Best Value Grower Champagne
The small, family-owned Baron Fuenté estate hit the bulls-eye with this complex, energetic bottling which has swooped up top marks from wine critics coast to coast—and all at half the price of standard grower-Champagnes. At $24.99, this may be the best value Champagne on the market. Today, it’s available on Wine Access at the best price in America.
But you don’t have to take our word for it: Wine & Spirits rated this golden bubbly a “Best Buy,” praising the Gran Reserve as “delicious,” and “compelling.” Meanwhile, Wine Enthusiast called it an “attractive” bottle with “zesty acidity.” Wine Spectator chimed in with “elegant and mouthwatering,” scoring it 91 points—a mark that puts this budget bottle in the same category as Champagnes two or three times the price, like Delamotte ($84), Gimonnet ($70), and Jacquesson ($90).
A grower-Champagne with three centuries of history on the hallowed limestone hills of Charly-sur-Marne, the Baron-Fuenté NV Grand Reserve Brut is an unbeatable value, with fleshy, supple bubbles that dance between flavors of pear, peach, and redcurrant before giving way to rich, toasty notes of fresh brioche and buttery shortbread.
Today, the driving forces behind the 90-acre estate are siblings Sophie and Ignace Baron, who toil in the domaine’s dark cellars and chalky vineyards. For most of the estate’s history the family sold their bottlings locally, but in recent decades the next generation has taken an aggressive expansion approach, snapping up vineyards and taking control of production from field to glass—a rarity in value bottlings in Champagne. The domaine is situated smack in the center of their vineyards in the village of Charly-sur-Marne, where the marl, clay, and sandy soils of the village provide the perfect home for Pinot Meunier.
Dominated by Pinot Meunier, the Grand Réserve Brut is a soft, supple bottling that combines the region’s three most popular grape varieties in a wine with dazzling flavor and exceptional balance. Pinot Meunier makes up 60% of the blend with the remainder split between Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Pinot Meunier-based Champagnes are known for their juicy fruit, delicacy, and immediate drinkability. The Grand Réserve bottling is based on 40% reserve wine dating back to 2009. The blend is disgorged every month—that way the Champagne remains fresh, with aromas of shortbread cookie and brioche.
With value and complexity in spades, this Grand Reserve Brut is a bottling that’s destined to disappear. Today, we’ve hand-wrapped the best estate-grown Champagne we could find, coming directly to our shores from the estate’s French stronghold in perfect condition, at the best price you’ll find outside of France.