When we heard Aldi were releasing more of the Monsigny Champagne, we had to get a bottle and see if it still lives up to the hype. Aldi have a reputation of selecting wonderful cheap, and very affordable, champagnes. Around holiday periods, they’ll often put a lot of thought into finding a good champagne for bulk purchase, so when they went for Monsigny Champagne again, we decided we had to get a crate in the FineWineMaster office and see if it still lives up to the hype.
In past reviews, Monsigny has been frequently noted as far outclassing those in it’s price category, and even competing with (and beating) more classic brands of champagne such as Laurent Perrier and Veuve Clicquot. However, with a price point closer to 1/2 or even 1/3 of these classic brands, you’re potentially looking at a wine which can both out-class and out-price the solid players in the industry – that’s a rare quality.
Past the affordable price though, what really matters is taste. There have been a number of ‘affordable’ champagnes to hit the markets in recent years, and it’s been made abundantly clear that typically, price does matter.
However, and this is vital, we’d like to stress that this is not always the case. We have had some incredible wines which are very affordable, and some truly awful wines which cost in the hundreds. Price might be an indicator, but it certainly isn’t everything.
So when it comes to Monsigny, we know the price is good…but how is the taste?
A simple classic. Light acidity and reasonable carbonation, coupled with notes of brioche and undercurrents of fruity notes coming through and lingering on the palette. Light minerality, without having any strong overpowering notes.
When it comes to more affordable champagnes, what you are left with is often just a cheap facsimile of the real thing. With Monsigny No III Brut, this couldn’t be further than the truth. After various rounds of tasting, including blind tasting and with food accompaniments, the team at the FineWineMaster headquarters easily place this champagne in the same realms as classics such as LP and Veuve.
The areas where Monsigny is somewhat lacking is simple – depth. If you’re looking for a standalone champagne specifically for a one-off special toast, then it may be worth digging deeper into the wallet for something a little more classic. However, if you’re looking for something to power a solid champagne session drinking, or even to pair with food or light courses, then you’ve likely stumbled into greatness.
Served chilled, this champagne could easily pass for a bottle triple the price – especially for those who are not intimately familiar with different types of champagne. We’ve stocked up with another case for the FineWineMaster headquarters after the tasting – which is a rare accolade to grace such an affordable bottle.
Monsigny is a classic champagne, and the pairing notes are the same as we’d recommend for all champagnes. The wine is delicate, so you want to ensure that you’re pairing something with a similar taste profile which won’t be overwhelmed by the light notes. Finding delicate foods will help accentuate the palette of both the champagne, and the food itself.
If you’re looking for a wine to pair with canapes, this is an excellent choice. Buttery notes and light fruit, with a good amount of acidity and carbonation, mean that it’s an excellent ‘easy drinking’ wine to serve alongside canapes.
For our tasting, we opted for something simple – smoked salmon and caviar blinis with whipped cream cheese. Subtle smoked fish is always a solid pairing with champagne, and specifically with the Monsigny – it’s a wonderful pairing.
If you’re looking for a pairing with meat, try to steer clear from strong powerful flavors. Think more prosciutto than BBQ, and more chicken than lamb. This isn’t to say that you couldn’t opt to serve Monsigny Champagne with something with a stronger flavor profile, but you’d risk the subtle flavors being completely overpowered by the food.
So how would we sum up our Monsigny Champagne No III Brut review? Two simple words – affordable quality. Rarely paired, they’re the dream scenario.
Yes, if you’re looking for something really special to make a night memorable then you may do better looking elsewhere. We probably wouldn’t recommend Monsigny to toast an engagement. But to serve 50 bottles of at a wedding? That’s probably a good shout.
Get yourself a bottle, you won’t regret it.