98-pt Grower Champagne - July 17

(originally added in July 2017, amended in 2020)

Well, this is exciting!

We’re delighted to unveil Exel’s new Champagne: one that combines incredible quality and flavour with a staggeringly low price. If there is greater value in Champagne, we have yet to see it.

“Grower Champagne” - that produced, aged and sold by the vinegrowers themselves, rather than the household names of the Champagne “houses” – is very en vogue of late and seen as offering great quality and value for a product often thought of as unduly pricey. Decanter’s July edition reviews the entire arena – with their customary blind tasting - and the Pierre Bertrand Premier Cru emerges head-and-shoulders above its rivals with a 98-point score and super-rare “Exceptional” status. That Champagne Pierre Bertrand achieved this verdict with Premier Cru grapes at only just over £20/bottle - of the 100+ Champagnes reviewed, it was among the five most inexpensive - makes this quite remarkable. Chapeau, Pierre Bertrand. (The Decanter review appears on the product page - just click on the bottle below).

Champagne Pierre Bertrand is situated in the village of Cumières just 2 km from the Abbey of Hautvillers: the residence of that boozy, legendary monk of Champagne, Dom Perignon.  Champagne Pierre Bertrand is a family-run Champagne house which was started by Pierre Bertrand after inheriting some vines from his grandmother in 1944.  The first Pierre Bertrand Champagne was bottled in 1946 and they have been producing quality Champagne ever since. It is now Pierre's daughter, Thérèse Bertrand - and her husband Bernard - who run Champagne Pierre Bertrand alongside their son, ensuring it will pass to the next generation.

This, their Premier Cru Champagne combines all the classic Champagne flavours – acidity, citrus zest, brioche – with a rare ripeness and depth-of-flavour that we here at Exel have seldom seen, and never at this price. It has great florality and packs an intense punch of ripe stone fruit (peaches, nectarines, even damsons!), all accompanied with a lovely mousse and a carefully-judged Brut dryness (7g/litre for the technically-minded).

Overall, this is a fabulous Champagne for your summer (and beyond - Decanter see it as lasting until 2026!). We can only endorse Decanter’s verdict and encourage you to try it without delay. Enjoy!!

Champagne Pierre Bertrand

Brut Premier Cru NV


This is quite some Champagne and remarkable for the price (2020 note: we've had to push up the price owing to price rises at Bertrand and a falling exchange rate owing to Brexit and COVID19, but this remains true). Grapes are grown only on vineyards of Premier Cru vineyards (one expects easily to clear £30 a bottle for this privilege usually) on the Coteaux de Cumieres and Hautvillers in the Marne Valley, yielding surprising intensity and concentration.

One expects exhilarating acidity and and citrus zing in almost any Champagne - this does these in spades, but what makes it really stand out are both the ripeness of fruit flavours and the delicate florality of the nose. Pierre Bertrand see that fruitiness as “damson and pear” while we at Exel thought more “peach and nectarine”; either way, this is one seriously fruity mouthful. Florally, the makers go with “hawthorn flower” and we are not botanically inclined to disagree. At 7g/l of dosage/residual sugar, this is a drier Brut, but the fruit ripeness adds an exciting extra sensation of sweetness. Finally, Pierre Bertrand are rightly proud of their mousse onctueuse – smooth mousse – and we concur: it makes for a truly delicious Champagne experience.