, ripe orchard fruit. The Cuvée Léonie Collection has been crafted specifically to complement food and this wine certainly demonstrates great versatility with the likes of chicken, seafood and cheese.
Where to buy it: The Champagne Company
Price: £34.50

 

Louis Roederer Brut Premier NV

What: Not quite as special as its Cristal 2008 Vintage Champagne, but not far off and, for the price, it’s an exceptional buy. The purity of the grapes combined with a full three-years ageing on lees and a good dollop of reserve wines express themselves in a wine of outstanding finesse. Notes of fruit, nuts and toast meld with a delightful creaminess to deliver both richness and freshness all in one glass. Add in organic and bio-dynamic credentials and a rather lovely gift box for the complete package.
Where to buy it: Majestic Wine
Price: £34.99

 

Drappier Carte d’Or Brut NV Champagne

What: Drappier’s NV Champagne is a bundle of class and good value thanks to its complex mix of red fruits, quince and spice. It’s made up almost entirely of Pinot Noir grapes from the Côte des Bar, 20% of which are reserve wines, which together mean a fuller-bodied wine that’s great with or without food. A terrific wine packed with moreish complexity.
Where to buy it: The Whisky Exchange
Price: £37.95

 

Billecart Salmon Brut Reserve

What: Exceptionally elegant, Billecart Salmon’s Brut Reserve is a wonderful entry point to this distinguished house. The combination of three vintages and three grape varieties (Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay) results in a crisp blend of apple, citrus and stone fruit flavours, a hint of brioche on the nose, and a long finish. If you’re out to impress, this will not disappoint.
Where to buy it: Drink Supermarket
Price: £37.99

 

Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label

What: Who doesn’t like the classy ‘yellow label’ branding? But make no mistake that the substance fully matches the style. Grapes from as many as 60 different Crus – including those from high-end reserve wines – go into the blending of Veuve Clicquot’s Brut Yellow Label. There’s power combined with freshness, aromatic intensity mixed with balance, vibrancy with richness, and the purity of yellow and white fruits is matched with vanilla-inflected toastiness.
Where to buy it: Tesco
Price: £39

 

Laurent-Perrier La Cuvee Brut NV Champagne

What: Laurent-Perrier is one of the largest family-owned Champagne houses for good reason: they know a thing or two about producing top-quality Champagne. Experts consistently praise the balance, finesse and freshness of Laurent-Perrier’s non-vintage Champagne, which is why so many five-star hotels serve it as their go-to aperitif fizz. Delicate citrus white flowers and fresh laundry on the nose lead into an expressive palate of juicy Granny Smith apples and creaminess.
Where to buy it: Ocado
Price: £40

 

Pommery Brut Royal

What: Beautifully presented, this Champagne is at the upper limit of what you could call ‘cheap’, but watch out in retailers like Majestic for 6-bottle case discounts and promotions. Light and delicate yet also lively, the dominance of Chardonnay in the Pommery Brut Royal brings out notes of delicate white fruit and flowers and a discreet breadiness. The palate of apples, pears, lemons and a steely core delivers generosity and finesse in equal measure, and there’s a soft creamy finish.
Where to buy it: Waitrose Cellar
Price: £40
 

Prefer your Champagne with a little colour to it? Check out our guide to the best pink Champagnes.

Additional words: Mark de Wesselow