A decent supermarket bubbly, a classy Ruinart and a brilliant, full-throated fizz from Larmandier-Bernier
Sainsbury's Blanc de Noirs Champagne Brut, France NV (£22.25) If Wimbledon, as Guardian sports writer Barney Ronay put it last summer, is "basically a picnic that got out of hand", then the drink in the hamper is most definitely champagne. Even if you're recreating the experience at home, bubbles are a better match for the punnet of pick-your-own than the murky salad-in-a-glass (aka homemade Pimm's). Not cheap, but then for the price (near enough) of a flute of fizz in an SW9 food court, you can have a whole bottle of Sainsbury's refined and savoury own-label white sparkler made by Duval-Leroy from black grapes pinot meunier and pinot noir.
Ruinart Blanc de Blancs NV (£41.68, Majestic) Most of the supermarkets do a good job with their own-label champagnes, perhaps because they put the real dross in over-priced pseudo brands destined for huge discounts. As a rule of thumb, I'd avoid any unfamiliar fizz on a half-price deal in the supermarkets – the very definition of a false economy – and accept that quality in campagne, for whatever reason (the region's reputation, basically) starts around £20, and that for the really classy stuff – such as this consistently gorgeous, silky, fine all-chardonnay from the reliable house of Ruinart – you're going to have to pay much more.
Champagne Larmandier-Bernier Terre de Vertus (£50, Berry Bros & Rudd) For most of the region's sparkling winemaking history, champagne was dominated by the big houses such as Moët and Lanson. They'd buy most of their grapes from growers, their reputation based entirely on their winemaking techniques (and marketing). As the idea of terroir – that a wine might reflect the precise spot where the grapes come from – took hold, so a number of small growers began to make their own wines. Today, these are among the most exciting in the region, and few are better than those from the brilliant Larmandier-Bernier, who created this full-throated fizz from their own single vineyard.
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