Waitrose is tapping into the online market for fizz with a new service that started on Thursday (21 April) that allows customers to buy single bottles of champagne with free delivery. It’s offering an impressive range of 47 different lines — 42 champagnes and five English sparklers — through this new service with prices starting at £26.99 a bottle for Duval-Leroy’s Fleur de Champagne, while the most expensive bottle currently is a Salmanazar (equivalent to 12 standard bottles) of Bollinger Special Cuvée Brut NV at £675.
There are no Own Label champagnes or Waitrose exclusive labels and most of the wines are from the major houses. Among the initial attractive deals Pol Roger Brut Réserve is down from £39.99 to £29.99 a bottle (as in store currently), however even without a discount Nicolas Feuillatte’s Brut Chardonnay Vintage 2006, which shows a lovely developed mid-palate richness, looks like a good buy at the same price.
And for those who haven’t wanted to buy six bottles to try it, I can heartily commend Le Mesnil Blancs de Blancs Brut Vintage Grand Cru at £33.99. Annoyingly it doesn’t show the vintage of this wine, although the bottle shot says 2004 on the label. However, I suspect it is a more recent vintage as this top class quality co-operative has already released the 2005 and 2007 vintages (I’m checking with Waitrose). It doesn’t make bad wines, so these are both attractive options but if it is the ’04, as these wines age so well, that’s even more reason to buy. (It is the 2007 vintage).
At the higher price end you can purchase magnums of Louis Roederer Brut Premier for £79.99, with more bottle age than you get in 75cl this is on terrific form currently and both Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle at £99 and Taittinger Comtes de Champagnes Blanc de Blancs Vintage for £100 are well priced. Again Waitrose doesn’t give the vintage of the Taittinger, although I imagine it is the still pretty youthful 2006 release (Waitrose have confirmed it is the 2006). I am going to a vertical tasting of six different of Comtes de Champagne next week c/o The Finest Bubble — 1996, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006 and Rosé 2006 – so look out for that report.