NV Monmarthe “Secret de Famille 1er Cru Brut”, Champagne, France (Alcohol 12.4%, Residual Sugar 12 g/L) LCBO Vintages $47.95 (750ml bottle)

What with a bottle of that pinnacle of pre-meditated fizzy mediocrity that is Veuve Cliquot running you a shocking $72.90 a bottle these days, this stylish new LCBO Vintages addition is a must-purchase if you enjoy your bubbles.

This superb sparkler has been on the lists of some of Ontario’s more discerning restaurants for some time, but its release on March 16th is the very first time it has been available through the LCBO. I’m can say with some certainty that this allocation will sell out quite rapidly as it already has quite a following amongst those who follow such things, so I’d suggest you try to grab it while you can.

Composed of Pinot Noir (40%), Pinot Meunier (40%), and Chardonnay (20%), and aged two years on lees, this “Secret de Famille” bottling delivers classic traditional Champagne character at a price point that’s undeniably wallet-friendly.

It’s a surprisingly complex and powerful animal on the nose, with all those delightfully layered toasty notes reminiscent of just-baked Tarte Tatin, oven-warm rhubarb crumble, and hazelnut tuile biscuits cooling on a wire rack. In the mouth the fine micro-boules give the crème a rich texture that almost slips this ostensibly dry, crisp wine into off-dry territory, but the acidity is decidedly firm and perfectly in balance with the house dosage. 

What an excellent bottle of extremely well-crafted Champagne.

(Four and a half apples out of a possible five)

Jamie Drummond

Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And this is some fantastically priced fizz.