Champagne is on a strong upswing in the U.S. market


Propelled by a new generation of highly aspirational consumers, Champagne is on a strong upswing in the U.S. market. Depletions have accelerated each of the past two years, advancing by 5% in 2016 to surpass 1.4 million cases, according to Impact Databank. Meanwhile, shipment value has exploded. Since 2010, Champagne shipments to the U.S. have grown by two-thirds—or about 11% annually—to reach €540 million ($607m) in 2016. Last year, the pace of value expansion slowed slightly, to 5%, and Champagne shipments’ per-case value dipped about 1%—but that marginal correction followed a breakout 2015 during which value had surged by 28%.

Champagne marketers are bullish on the category’s future prospects. “Whether it’s with Prosecco or another sparkler, younger consumers are starting to enjoy sparkling wines on more occasions,” says Bill Terlato, president and CEO of Terlato Wine Group, which markets the Piper-Heidsieck and Duval-Leroy Champagne brands. “If we get them involved with sparkling wine, eventually they’re going to start to want Champagne, which is the ultimate sparkling wine.

Veuve Clicquot and Moët & Chandon, both imported by Moët Hennessy USA, continued to dominate the category in 2016, comprising 51% of the total U.S. Champagne market. Together, Moët Hennessy’s dynamic duo has expanded by more than 20% over the past three years, and is poised to break the 900,000-case threshold in combined volume this year. Two sweeter line extensions—Moët & Chandon Ice Imperial and Veuve Clicquot Rich—are appealing to younger consumers, according to Rodney Williams, CMO at Moët Hennessy USA. “Moët Ice was the first Champagne to launch at a higher dosage level, specifically to accommodate ice,” he says, noting that reception has been strong. Veuve Clicquot Rich ($63) is aimed at injecting Champagne into the mixology movement. “We believe these two innovations can take hold and create a whole new segment in the Champagne category,” Williams says. Moët Hennessy USA’s higher-end bubbly stable is also on the rise. Dom Perignon, ranked fifth in the market by volume despite a price point of above $160 a bottle, grew 4.3% to 61,000 cases last year.

Pernod Ricard’s Perrier-Jouët was the only top-five brand to register a consumption decline in 2016. The third-ranked Champagne brand slipped 3.6% to 77,000 cases in 2016, a drop that came on the heels of a 12% gain the year before. Nicolas Feuillatte, at number four, registered a 7.9% increase to 62,000 cases, regaining half the volume it had lost in 2015, when depletions slumped 16.2%. Overall, 12 of the top 20 Champagne brands in the U.S. market posted volume increases last year.

Aygline Pechdo, brand director, Champagne and sparkling at Pernod Ricard USA, says millennials are becoming key drivers of category volume. “The consumer base has diversified over the years and the consumption of Champagne is no longer reserved to the elite or older demographics,” Pechdo says. “In fact, most of the volume today is driven by ‘high-energy’ occasions, very much in line with millennials’ lifestyle and their desire to celebrate each day to its fullest—not just special occasions.”

Top 6 Champagne Brands in the U.S.
(thousands of nine-liter case depletions)

1 Veuve Clicquot Moet-Hennessy USA (LVMH)
2 Moet & Chandon Moet-Hennessy USA (LVMH)
3 Perrier-Jouet Pernod Ricard USA
4 Nicolas Feuillatte Ste. Michelle Wine Estates
5 Dom Perignon Moet-Hennessy USA (LVMH)
6 Piper Heidsieck Terlato Wines International

Sources: Shanken News; Impact Databank

The Ultimate Guide To Champagne – Book Award Updates!

Liz Palmer AuthorOver the last few months I’ve mentioned various awards that my first book “The Ultimate Guide To Champagne” has been up for. Here is some more news I want to share with you!

My book has won the National Award for the best French Wine Book at the Gourmand World Awards 2017.

The Gourmand World Cookbook and Wine Book Awards, often noted as the “Oscars” of the food and wine world, were founded in 1995 by Edouard Cointreau, of the liqueur and cognacs family, and take place in prominent cities each year. Celebrating global cookbook and wine book publishing, the awards feature many world-renowned chefs, photographers, wine writers and food writers each year.

This year there were over 10,000 submissions from over 209 countries competing for the awards. The list of finalists can be found here: http://www.cookbookfair.com/

Saturday, May 27th is the award ceremony for “Best in the World” Gourmand Awards (Wine and Drinks), which is held in China. Here is a list of the French Wine Books participating:

W1-5 French Wine

Australia: Champagne, Kaaren Palmer (KP)

Brazil: Vinhos da Borgonha, Cara (Melhoramentos)

China: Les Ignorants, Davodeau, Li Yi Xue (Beijing United)

Canada: The Ultimate Guide to Champagne, Liz Palmer (palmergroup)

France: Anjou Untamed, Jean Yves Bardin, Patrick Rigourd, Bernard Reeves (JYB)

