Billecart-Salmon somehow sits in the shadow of the bigger houses in terms of reputation, but certainly not in terms of quality. I love Billecart for its dependability: every bottle offers so much pleasure. The Brut Réserve is the perfect house Champagne, with lots of juicy fruit supplied by the Meunier variety, and precision and complexity by the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. It's very fairly priced for the quality.

The rosé has long been one of the best in the category, in a fine-boned style; the Sous Bois a fascinating barrel-fermented Champagne and the Blanc de Blancs a picture of precision and purity. The Nicolas François remains one of the most under-rated prestige cuvées, offering gorgeous complexity, harmony and length.