CHAMPAGNE SALES SET FOR RECORD YEAR

0000067c3-French_supermarket_ChampagneChampagne sales reached a record high in 2015. Sales were driven by a strong demand from export markets, favorable exchange rates and sales in France.

According to estimates from news service Reuters, 312 million bottles were sold last year, up 2-3% on 2014, while value sales were up 4.4% to €4.7 billion.

A flurry of prestige cuvée releases such as Dom Pérignon 2006 helped drive sales last year, along with a growing demand for rosé Champagne in Japan and the US.

A return to pre-recession decadence boosted Champagne sales in the UK, while Spain and Italy both showed a slight growth. Champagne sales are also creeping up at hypermarkets and specialist stores in its homeland after years of being on the slide.

“France is on a recovery path. Consumers need to enjoy life,” Bruno Paillard, CEO of Lanson BCC, told Reuters.
Official figures for 2015 will be published February 2016 by the CIVC.

Dom Pérignon 2006

dom-perignon-2006_2The release of the 2006 marks the first time in the grand cuvée’s nearly-90 year history that five consecutive vintages have been made.

Richard Geoffroy, Chef de Cave says –

“I am a lucky man! The first decade of the new millenium has been prodigious for Dom Pérignon. I feel it might attain the golden eras of the 1920’s or 1960’s. This is why I am blessed to introduce Dom Pérignon Vintage 2006. The ambition of Dom Pérignon has always been to witness the vintages in Champagne. The reward of our commitment and dedication to the vintage is to be able to celebrate the release of our fifth vintage in a row, for the first time in the history of Dom Pérignon.

Out of these five vintages, four have been harvested at a stage of intense ripeness. Such frequency has never been seen in 300 years of Champagne harvests… yet each of these Vintages is unique. It is almost impossible to characterize full ripeness, as it can stem from a variety of weather conditions. I observed that there are two ways for the associated richness to express itself in the wine: either solemn, such as 2003 or 2005; or generous, such as 2002 or 2006.”

Dom Pérignon 2006 is best typified by its superlative generosity: a pure, airy and bright bouquet on the nose; a distinctive opulence, contained and succulent, on the palate. In essence, a luminous and glorious Champagne.

360° Champagne Experience

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The Comité Champagne has launched a global communications campaign which focuses on a 360° film. This immersive film offers the viewer a virtual reality tour of the Champagne hillsides, houses and cellars.

It was announced on July 4th 2015 that the Champagne region was granted world heritage status by UNESCO:

“hillsides, houses, and cellars” of the Champagne wine region in northeastern France deserve recognition. “The property encompasses sites where the method of producing sparkling wines was developed on the principle of secondary fermentation in the bottle since the early 17th century to its early industrialization in the 19th century.”

Enjoy this 360° or virtual reality experience by visiting www.360.champagne.fr.

Three ways to experience this 360° unique experience is by smartphone, tablet or PC, or 3D using Google Cardboard goggles or virtual reality headset.

Liz Palmer
www.liz-palmer.com

#TBT FIVE TOP CHAMPAGNE BRANDS BY GLOBAL SALES FOR 2014

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2014 Champagne sales hit second highest total on record with
over 308m bottles of Champagne being sold. This represent a 1% rise in global Champagne sales from 2013.

The Comite Champagne, formerly the CIVC, also estimated that worldwide Champagne sales reached 4.5bn euros in value terms, up from 4.3bn euros in 2013 and the second highest annual total on record, behind 2007.

This suggests consumers have traded up to higher priced Champagne, despite fierce discounting. Exports drove the increases in volume and value in 2014.

Most champagne houses, growers and co-operatives lowered their dosages since the start of the century, with an average reduction of 2.8 g/l over the last 15 years, a measurable reflection of an increase in BNV quality resulting from harvesting riper, cleaner grapes, and producing richer, more complex blends.

Compiled here is a list of the top Five Champagne brands, by global sales, for 2014. Where are your favourite Champagnes ranked?

1. Moët & Chandon 

Size (approx. annual sales, 2014): 2.45m cases

Cellar master: Benoît Gouez

It’s widely acknowledged that the quality of the world’s biggest Champagne brand – and flagship wine in the LVMH stable – has improved since Benoit Gouez became cellar master in 2005.

Within the last decade the category leader has benefitted from updated winemaking facilities, an increased proportion of reserve wine, better viticultural management and, as a result, riper fruit and richer, cleaner wines, which, in turn, have allowed for a lower dosage – Moët dropped to 9g/l in 2012, having previously hovered around 12 g/l.

During this period, they shifted its celebrity allegiance from actress Scarlett Johansson to tennis star Roger Federer – who remains the global Moët brand ambassador today.

In recent years the brand has not been tempted to release a drier variant of Moët and the house has no extra brut (6 g/l or below) or brut nature (0 g/l) Champagne, but, in the same year it discontinued its White Star, Moët introduced the Ice Impérial, which, with a 45 g/l dosage, is a much sweeter version designed for serving over ice.