UK: The Story of Champagne, Nicholas Faith (Infinite Ideas)

USA: Champagne, Uncorked, The House of Krug, Alan Tardi (Public Affairs)

http://www.cookbookfair.com/index.php/gourmand-awards/winners-2017/wine-books-shortlist-2017

I’m also excited to announce that The Ultimate Guide To Champagne has recently been accepted into the “Taste Canada” Awards under the Culinary Narratives category, with a short-list being announced July 18 via Twitter! Here is a list of books that are contenders for this category:

Appleton, Frank.Brewing Revolution: Pioneering the Craft Beer Movement. Harbour Publishing, Madeira Park

Cockrall-King, Jennifer. Food Artisans of the Okanagan. TouchWood Editions, Victoria

Flowers, Frankie (Ferragine, Frank).Food to Grow: A Simple, No-Fail Guide to Growing Your Own Vegetables, Fruits and Herbs. HarperCollins, Toronto

Ishii, Caroline.The Accidental Chef: Lessons Learned In and Out of the Kitchen. Author, Ottawa

Le, Stephen.Million Years of Food: What Our Ancestors Ate and Why It Matters Today. HarperCollins, Toronto

Palmer, Liz. The Ultimate Guide to Champagne. Liz Palmer Media Group, Toronto

Sherk, Lawrence C. 150 Years of Canadian Beer Labels. TouchWood Editions, Victoria

Wong, Adele. Hong Kong Food & Culture: From Dim Sum to Dried Abalone. Man Mo Media, Kennedy Town, Hong Kong

http://tastecanada.org/2017-submissions/

Best of luck to all !

Liz Palmer

Happy International Chardonnay Day (May 25th) and What is Blanc de Blancs Champagne

First of all Blanc de Blancs is a French term that means “white from whites”, and is used to designate Champagnes made exclusively from Chardonnay grapes.

Secondly – Champagne Geography – the key districts for Blanc de Blancs are the Côte des Blancs and Côte de Sézanne. The Côte des Blancs is particularly famous for its Chardonnay and yield the best examples of this style. The six grand cru villages include: Avize, Chouilly, Cramant, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Oger and Oiry. In Champagne, unlike Burgundy, the grand cru classification is linked to its villages and not vineyards. The designation denotes not only the highest-quality grapes—but also, generally, those that command the highest prices.

Thirdly, the differences in aromas and flavors are attributable to terroir. For instance, the Côte de Sézanne tends to yield riper fruit, hence riper wines. Other differences are the result of winemaking techniques, the degree of dosage, and other variables.

A classic Blanc de Blancs is restrained and elegant when its young, yet with ageing, it develops a mouth-coating brioche richness that overlays an intense expression of fruitiness.

Blanc de blancs Champagne is vibrant in its acidity it wants nothing more than to throw itself into comfort foods, seafood, and fried foods.

Producers include Salon, Billecart-Salmon, Jacques Selosse, Dom Ruinart, Krug, Guy Larmandier, Champagne R&L Legras, Champagne Henriot, Pol Roger, Krug, Louis Roederer, Dom Ruinart, Vilmart, Taittinger, and J. de Telmont  – also seek out smaller producers, you will be surprised and delighted.

Moët & Chandon Champagne 6-Packs

Just in time for wedding season and Memorial Day weekend, Moët & Chandon just released its first 6-pack of mini champagne bottles (137mL bottles) of its classic Moët & Chandon Imperial Brut Champagne.

Tasting notes include a blend that’s crisp, fresh, smooth, and easy to drink with light body and fruity notes.

This release is currently available in the US.

At $100 the Moët Mini Share Pack comes with its own golden flute toppers, so you can pour and share your bubbles elegantly in any circumstances, may it be at an engagement party, picnic chic, at the beach, at a cocktail party, or just to elevate any summer soiree!

Veuve Clicquot introduces Extra Brut Extra Old Champagne

Veuve Clicquot recently unveiled Extra Brut Extra Old champagne. This happens to be the brand’s novel low-dosage cuvée and an “exclusive expression of Yellow Label”.

The international launch event for the cuvée was hosted a few weeks ago by cellar master Dominique Demarville, who announced that the new creation is a result of the richness of the wines he used to make the Champagne.

The notion behind the creation of the enriched cuvee was to create a blend dedicated to extra brut, but also to bring out the imminence of reserved wines. Demarville started out with a vision of displaying how reserve wines are aged at Veuve Clicquot and showing how important they are for Yellow Label. He succeeded in creating the special Veuve Clicquot Extra Brut Extra Old which is an unique combination of reserve wines from six different vintages, including – 2010, 2009, 2008, 2006, 1996 and 1988. Further, a dosage of 3 g/l places the blend in the Extra Brut category, which is used for Champagne with 6g/l of sugar or lower.

The blending and maturity cycle for the cuvée takes almost three years in the bottle and another one year to age in Clicquot’s cellars post-disgorgement. This cuvee is limited to a very small production of 30,000 bottles.