The worldwide sales of champagne increased from 293.5 million bottles in 2009 to 319.5 million bottles last year, an increase of 8.9 %t. Germany exceeded this trend.
The German market showed particularly good growth of 21.6 per cent, exports from Champagne to Germany increased from 10.9 to 13.3 million bottles. As in the previous years, Germany is the third largest export market for champagne after Great Britain and the USA.
Austria also appears to like champagne -exports to this country last year totalled 1.1 million bottles after 675.046 bottles in 2009, a volume growth of 64.4 %
The upmarket restaurant operator Searcys plans to open their new champagne bar “One New Change” in a few weeks!
This is the second launch this year for Searcys Champagne Bar brand, and their spokesperson states they plan on launching five more in 2011, to be found in and around transport hubs and retail outlets.
Due to open on 30 March, the Champagne Bar at One New Change will comfortably seat 100 guests and will sell over 30 varieties by the glass, with over 100 different cuvees by the bottle including traditional method sparkling wines.
The company, which was bought in an £8m management buyout last year, says its Champagne Bar concept is based around “stylish indulgence”, which it says works well in its existing sites.
Searcys last year expanded the capacity of its Champagne bar in London’s Westfield shopping centre from 36 to 72 covers by taking over the adjacent area, saying that “affordable luxury” was still popular in the UK despite the austere economic times.
The new site, a ceiling-to-floor glass case, was designed by Interbar. Its “plush armchairs”, marble bar and warm copper and brown tones target a “retro1970s chic” atmosphere.
Tapas-style food will also be available to match with champagne, such as Foie Gras and green peppercorn terrine or Smoked Tuna with almonds.
When it comes to the preferences of American wine drinkers, the proof is in the wine glass: from 2009 to 2010, total volume of French wine exports to the U.S. went up +6.4% to 10.5 million cases and wine value increased by +15.6%, with sparkling wines leading the pack. Champagne, in particular, experienced explosive growth with volume increasing by +51.3% and value by +58.6%. The numbers illustrate that on- and off-premise consumers are spending more per bottle on French wines than they did in 2009. While the economy continues to recover, American wine drinkers have shown that because of the quality, tradition, diversity and value that French wines offer, they are confident to put their money where their wine glasses are, whether it’s for a celebration or everyday enjoyment.
Champagne’s top performance indicates that consumers no longer only look to sparkling wine to celebrate a special occasion, but are now purchasing it on a more regular basis due to Champagne’s high quality, versatility with food and the craftsmanship of its producers. Other sparkling wines from outside of the Champagne region grew +7.3% in volume and +18% in value. As a whole, the total sparkling wine category went up +32.5% in volume and +54.3% in value, attesting to the fact that, in 2010, consumers were trading up across the board in this category.
In the still wine category, AOP (previously known as AOC) wine exports were up overall with the Loire Valley leading the way with an increase of 40% in volume and 34.7% in value; the Languedoc made huge strides in 2010, increasing by 29.4% in volume and 39.4% in value; and both Burgundy’s and the Côtes du Rhône’s value percentages increased, exceeding their volume, showing that consumers are keen to spend more money per bottle on wines from these particular AOP regions.
IGP wines, or Vins de Pays, experienced a decline in volume of -15%, but a +10% increase in value which indicates that while consumers are buying fewer wines from this category, the wines they are purchasing cost more per bottle. Wines with no geographical denomination, previously known as Vins de Table, have continued to decline with a loss of -6% in volume and -0.11% in value, proving that, in general, Americans are now preferring wines from the other two categories.
When thugs drag off Honey Ryder in 1962’s Dr. No, he brandishes a bottle to defend her. Warned by the title character that he’s grabbed a Dom Pérignon 1955 and “it would be a pity to waste it,” 007 coolly counters “I prefer the ’53 myself.”
Even under duress, it’s important to keep your vintages straight. The best come from those years when already glamorous Champagnes reach their zenith of seduction. The year 2002 is one of those. We are now enjoying the fruits of the foremost vintage since 1996. This trio of 2002s, each with its own personality, would certainly fit in with Bond’s lofty preferences: Moët & Chandon’s Brut Champagne Cuvée Dom Pérignon 2002 (Wine Spectator-rated 95, $160), Piper-Heidsieck’s Brut Champagne Rare 2002 (95, $275) and Bollinger’s Brut Rosé Champagne La Grande Année 2002 (94, $230).
The Dom Pérignon comes swathed in haute couture. It’s all about elegance and attention to detail, with its smoky richness and fine-grained texture. And that’s only a backdrop for the layers of biscuit, candied lemon peel, coffee liqueur, chamomile, pine and crystallized honey to come. Choosing roughly equal parts Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from grand cru vineyards, DP’s chef de cave Richard Geoffroy took full advantage of the flavor maturity in the ripe grapes and the powerful profile of the vintage.
The classy Piper-Heidsieck Rare is a mosaic of textures. It shows red berry and graphite flavors and a firm structure, with honey, toast and seashore notes. Silkiness completes the picture. While the grape blend is dominated by Pinot Noir (70 percent), chef de cave Régis Camus stresses the importance of Chardonnay (30 percent) sourced from specific crus when it comes to elaborating a Rare vintage. “Our quest is always for Chardonnays [that] are mineral in style.”
With its deep rose hue the Bollinger is dressed up to celebrate. With a sense of balance and seamless integration, the wine delivers juicy fruit flavors of ripe black cherry, pomegranate and cassis that are fresh and vibrant. The finish is long and lightly spiced. Bollinger ferments the base wines in neutral oak barrels, adding 7 to 8 percent red Pinot Noir from its tiny La Côte aux Enfants vineyard located behind the firm’s offices. It’s aged on the lees a minimum of six years.
You needn’t wait until your dining with a super villain, however. Popping the cork on any one of these Champagnes from the glorious 2002 vintage is sure to enhance any situation. But even Bond would find it difficult choosing just one.