Japan Airlines (JAL) Launches New First Class Wine List Champagnes include: Salon and Dom Perignon

JAL has been renowned for serving up some of its home nation’s best sake, but now the Tokyo Narita-based airline is taking inflight drinking to a whole new level thanks to a new wine list that includes Champagne Salon.

JAL will be the only airline serving Champagne Salon Vintage 1999 in First Class, which will be on the wine list alongside Champagne Dom Perignon’s Vintage 2003, and 17 other fine wines that span the globe from New Zealand’s Martinborough to California.

Fellow expat countryman and winemaker Kenzo Tsujimoto’s Kenzo Estate Rindo, from California, will also be available in First Class on selected flights.

It’s not just First Class passengers that get the best wines, commencing February Executive Class will also find a new list that includes nine new wines and Champagne Joseph Perrier Cuvee Royale Brut.

New Release: 2003 Dom Pérignon

The 2002 has been widely acclaimed as one of the best. A few weeks ago Chef de Cave Richard Geoffroy decided to release a wine from 2003, a year when Champagne was hit by frost, hail, and an August heat wave – it seems to be a bit of a risk.

“We shouldn’t be afraid of hot years,” says Mr. Geoffroy. “We have to react to the condition of the year; there were some slight technical challenges but I’m very proud of this vintage.”

The 2003 vintage was made from grapes grown in the hottest summer in Champagne in 53 years. The vintage has slightly more Pinot Noir (60%) in the blend, with 40% Chardonnay. Although a powerful wine with plenty of fruit, it retains Dom Pérignon’s trademark finesse.

This vintage has character, but remains quintessentially Dom Pérignon with a round, rhythmical finish that dances delicately between mineral and floral flavors. To the skilled Chef de Cave, the 2003 is an intense memory and Richard Geoffroy beautifully captures this by saying, “I wish every single vintage could be as strong as 2003.”

Moët & Chandon, Épernay, Champagne, France
Vintage: 2003
Alcohol: 12.5%
Price: £100 or €120 (est)

Clicquot in the Sky: Chicago House Champagne Benefit January 26th 2012

Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin is both a Champagne house in Reims, France, and a brand of premium Champagne. Founded in 1772 by Philippe Clicquot-Muiron, Veuve Clicquot played an important role in establishing Champagne as a favored drink of haute bourgeoisie and nobility throughout Europe.

Notorious for its history of innovation Veuve Clicquot has become known as the Champagne House with cutting edge ideas.

Each year Chicago House hosts a Veuve Clicquot benefit at a different venue. This year the event reaches new heights. On the 99th floor of the SkyDeck, Willis Tower bubbly drinks await you!

Artists from around the city present their various interpretations of Clicquot and a fantastic silent auction keeps everyone bidding throughout the evening as the Veuve flows.

Date: Thursday, January 26, 2012

Time: 6:00 pm

Where: The SkyDeck, Willis Tower
233 South Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL

Contact: Michael Herman
Phone – 773.248.5200 x 303

Moet & Chandon toasts their ‘21st Anniversary’ as the Official Champagne of the 69th Annual Golden Globe® Awards with 2002 Grand Vintage Collection

Moet & Chandon is returning as the official Champagne of the 69th Annual Golden Globe® Awards, which is produced by Dick Clark Productions and in association with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). In a toast to its 21st year with the iconic awards ceremony, Moet & Chandon will introduce their award-winning 2002 Grand Vintage Champagne with a celebratory toast at this year’s Golden Globe Awards nominations announcement which will be lead by HFPA president, Dr. Aida Takla-O’Reilly and Ludovic du Plessis, vice president of Moet & Chandon USA.

“Moet & Chandon has celebrated the magic of cinema for nearly a century, and we look forward to continuing to host and toast cinema icons in its legendary spirit of success and glamour at the Golden Globes,” said Ludovic du Plessis, Vice President of Moet & Chandon USA.

The 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards will mark the first time that Moet & Chandon will serve Grand Vintage champagne from customized magnums created specifically for the occasion.

“Once again we’re happy to have Moet & Chandon on board with us as the official champagne of the Golden Globes®,” remarked Takla-O’Reilly. “This year marks a special year for us as our partnership enters its 21st year.”

