No substitutes for this unique Champagne

NV Moutard, Champ Persin, Côte des Bar, Champagne, France

NV Moutard, Champ Persin, Côte des Bar, Champagne, France (£29.99, Askewine, 020-8746 1585; 

I don’t drink an awful lot of Champagne. I would rather seek out a great dry or even off-dry white wine at Champagne-o’clock with which to slake my thirst. Champagne is expensive – you could say that virtually every bottle of Champagne is a tenner more than it was a decade ago and I don’t want to spend a fortune on run-of-the-mill Champs. Comparing the price of Champagne with still wine, I am amazed I ever drink the stuff.

Of course, there are a handful of exceptions. I adore a few of the great houses and a few of the artisan producers, too. Moutard was not one of these until I tasted this wine a fortnight ago, but it is a remarkable wine and offers uncommon value.

From the southerly Côte des Bar region, with its riper fruit and bolder flavours, and made from 100% chardonnay, the key point here is that there is no malolactic fermentation employed, so the acidity is searingly dry. A dramatic finish is balanced by the lush palate. It is incredibly clever and I was amazed with the pleasure/tension flavour ratio that kept me heading back to the glass for more. This is one Champagne that offers a unique flavour and it should never be substituted with a still white wine!

• Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (


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