Bollinger has named Gilles Descotes its new Chef de Cave.

Descotes joined the famous Champagne House in 2003 and worked his way up to technical director, a role he held since last July. He will be responsible for the production of Champagne up to the point of shipping, the supply of grapes and the House’s vineyards.

President Jérôme Philipon said: “He has shown, over the course of the last 10 years, the great leadership qualities required to assist Champagne Bollinger in its controlled growth.”

Descôtes added: “It is with the greatest respect for the ‘savoir-faire’ of Champagne Bollinger that I accept this post. My experience at the heart of this House will help me continue its development through maintaining the style and excellence of its cuvees.”

To support Descôtes and his team, and to assist with his new responsibilities, Bollinger has decided to create the role of deputy chef de cave.

Denis Bunner, who has worked for the Comite Champagne since 2002 and is currently head of oenology, will join Gilles Descotes and the team in this role on September 2.

Bunner said: “My goal is to use my experience in viticulture and vinification to serve the ambitions of Champagne Bollinger, in accordance with the quality requirements of the House.”

Champagne’s Positive Price Mix Leads To Sales Growth In U.S.

imagesChampagne sales in the U.S. market climbed by 1.2% to about $477 million last year, despite a 3.5% drop in depletions to 1.24 million cases, according to Impact Databank. The U.S. performance was still 6.3% below the $508.8 million achieved in 2006.

Major producers like Moët Hennessy’s LVMH were experiencing an encouraging price mix with prestige cuveés, rosé and vintages in high demand. LVMH’s top two sellers in the U.S. Moët & Chandon and Veuve Clicquot enjoyed a combined market share of approximately 60% while both lost volume last year down 7.3% and 0.9%, respectively. Among the U.S. market’s other leading Champagne brands, third-ranked Perrier-Jouët was flat, while fourth-ranked Nicolas Feuillatte and fifth-ranked Piper Heidsieck were up by 1.6% and 2%, respectively.

Champagne’s new product activity focused on high end markets, i.e., Champagne Charles Heidsieck launched a new brut ($65) and rosé ($80) réserve expressions in September 2012 to mark 160 years in the U.S. “Demand will continue to increase as appreciation and prestige of Champagne continues to rise,” says Cecile Bonnefond, CEO, Champagnes Piper-Heidsieck and Charles Heidsieck.

Global Champagne sales, meanwhile, inched up 0.2% to approximately $5.68 billion, despite a 4.4% shipments decline to 25.73 million cases. Champagne’s growth in emerging markets such as China (+51.8% to 167,000 cases in 2012) has raised concerns about long-term supply. Champagne’s total stocks in 2012, however, were 120.3 million nine-liter cases with a stock–to-shipment ratio of 4.7 years, well above the ideal level of three years.

The geographical area of the Champagne AOC will begin to be revised later this year and gradual plantings could begin in 2015 and end in 2020 in a process not expected exceed a maximum 1% to 2% of the existing AOC. “Champagne AOC area is limited and volume growth will be limited one day,” says Etienne Auriau, CFO, Veuve Laurent-Perrier & Co. “However, for the moment, we have enough stock to supply the market for the years to come.”

Source: Shanken News

Eden-Roc Champagne Lounge

Set atop the Eden-Roc Pavilion, overlooking the crystal blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea and the island of Lérins the Eden-Roc Champagne Lounge unveils its stylish and modern design.

Nestled in the heart of a sumptuous panoramic terrace, with spectacular views of the coastline, this newly-launched lounge offers the opportunity to savour distinctive vintages in a charming and refined setting.

Collaborating exclusively with 14 Champagne houses, selected by Head Sommelier Xavier Dinet, the Eden-Roc Champagne Lounge boasts the most prestigious signature Champagnes along with some surprising and delicious discoveries from rare but precious select bottlings to grand vintages from top houses including jeroboams of exceptional limited edition Champagnes such Louis Roederer Cristal 2002 or Dom Pérignon ‘Vintage Rosé’.

The lounge will be open through Sept. 1. from 6:00 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.

Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc
Boulevard JF Kennedy, BP 29, 06601 ANTIBES CEDEX France

Armand de Brignac Dynastie

Armand de Brignac Dynastie is a rare collection of Armand de Brignac Brut Gold Champagne which includes various bottle formats from the standard 750ml bottle to and including the exclusive 30-litre Midas.

Hakkasan Las Vegas, a new five-level culinary and nightlife mecca at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, is the first nightlife complex in the world to offer the Armand de Brignac Dynastie collection.

Hakkasan has exclusively listed the package for $500,000, making it the world’s most extravagant bottle service experience.

Collectively, the Armand de Brignac Dynastie amounts to 109 bottles of prestige cuvee Champagne.