Over 1,000 Moet & Chandon Imperial minis and 500 Grand Vintage 2002 magnums will be served on both the red carpet and inside the ballroom totalling over 9,000 glasses of Moet & Chandon enjoyed during one of Hollywood’s biggest nights.

Tasting Notes:

A blend of 51% Chardonnay, 26% Pinot Noir and 23% Pinot Meunier

A good white creamy mousse. Pale gold with very fine and persistent bead. The nose displays aromas of toasted brioche, yeast lees, citrus and some baked bread. Creamy in texture the palate exhibits refined flavours of toast, citrus, biscuit and yeast lees. Clean crisp finish with long aftertaste of toast, yeast lees and brioche.

Drink over the next 5-6 years (2016)

Alc 12.5%

The 2002 Grand Vintage Champagne has been awarded 93 points by Wine Spectator magazine in its recent issue.

Liz Palmer

Toasting the Bad Economy? Champagne Sales Bubble Up

Champagne sales are bubbling again.

The French industry is preparing for a bumper holiday season, a significant recovery from just two years ago, when it slashed production in the face of the global economic downturn.

By the end of September, the Champagne industry had shipped 192 million bottles, and the festive fourth quarter is usually the strongest, accounting for a third to a half of annual bubbly sales. That could put it on track to near the record 339 million bottles shipped in 2007.

The Champagne rebound reflects the effervescence in the luxury-goods industry as a whole. The world’s largest luxury-goods group, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the owner of fashion and beauty brands such as Louis Vuitton and Guerlain as well as several champagne labels, recorded 15% sales growth over the first nine months of 2011. Luxury fashion rivals such as Hermès and PPR’s Gucci logged similarly robust growth.

“Champagne sales are faring well ahead of the holiday season and are up 15% compared to 2010,” said Emeric Sauty de Chalon, president of French online wine shop 1855, which last month organized a major Champagne tasting in Paris.

Though sales may not reach the levels seen before the crisis, “we’re getting closer,” said Stephanie Mingam, the spokeswoman for drinks group Pernod Ricard’s Champagne division, which owns Mumm and Perrier-Jouët champagne.

The industry took a serious hit in 2008 and 2009. Champagne makers—famous-brand and independent producers alike—cut production drastically to avoid a large drop in prices, leaving tons of grapes rotting in the fields during the harvest.

Shipments from the Champagne region—located east of Paris, and the only place in the world that is permitted to use the region’s name for its bubbly—fell below 300 million bottles in 2009 for the first time in five years, according to CIVC, the champagne trade organization. Last year, the industry shipped 320 million bottles, valued at €4.1 billion ($5.49 billion), the CIVC said.

Like the luxury-goods industry in general, however, champagne makers remain cautious about the future. They fear that a deepening of the euro crisis could dampen consumers’ thirst for a beverage that is associated with celebration and good times. Mr. Sauty de Chalon is now pitching bubbly as a distraction rather than a celebration. Champagne “is a means to escape everyday life,” he says.

The first signs of a bumper year came this past summer. The CIVC, which sets the criteria for the harvest, authorized the maximum volume of grape picking—a sign of optimism for the medium term as grapes picked this year will be aged for at least two years.

Then, in October, LVMH said the group’s Veuve Clicquot Champagne was holding back some stock as it faced supply shortages ahead of the holiday season, particularly in the U.S. “We don’t have enough bottles, and we made sure that these bottles were left for the year-end season,” Jean-Jacques Guiony, the finance director, said in October. LVMH also owns such Champagne brands as Dom Pérignon and Moët & Chandon.

Other Champagne makers have also noted that consumers are willing to pay more for their bubbly. Lanson-BCC, the home of the Lanson, Besserat and Tsarine brands, said the price/mix effect—a key indicator reflecting both the type of Champagne customers buy and the evolution in prices—rose 5.6% in the first nine months of the year. Competitor Laurent-Perrier said its price-mix effect increased 7.6% between April and September, and its net profit tripled.

That marks a sharp contrast with discounted Champagne in French supermarkets last December, when some bubbly was marked down to less than €10 a bottle.

This year, 1,500 visitors paid €25 each to attend 1855’s champagne tasting at a luxury hotel in Paris. They swarmed tables serving such brands as Mumm Grand Cru, Perrier-Jouët 2004 Belle Epoque and Louis Roederer 2004 Cristal. Within four hours, the party had run dry.

The Wall Street Journal