Brand owner: Moët Hennessy

Head office: 20 Avenue de Champagne, 51200, Epernay, France

Website: www.moet.com

Product range: Moët & Chandon, Impérial NV, Rosé NV, Ice Impérial, Grand Vintage Blanc, Grand Vintage Rosé

2. Veuve Clicquot

Size (approx. annual sales, 2014): 1.55m cases

Cellar master: Dominique Demarville

Similar to Moët, Veuve Clicquot has seen its dosage fall by a few grams per litre over the last decade, but has retained its relatively opulent style, a function of the high Pinot Noir content in the blend, as well as high proportion of reserve wine, and more than 30 months spent ageing on its lees in the cellars.

It is the first brand to use biodegradable gift boxes made from its own grapes.

Brand owner: Moët Hennessy

Head office: 13 Rue Albert Thomas, 51100, Reims, France

Website: www.veuve-clicquot.com

Product range: Brut Yellow Label, Rosé, Demi-Sec, Vintage, Rosé Vintage, Cave Privée, La Grande Dame

3. Nicolas Feuillatte

Size (approx. annual sales, 2014): 875,000 cases

Cellar master: David Hénault

Director of winemaking: Guillaume Roffiaen

Made at, and owned by, the cooperative The Centre Vinicole Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte (CV-CNF), the brand has access to 2,250 hectares of grapes from 5,000 growers at a winery which can ferment as much as 300,000 hectolitres each year.

Founded in 1976 – the label has a strong following for its contemporary packaging, good value blends, and partnerships with the arts.

Nicolas Feuillatte’s best selling blend is its Brut NV, accounting for 80% of sales.

Brand owner: Centre Vinicole–Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Head office: Chouilly, BP 210, 51206, Epernay Cedex, France

Website: www.nicolas-feuillatte.com


Product range: Brut NV, Brut Réserve, Brut Grande Réserve, Demi Sec, Rosé NV, D’Luscious Rosé NV, Brut Vintage, Brut Extrem’, Cuvée Spéciale Vintage, Brut Chardonnay Vintage, One Four Brut, One Four Rosé, Cuvée 225 Brut Vintage, Cuvée 225 Rosé Vintage, Grand Cru Chadonnay Vintage, Grand Cru Pinot Noir Vintage, Palmes d’Or Brut Vintage, Palmes d’Or Rosé Vintage

4. G.H Mumm Cordon

Size (approx. annual sales, 2014): 638,000 cases

Cellar master: Didier Mariotti

Famous for its red stripe and regular appearances on Formula 1 podiums, GH Mumm sits alongside Perrier-Jouët in the Pernod Ricard Champagne portfolio.

Niche, but excellent Champagnes in the range include the Mumm de Cramant blanc de blancs and Mumm de Verzenay blanc de noirs – the latter launched in 2012, initially just for the French market

Brand owner: Pernod Ricard

Head office: 29 rue de Champ des Mars, 51053 Reims, France

Website: www.ghmumm.com

Product range: Brut Cordon Rouge, Brut Rosé, Demi-Sec, Brut Millésimé, Mumm de Cramant Blanc de Blancs, Mumm de Verzenay Blanc de Noirs, Brut Séléction, Cuvée R. Lalou


5. Laurent-Perrier

Size (approx. annual sales, 2014): 545,000 cases

Cellar master: Michel Fauconnet

It is the largest family-owned house in France and currently headed by Alexandra and Stephanie, daughters of the legendary Bernard de Nonancourt

Brand owner: Group Laurent-Perrier

Head office: Domaine Laurent-Perrier, 51150, Tours-sur-Marne, France

Website: www.laurent-perrier.com

Product range: Brut NV, Rosé NV, Ultra-Brut, Demi-Sec, Brut Millésimé, Grand Siècle, Les Réserves Grand Siècle, Alexandra Rosé

Source: Drinks Business and Decanter

Rosé Champagne Report – Liz Palmer Wine Picker Magazine, Milan, Italy

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The Champagne production zone (AOC) is defined and delimited by a law since 1927, stretching over 34,286 hectares of vineyards. It lies 150 kilometres East / North-East of Paris, and is made-up of plots from 320 villages in five departments: Marne (66%), Aube (23%), Aisne (10%) – also shared by Haute-Marne and Seine-et-Marne. The vineyards are also divided by “crus”, a qualitative division of the appellation. Of the 320 villages, 17 are Grand Cru and 42 are Premier Cru.

Champagne terroir has two major distinguishing features: northerly latitude and a dual climate that is subject to oceanic and continental influences. The Champagne region is located near the northern limits of the wine world along the 49th parallel, with the coordinates of 49°5 and 49° North – this means cold climate and harsh weather conditions. The oceanic influence brings steady rainfall and the continental influence ensures ideal levels of summer sunlight, but often causes devastating winter frosts.
The average annual temperature in Reims and Epernay) is 11°C. This complex weather pattern distinguishes the Champagne viticultural zone from the other terroirs in the same group.

