The best sparkling winemaker in the world

Written by on January 19, 2021 in Wine and Drinks

Facade of a small chateau, the headquarters for Champagne Devaux, windows lit at night

Imagine being a judge in a contest where more than 1000 different sparkling wines from around the world need to be assessed. Each sparkling wine must be blind tasted without any information about who made them, and what they cost… That’s what being a judge at the International Wine Challenge (IWC) annual event is all about. And that’s how the best sparkling wine in the world is decided.

Man stands by a wooden wine barrel holding a large glass of ChampagneChampagne Devaux

In 2020, Michel Parisot, Head Winemaker at Champagne Devaux since 1999, was awarded the IWC’s coveted title of Best Sparkling Winemaker in the world. It’s a tough contest to win. 1000 of the world’s best champagnes, crémants and sparkling wines will have been tasted and whittled down to a smaller list. Then tasted again… and again (what a job).

All medal-winning wines are tasted at least three times: first by a minimum of two judging panels, then by two of the competition’s co-chairs who confirm the panels’ assessments. The IWC judging teams include international wine industry experts and influencers, commercial decision makers and wine makers. They work together to identify the highest quality wines each year from the 52 wine-producing countries represented in the competition.

Until finally a minimum of 8 judges are agreed. This is the best.

The Devaux Champagne House is located in Bar-sur-Seine in the Côte des Bar area, department Aube of Champagne. It’s an area that’s less well known perhaps than the Montagne de Reims area in the Marne department. But it’s an area that’s devoted to wine and Champagne production and peppered with pretty villages.

Champagne Devaux are known for their distinctively complex, balanced and flavourful champagnes predominantly from the Côte des Bar, Côte des Blancs and Montgueux. They’ve been making champagne since 1846, always with a distinctly contemporary edge. Their Collection D, Cœur des Bar, Les Classiques ranges, Rosé des Riceys (one of Louis XIV’s favourite wines),  Coteaux Champenois still wines and the inimitable Sténopé made in collaboration with Michel Chapoutier, reflect the unique history and expertise inherent in the House and the terroirs of Côte des Bar.

Michel Parisot – the best sparkling wine maker the world

Man in a vast cellar filled with large wooden wine barrels

Michel Parisot started work with Champagne Devaux in 1991. Right from the start he aimed to create easy-drinking, incredible-tasting wines. Now he and his team have been rewarded for their efforts with the title of International Wine Challenge Sparkling Winemaker of the Year 2020.

I tried their blanc de blancs. It is an absolute knockout bottle of fizz at a seriously reasonable price. Especially when you compare it to the cost of much more well known and flashy Champagnes. Lemony, peachy, beautifully fresh, it’s one you can drink at any time with anything. I also tried a vintage 2009 bottle from their “D” range which was outstanding. There are several different styles of Champagne – something to make everyone effervescent with happiness. As the great writer Charles Dickens once said “Champagne is one of the elegant extras in life.”  I’m pretty sure he would have loved Devaux!

Bottles of Champagne in a row

Devaux is available in Australia through Pure and in the USA through Seaview. In the UK you can get it from Majestic Wine and Liberty Wines. And in France from Monoprix and good wine caves everywhere.

Find out more at where they also have an online shop and details of tasting tours and workshops.

Find out more about the International Wine Challenge

Related Articles

7 Classic French cocktail recipes

There are some things that are such an intrinsically French way of life that just doing them imparts a little joie de vivre to our lives, wherever we are. Eating the end of a baguette for instance (which is called a crouton or a quignon in France, depending on where you’re from). Dipping your croissant […]

Continue Reading

How to choose a French wine that suits your taste

Wine expert Philip Reddaway shares his top tips to help you choose wine that’s just right for you… Standing in the wine aisle of the super-market, confronted with a range of 500 different wines, or perusing a 4-page wine list in a restaurant can be quite a daunting experience. France produces more than 2,900 different […]

Continue Reading

A Guide to Choosing Your Perfect Wine

For those that aren’t experienced with wine, it can be challenging to choose what to drink. There are so many different options available that it can take months before you find a bottle that you enjoy. However, luckily enough, there are some ways to speed up the process. In this article, we are going to […]

Continue Reading

The art of French Apéro Hour

The art of French Apéro Hour

Written by on December 15, 2020 in Wine and Drinks

In France the traditional aperitif, called an apéro for short, is a cultural ritual, one of the no. 1 pleasures in life. And it’s a brilliant custom that’s easy to adopt everywhere. Typically enjoyed with friends and family before dinner, ‘L’heure de l’apéro’ – an hour of ‘apéritif’ drinks involves enjoying a drink – wine, […]

Continue Reading

Perfect French Brandy Cocktails for a Cool Yule

Brandy cocktails are perfect for Christmas. If you thought that brandy was just for setting your figgy pudding on fire – think again! A crafted, mellow brandy like French-made Bardinet, produced in Bordeaux since 1857 and one of the UK’s leading French Brandies, is great for drinking on its own, but it’s also perfect for cocktails. […]

Continue Reading


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Comments are closed.