Guide des Meilleurs Vins de France: La Revue du Vin de France

Maybe the best ratings guide to Champagne and published each year. It’s in French, but if you don’t have much it’s not hard to follow this guide. Its value is its much more objective inclusion of the small single estates and domaines (what the Brits call (a bit misleadingly) ‘grower’ champagne, alongside the big houses often dubbed ‘grandes marques’. This is gold dust for UK champagne lovers who have to suffer the marketing dominance of the big brands on our market and the neglect of single estates by most wine critics, something unique to the UK. All the other major Champagne importing countries take far greater proportions of single estate champagne, even if overall the ‘grande marque’ behemoths take the bulk.

It’s easy to order on Amazon, especially if you can handle the French Amazon site. Of course, you get a guide to all French vino, not just Champagne, whose section is less than 50 pages, but that’s not a bad thing. All of their rated Champagne producers are available in the UK market. The guts of the Champagne survey ranks producers from 4* to 1* and then there’s a coveted, ‘getting there’ bunch added on the end, all of whom, one assumes have a fighting chance of gertting into the star sections in the near future. The stars are not handed out over-generously, just 56 get stars, with 23 in the end-list of up and comers. Then for each listing, the main wines of the range are rated (their current cuvées) on a 100 point scale. I hope it’s not a spoiler to tell you that the very top (just two) 4* spots are taken by: Krug, and Jacques Selosse. For the rest – get the book!