Canard-Duchêne launch ‘smooth’ pink Champagne in ski resorts12th February, 2014 by Patrick Schmitt
Canard-Duchêne has launched Smooth Rosé: a new sec pink Champagne for lounge bars and ski resorts that’s housed in a white bottle.
With a dosage of 22 grams per litre, the new Champagne is classified as sec – a term which covers cuvées between 17 and 32 g/l – but Canard-Duchêne is referring to its latest rosé as “smooth”, not sweet.
Introduced as a range extension to Canard-Duchene’s Charles VII prestige cuvée, Smooth Rosé is a non-vintage Champagne with a €50 price tag in France, where it is initially available.
“It’s a sec rosé called smooth which we thought would be fun to offer with a unique design that would be better to party with,” said Alexis Petit-Gats, managing director at Canard-Duchêne.
With its white packaging, the pink off-dry Champagne is targeted at “places where people can party” according to Petits-Gats, adding that particular targets are “trendy ski and beach resorts”.
The Smooth Rosé has in fact been test marketed since November last year in the French Alps, and Petits-Gats told the drinks business that already 70 outlets were stocking the new Champagne in places such as Val d’Isere and Albertville.
So far, Canard-Duchêne has shipped over 3,000 bottles, but plans to sell more than 20,000 bottles during the course of this year worldwide.
Beyond French beach and ski resorts, Petit-Gats is hoping to distribute Smooth Rosé to “a few exclusive on-trade accounts” in the US and Australia, with “lounge bars” deemed more suitable than night clubs for the new Champagne.
Speaking about the style of the Champagne, Petit-Gats said the 22g/l dosage had been chosen to “enhance the rosé flavours” without giving a “perception of sugar”, having trialled pink cuvées with dosages between 18 and 30 g/l.
“At 22 g/l we have an increased perception of roundness but we’ve not lost the acidity, and the impression of red berries is enhanced,” he said.
While the standard Charles VII rosé is a blend of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir, the Smooth Rosé has a slightly higher Chardonnay content at 60%.
The new product uses the 2010 vintage for the base wine, but like the rest of the Charles VII range, it is a non-vintage Champagne.
Petit-Gats also told db that he wanted the pink Champagne to be described as “smooth, not sweet”, and hoped to use the product to “recruit new consumers to Canard-Duchêne and Charles VII.
“The idea is to be more seductive for new and younger consumers,” he said.
As for the choice of a white bottle, Petit-Gats said he’d chosen the colour “to stand out”, although he added that the decision was inspired by the discovery of a white painted bottle of Canard-Duchêne from the 61 vintage.
Other new white bottles from leading Champagne houses include Moet’s Ice Imperial – a sec Champagne designed to be served over ice – and Lanson’s white label – another sec, but blended to be served with citrus zest.
However, Petit-Gats stressed that Smooth Rosé was not created to serve with ice or fruit, while he added that it had no intention of launching a Smooth Blanc.