The subsoil in Champagne is predominantly limestone –including the outcrops, which consist of sedimentary rock (75% limestone), chalk, marl and limestone proper. This type of subsoil provides good drainage and also imparts that particular mineral flavour found in certain Champagne wines.

These regional differences lead to different styles of wines, different and aromas developing in the fruits.

On 4 July 2015, in Bonn, Germany the UNESCO World Heritage Committee delivered a decision to include the “Champagne hillsides, houses and cellars” on its World Heritage list.
“The property encompasses sites where the method of producing sparkling wines was developed on the principle of secondary fermentation in the bottle since the early 17th century to its early industrialization in the 19th century. The property is made up of three distinct ensembles: the historic vineyards of Hautvilliers, Aÿ and Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, Saint-Nicaise Hill in Reims, and the Avenue de Champagne and Fort Chabrol in Epernay. These three components – the supply basin formed by the historic hillsides, the production sites (with their underground cellars) and the sales and distribution centres (the Champagne Houses) – illustrate the entire champagne production process. The property bears clear testimony to the development of a very specialized artisan activity that has become an agro-industrial enterprise.”

R O S É C H A M P A G N E

Rosé Champagnes are distinct from brut and blanc de noirs in that they are noticeably and intentionally colored, with hues that span from light pink to copper salmon. There are two main methods of creating this style:

Blended or Rosé d’assemblage

This method is most common – it allows the producer to obtain colour and density identical year to year. It consists of blending still white wine (before its second fermentation) with 5 – 20% of red wine, vinified to be non tannic.

Macerated or Rosé de saignée

This process consists of allowing the grape must to remain in contact with the skins of black grapes (Pinot noir and Pinot Meunier) for a few hours. The natural pigments in the skins begin to colour the juice and at the same time enrich the juice with their aromatic components. Rosé de saignée champagnes are generally richer in taste and have a vinous character, which makes them particularly suitable to be served with food.

Rosé Champagne is produced in both vintage/millesimé and non-vintage versions. Although there is variation in the sweetness levels, the wines are most often dry (brut or sec) in style.
Rosé Champagne account for 3-5% of Champagne’s yearly production. Most of the Champagne houses have this style their portfolios, including: Krug, Laurent-Perrier, Billecart-Salmon, Dom Pérignon, Cristal Veuve-Clicquot. With Billecart-Salmon and Laurent-Perrier’s leading the pack in making Rosé champagne a speciality.
UK is Champagne’s largest export market – sales increased by 6.1% in 2014 reaching 32,675,232 bottles. While US is the second largest export market – sales grew slightly, up 7.3% to 19,152,709 bottles, with rose up 14.4% to 2,758,364 bottles.

US figures 2010-2014

Total Export Rosés % export
2010 134,364,880 11,437,497 8.51%
2011 141,328,649 12,699,146 8.99%
2012 137,349,432 13,004,384 9.47%
2013 137,639,340 13,371,939 9.72%
2014 144,870,262 13,731,634 9.48%

Rosé Top Ten Markets 2014

2014 Country

1 ETATS-UNIS
2 ROYAUME-UNI
3 ALLEMAGNE
4 JAPON
5 SUISSE
6 ITALIE
7 BELGIQUE
8 ESPAGNE
9 NIGÉRIA
10 RUSSIE

Some salient characteristics of our favourite Rosé Champagnes:

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Dom Pérignon Metamorphosis Rose 2003
Exquisite soft rose-colour with nose of cherry and soft citrus; creamy textured and precise with flavours that are complex and rich; focused and elegant with subtlety and depth; graceful and well balanced with a long echoing finish.
96 Points

Roederer Cristal Rosé 2002
Medium pink hue with lively effervescence; soft aromas of strawberry, cherry and blood orange with some notes of butter and dried flowers; crisp Chardonnay -underlay pinot fruit on the palate with a very silky, long finish.
93 Points

Krug Rosé – NV
Pale salmon colour (with some subtle hint of pink) and fine bubbles; aromas of rose hips, ham, mulberries, redcurrant, peony, pepper & pink grapefruit; mouthfilling but refilled and elegant layers of honey, citrus and dried fruit with long finish.
96 Points

Delamotte Brut Rosé NV
Very pale, delicate rose hue; fresh berry fruit and blood orange come through on the nose and palate, with some chalky mineral notes – medium finish.
92 Points

Pascal Doquet Brut Rosé Premier Cru NV
Pale salmon colour; aromas of red fruit, flowers, and minerals lead to a palate with hints of strawberry, toast, and minerals – fresh and ample mouthfeel.
92 Points

Perrier-Jouet Rose Belle Epoque 2004
Light salmon pink; with delicate aromas of floral, strawberry, raspberry, orange and pink grapefruit; fresh, refined attack with subtly crisp notes of pomegranate and pink grapefruit; full-bodied with a long, silky finish.
94 Points

Charles Heidsieck, Brut Rosé Réserve
Very pale pink, rich toasty aromas with creamy texture; finely honed acidity lending a mouthwatering impression to flavors of crème de cassis, toasted brioche, lemon curd and roasted almond; long, spicey finish.
93 Points

Liz Palmer