What is a Prestige Cuvée Champagne?
6th July 2023
Though understanding Champagne labels might not be the easiest exercise, it will certainly pay you back well to gain a basic understanding into the information that they share and to have yourself knowledge of the key words. Not only can Champagne labels tell us who the producer is, we can also gather the style by sugar levels, the quality by cru standard, codes to realise production methods, the age by vintage or specific blends and we can also spot which bottles are the most sought after.
One of the key phrases to seek on a Champagne bottle is the wording ‘Prestige Cuvée / Cuvée Prestige‘ which really speaks for itself in that it signifies it as being of high quality. Very few bottles will hold the title of Prestige Cuvée and it is reserved for the very best and / or the rarest release from a Champagne House. Though many will think that Champagne is all about vintages and here is where the collectability and demand lays, in fact Prestige Cuvées will be rarer and in most cases offer far superior flavours.
Comparing Vintage Champagne to Prestige Cuvée, both are seen within the professional wine circles as the best examples from this wine region though Prestige Cuvées can be up to twice or even more the price of Vintage! Not only are they higher in price, Prestige Cuvée will also likely be rarer in that the Champagne will contain the finest of grapes from the very best parcels of land (vineyards) so that the production level will be very low. A Vintage Champagne will simply refer to a single harvest of grapes used to make the blend from one year only thus when a ‘vintage’ is declared, the production levels will still be somewhat high.
“It pays you to look out for Prestige Cuvée on a label of Champagne though do note that not all Champagne Houses will use the wording, more so they do not need to in that the label should speak for itself. With Prestige Cuvées you are getting the very best Champagne as determined by the winery and / or wine maker which will in most occasions will top the experience from a vintage. They are seen as the connoisseur’s wine and usually will be tied to a declared vintage year such as Louis Roederer’s Cristal.” – Christopher Walkey
As the phrase is not classified and no details can be researched to decide what quantifies a wine to be titled with it, it really is down to the wine maker / wine house to use the term as the see fit. The term is also used within other wines and regions / countries, though for many in the world of bubbly it’ll relate to Champagne.
The top Champagne houses will each have their Prestige Cuvée with some taking a whole new name and branding so to separate it from their main portfolio, such examples include:
Champagne Moët & Chandon using Dom Pérignon
Champagne Louis Roederer using Cristal
Champagne Piper-Heidsieck using Rare
There are also Champagne houses happy to lead with their brand name yet select equally famous titles to highlight their most prestigious label including:
Champagne Laurent-Perrier with the label name of Grand Siècle
Champagne Perrier-Jouët using the label name of Belle Epoque
Champagne Taittinger using the label name of Comtes de Champagne
Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.