I’m Aidy Smith, wine columnist for The Independent, co-presenter of The Three Drinkers TV Series on Amazon Prime and Global Brand Ambassador for the world’s largest wine marketplace, Vivino. I’ve travelled the globe in search for the world’s best wines across all price spectrums, grape varieties and styles. From the weird to the wonderful, it’s been in my glass and I’m delighted to offer my wines of wisdom to help complete your next adventure.
As spring flurries into action, it won’t be long before the sun is shining, the anchor's aweigh and we embark on those trips we’ve waited all year to begin. Sea breezes, sunsets and starlit nights call for a glass in hand and in this Horizons, I’ll be showcasing some of my top choices from the vino-world as you embark on your voyage. Below we'll look at the best champagnes, white wines are here, red here, rosé here and even a few sweet wines.
Glasses at the ready!
BILLECART-SALMON BRUT ROSÉ
Sunshine, sea and sparkles, I’d say those three words work very well together. Below you’ll find a selection of some of my highest-rated champagnes that you shouldn’t find too difficult to get your hands on. From creamy vanilla and white pepper to exuberantly fresh raspberries, there’s a little something for everyone.
Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé - Average Price €51
A stunning rosé champagne that is dripping with fresh strawberry, raspberry and red berries picked straight from the forest. There’s a kick of citrus and zest that comes into play to give that perfect refined freshness we love to experience in champagne. It looks great, it tastes even better.
DOM PÉRIGNON P2 2000
Average Price €349
The iconic emblem of the champagne world, Dom Perígnon P2 is a selection of the finest years this house offers, bottled up in true stunning form. Think caramelised brioche on the nose with baked apricots, bergamot and a smoky white pepper. A taste will reveal more of this creamy white pepper, alongside a distinct orange-rind bitterness that combines with toasted coconut and bread-and-butter pudding.
LAURENT-PERRIER GRAND SIÈCLE
Average Price €118
As a champagne house, I’m always drawn to Laurent-Perrier as a purveyor of top quality and their Grand Siècle is no exception to that rule. This delight opens up with fresh Danish pastries, strawberries and a distinct nuttiness that follows through with a dash of honey. Textured, fresh and incredibly pleasing on the palate.
POL ROGER CHURCHILL
Average Price €130
The gemstone offering from Pol Roger is named after Churchill, who was a frequenter of this house’s treats himself. Luminous bubbles stream from the glass with a luscious floral erupting from within. Baked brioche, toffee and hazelnuts ooze from the glass with dried apricots, orange zest and a delicate caramel flourishing across the mouth with a burst of grapefruit and baked pineapple to round things out. Bedazzling, sophisticated and sensual. Cheers Churchill!
Average Price €160
Cristal has an exemplary reputation for a reason – it is a stunning champagne. Each vintage offers something slightly different and the 2008 is as iconic as ever. Its slight green-orange tint paves the way for an incredibly lively treat within. Notes of sugar-coated citrus, fresh pear, crisp apple and a floral burst greet you on the nose, a little pollen also finding its way into the picture. The taste is incredibly complex and textured with a refreshing burst of stone fruits, gentle citrus and a creamy white pepper.