Canard-Duchêne launches rosé for UK restaurant sector

Canard-Duchêne has launched a rosé Champagne exclusively for restaurants and independent wine merchants.

Leonie rose

Cuvée Léonie Rosé is aimed at the UK restaurant sector

Called Cuvée Léonie, the new product is part of an attempt to increase sales in the UK on-trade by brand owner Groupe Thiénot, which launched a new subsidiary in the country last month – Thiénot UK.

“One of the biggest growth opportunities for Canard-Duchêne is to have a broader offer and to extend distribution in restaurants,” said Alexis Petit-Gats, managing director of the Champagne brand, during a discussion with the drinks business.

Speaking more generally about Canard-Duchêne, which was bought from Moët-Hennessy by Groupe Thiénot in 2003, Petit-Gats explained that UK sales of the brand were currently too concentrated in retail.

“At the moment 70% of our sales are in the off-trade, but ideally we would like to have a 50:50 split between the on- and off-trade,” he said. He also described the Cuvée Léonie range from Canard-Duchêne as “dedicated to restaurants”.

The rosé joins the Cuvée Léonie brut and brut organic, and all three Champagnes in the range have an rrp of around £30.

With a total production of 70,000 bottles, Petit-Gats said Canard-Duchêne’s organic Champagne was the largest certified organic brand in the region, although he added that Duval-Leroy may produce similar volumes of organic Champagne.

The Cuvée Léonie brut organic is made using barrel-fermented Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier from 8 hectares of Groupe Thienot’s own vineyards and a further 7ha from organic growers across the region.

Petit-Gats said that the cost of organic grapes was 25% higher, but yields were 30% lower.

Considering Canard-Duchêne’s Brut NV sells for £25, compared to £30 for the organic Champagne, Petit-Gats explained there was no extra margin for being certified organic.

However, motivation for having an organic Champagne in the on-trade focused Cuvée Léonie range stems from his believe that restaurants might be interested in the offering.

“My hope is that we can open a new category on the wine list for organic Champagne,” he said.

The Cuvée Léonie rosé was launched at Thienot UK’s first official tasting on 25 April in London, where the new operation showed wines from all of Groupe Thiénot’s estates, including Champagnes Thiénot, Canard-Duchêne and Joseph Perrier, as well as wines from Dourthe, Kressmann and CVBG Grands Crus in Bordeaux.

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