Champagne trends of 2013: 8. Disgorgement

30th May, 2013 by Patrick Schmitt

Of all the topics talked about within the walls of Champagne’s many maisons, the issue of whether or not to print disgorgement dates is undoubtedly the most prominent at the moment.

ChampagneThere’s barely a brand within the region without a strong view on the matter, although more are admitting there’s a need for greater transparency when it comes to Champagne’s production process.

Charles Philipponnat puts a particularly convincing argument in favour of printing detailed information on the label, having incorporated disgorgement dates on Philipponnat since the 1980s – making him one of the first, along with Bruno Paillard.

“We initially printed disgorgement dates in 1980 for an Italian importer and then we extended the practice to our entire range in the 1990s because providing customers with technical information helps ambitious brands explain why they should be more expensive,” he explains.

Continuing, Philipponnat says, “Champagne can be a great wine and there are technical reasons for that, and they are important to convey. It’s noble marketing, and better than a wet t-shirt competition with golden bottles.” But, he also warns, if you start providing information, you “must continue until you end up naked” – in other words, the disgorgement date is just one of the many details Champagne experts will want to discover.

Other than Philipponnat and Paillard, Lanson – which is within the same group as both these brands – also prints disgorgement dates on all its wines. Indeed, Lanson’s decision to put this information on its labels in 2011 made the brand “one of the first houses of size to put disgorgement dates on the bottle”, records Paul Beavis, managing director of Lanson UK. “At the end of the day Champagne is a wine and while branding is essential, we must give consumers the knowledge to understand the category,” he says.

Another label within the Lanson group is De Venoge, and president of the house Gilles de la Bassetière says it is launching new packaging this year with disgorgement dates on the back labels of all its Champagnes. Meanwhile, Moët has opted to put disgorgement dates on its vintage Champagnes, and Veuve Clicquot carries them on its Cave Privée collection, and plans to add them to its vintage Champagne and La Grand Dame this year or possibly in 2014, according to cellar master Dominique Demarville. Elsewhere, Mumm has them on its Grand Cru range as well as its Cuvée R Lalou, while Ruinart will add such information to its Dom Ruinart later this year.

Others, such as Henriot and Krug, provide the data in coded form, which can either be read by those in the know, or entered into a website to provide the necessary information. This latter approach will also be adopted by Roederer for Cristal from later this year. The house is even launching an iPhone application allowing consumers to enter a number printed on the bottle to gain access to information on the blend, disgorgement date and other technical details.

Finally, a handful of houses are now offering a disgorging to order service. Lanson promises such specialist treatment for buyers of its Grand Vintage Collection, while Philipponnat has developed a similar service for customers of fine wine merchant Bordeaux Index – although just for its Clos des Goisses.

But with the focus on revealing these details, there’s another topic in Champagne that deserves attention – and that’s clarity on the source of Champagne sold sur latte. “The bigger issue is transparency on sur latte trading,” says Patrice Noyelle, outgoing managing director of Pol Roger, when asked for his views on printing disgorgement dates. He, and others, would like more regulation on the exchange of these bottled, but not disgorged Champagnes. “You should say if a Champagne was made by, bottled by, and disgorged by the same entity, or if not, say who made it, who bottled it, and who has disgorged it,” sums up Philipponnat.

Other Champagne trends reported by the drinks business include:

9. Reinstating rituals

10. Sweet surge

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletters

Job vacancies

Commercial Director

The Drinks Business Hong Kong
Hong Kong

Key Accounts Manager - Impulse Channel

Australian Vintage Limited
Croydon, Greater London, United Kingdom, GB

Sales Support Assistant

H2Vin Ltd
London, UK

Sales Administrator

Les Caves de Pyrène
Guildford, Surrey

Sales Order Processor

Amathus Drinks
Park Royal, London NW10, UK

Sales Executive (London – Craft Spirits)

Bimber Distillery
London, UK

Events & PR Co-ordinator

Alliance Wine
London, UK

Partner Development Manager - That Boutique-y Gin Company

That Boutique-y Gin Company
Field Based, UK

Head of Merchant Sales

Grapevine the Wineservice Company
Cumbria, UK

Business Development Manager – Central London

Marussia Beverages UK Ltd
Field based – London, UK

Account Manager – Premium Restaurants, London

Kingfisher Beer Europe Ltd
London (Central), UK

Field Sales Representative - Beer Innovation

Various locations, UK

Events Executive

The Drinks Business
London, UK

Area Sales Executive

Gordon & Macphail
Southern England (excluding London) and Inner London, UK

Buyer – Wine & Spirits

London, UK

The Global Malbec Masters 2017

Deadline : 1st August 2017

The Global Beer Masters 2017

Deadline : 1st August 2017

Global Chardonnay Masters 2017

Deadline : 1st August 2017

The Global Riesling Masters 2017

Deadline : 1st August 2017

Click to view more

The Global Organic Masters 2017

The drinks business is thrilled to announce the launch of The Global Organic Masters

The Drinks Business Awards 2017

Now in its 15th year, the db awards have become the most authoritative, internationally respected badge of achievement in the alcoholic drinks industry.

The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters 2017

the drinks business Hong Kong announces its first year of The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters.

Rioja Masters 2016

Now in its fifth year, the competition will recognise and reward the finest Riojas on the world stage.

Click to view more