Top 10 Champagne trends for 201213th January, 2012 by Rupert Millar
3. Cellar masters will lay down more library stock
For a discerning market such as the UK, the addition of recently disgorged (RD) wines is very interesting and potentially very profitable. Being vintage wines and therefore a small part of an already limited production, RD wines are not volume drivers in the way NV always is; however, they are part and parcel of the all-important diversification theme.
An article in October’s issue of the drinks business found that across the grandes marques there was a growing desire to release limited editions of past vintages. Louis Roederer and Lanson both plan to release collections over the next few years in competition with the likes of Veuve Clicquot and Krug. The fact that these aged Champagnes have near-guaranteed perfect provenance also adds tremendous value.
For example, Dom Pérignon’s 1996 vintage was launched in 2003 at £110 a bottle; when its Oenothèque version came out last year it instantly had nearly doubled in price to £200 a bottle.
Dominique Demarville, cellar master for Veuve Clicquot, states, unreservedly, that “we will release a new range of Cave Privée in 2013”, which will complement that released in 2010.
Meanwhile, following the recent release of the 1911 vintage, Moët & Chandon’s cellar master Benôit Gouez states: “I am lucky that my predecessors have left me with one of the Champagne region’s most prestigious and valuable collections of vintage wines dating back to 1892. My duty is to replace every single bottle I take from the cellars, and yes I am reserving more and more stocks of grand vintage, including rosé, for extra-maturation in our Grand Vintage Reserve.”
Lanson too is pushing its house style at the moment and is keen to show that ageing “lends itself perfectly to non-malo”, says Beavis.
Niche they may remain but RD wines are likely to be a major talking point for the grandes marques in the future.