There’s a lot of pressure (pun intended) that comes with choosing the right bottle of bubbly to kick off the new year. From nonvintage Champagne for every budget to splurge-worthy Champagnes to add to your cellar, there is a ton of variety out there.
Need help navigating it all? Our wine tasting experts break down everything you need to know about the best Champagne bottles to pop this New Year’s Eve, plus some intel on what Champagne is (to sound smart at your New Year’s shindig), how to properly open a bottle (so you won’t injure anyone with an exploding cork) and so much more. With our help, you’re sure to have the perfect sip when the clock strikes midnight.
What Is Champagne?
Champagne is a sparkling wine from the Champagne region of northern France that uses the traditional method of fermentation to achieve bubbles. It is most commonly made from a mixture of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, but the grape varieties in Champagne can vary. For more information on Champagne, check out our beginner’s guide to Champagne.
To make Champagne, a dry, high-acid wine (called the base wine) is combined with sugar and yeast before being bottled and sealed. A second fermentation takes place in the sealed bottle, and the resulting carbon dioxide dissolves within the wine and creates bubbles. This also adds additional alcohol to the wine and yeasty, bread-like flavors.
The winemaker then removes the remaining sediment of yeast from the bottle and tops the liquid with a mixture of additional wine and sugar. The bottle is then resealed ahead of sale.
Champagne bottles that are labeled “nonvintage” have a mix of vintages to achieve a specific flavor. In contrast, a wine may be labeled simply “vintage” when it is made from exceptional grapes from one particular vintage. Some are labeled “multi-vintage,” which you can read about here. For more details about reading a Champagne label, you can check out our guide here.
Whether you’re popping bubbly as soon as the clock strikes midnight or pouring mimosas first thing in the morning for New Year’s Day brunch, read on for the best Champagne bottles to pop this year.
Best Overall: Louis Roederer 2014 Cristal Brut (Champagne)
97 Points Wine Enthusiast
Still young, with toast aromas and shining white-fruit flavors, the latest release of Cristal is just setting out. A dry, tight core of intense flavors are shot through with minerality from the pure chalk soil of the 45 individual parcels in the blend. Drink this wine from 2025. Organic. #1 Top 100 Cellar Selections 2022 —Roger Voss
Best Splurge: Salon 2012 Le Mesnil Blanc de Blancs Brut Chardonnay (Champagne)
99 Points Wine Enthusiast
As always, this exceptional Champagne, only released in top vintages, shows its rare qualities. Its poise between texture, acidity, intense aging ability and minerality are so right. It is ready to drink, but that would be a shame, because this wine will age so well. Drink from 2025. —R.V.
Best Budget Under $50: José Dhondt NV Brut Chardonnay (Champagne)
92 Points Wine Enthusiast
A crisp, still-young bottling, this is tightly textured with strong minerality from the Côte des Blancs. With intense acidity that will soften as the Champagne matures, this is full of potential. Drink the bottling from later this year. —R.V.
Best Brut Rosé: Delamotte NV Rosé Brut (Champagne)
92 Points Wine Enthusiast
A crisp Champagne veering towards dryness, this is textured, with a touch of red fruits set alongside the citrus flavors. The wine is so fresh, so light and poised. Drink the bottling now. —R.V.
Best Blanc de Blancs: Charles Heidsieck 2007 Blanc de Millénaires Brut Chardonnay (Champagne)
97 Points Wine Enthusiast
One of the great Blanc de Blancs Champagnes, this wine only hints of its age and maturity. Up front, the wine has layers of white fruits and a steely texture. It is behind those features that the brioche and almond character begins to show. This is a wonderfully balanced wine, ready to drink now. Cellar Selections —R.V.
Best Blanc de Noirs: Philipponnat 2016 Blanc de Noirs Extra Brut Pinot Noir (Champagne)
94 Points Wine Enthusiast
As is proper for Blanc de Noirs, the Champagne has a textured edge that comes from the fruit tannins. It also has some really fine white fruits, and the crispest acidity—both promising a long-term future. Drink from 2026. —R.V.
Best Vintage Champagne: Taittinger 2008 Comtes de Champagne Grands Crus Blanc de Blancs Brut Chardonnay (Champagne)
97 Points Wine Enthusiast
Coming entirely from Grand Cru vineyards in the Côte des Blancs, the new release of this famous Champagne is from a top vintage year. The wine is at perfect maturity, poised between crisp, taut minerality and wonderful toastiness. It is intense, beautifully clear and limpid, a great Champagne. It is ready to drink now and for many years to come. Cellar Selection —R.V.
Best Multivintage Champagne: Krug NV Grande Cuvée 170ème Edition Brut (Champagne)
96 Points Wine Enthusiast
The numbering indicates this is the 170th blending of this Champagne. This iteration has a fine poise—it’s mature and toasty on the one hand and offers rich fruit on the other. It is a finely balanced wine that is ripe and full in the mouth. Drink this beautiful wine now. —R.V.
Why You Should Trust Us
All products featured here are independently selected by our team, which is comprised of experienced writers and wine tasters and overseen by editorial professionals at Wine Enthusiast headquarters. All ratings and reviews are performed blind in a controlled setting and reflect the parameters of our 100-point scale. Wine Enthusiast does not accept payment to conduct any product review, though we may earn a commission on purchases made through links on this site. Prices were accurate at the time of publication.
Is Prosecco the Same as Champagne?
Both Prosecco and Champagne are sparkling wines, but they are quite different. Prosecco is a sparkling wine from northeast Italy made from the white grape Glera. It is typically made using the tank method of fermentation, where the wine is put into a sealed tank with yeast and sugar for the second fermentation. The wine is then bottled under pressure and sealed with a cork and wire cage. This allows for the wine to maintain the base wine’s flavors, without adding any additional characteristics. Prosecco is often light to medium-bodied, dry to off-dry and has flavors of apple and melon.
In comparison, Champagne, as mentioned previously, is made in France using the traditional method and from a different variety of grapes.
Does Champagne Go Bad?
Knowing how to properly store wine is important. Prior to opening, keep your Champagne bottle in a cool, dark spot out of direct sunlight or harsh lighting. It should not appear foggy or hazy, it should taste crisp and fresh without the flavor of vinegar and there shouldn’t be any residue floating in the bottle when opened.
Like any wine, proper storage after opening is key to keeping your bottle last past the night it’s popped. Store Champagne in the fridge for two to three days after opening and consider using a sparkling wine stopper or metal cork to retain as much of the effervescence as possible. And if your Champagne does go bad, there is plenty you can do with leftover Champagne.
How Do You Open Champagne?
If you’re wondering how to open a Champagne bottle, remove the foil and loosen the wire cage wrapped around the cork. As soon as these have been removed, you’ll want to keep the cork covered with your hand for safety.
Next, hold the bottle at an angle with the cork in one hand and the base in the other. Begin to turn the base of the bottle slowly while maintaining a firm grip on the cork. The cork will then loosen, and the pressure will force the cork out with a “phut” sound. No wine lost!
Finally, serve Champagne well chilled (about 43 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit) and pour into a flute or tulip-shaped glass made for sparkling wines. The best Champagne temperature does vary slightly based on your personal preferences and what you’re serving it with. If you are considering decanting Champagne, read up on why you should or shouldn’t here.
How Many Glasses of Champagne Are in a Bottle?
The amount of Champagne glasses you can get from a bottle varies based on how much wine you’re pouring per glass. For a standard 750 ml bottle of wine, you’ll get about five five-ounce glasses of wine.