Champagne trends of 2013: 9. Reinstating rituals
Among the 10 current developments db has identified in Champagne is the growing promotion of pouring rituals.
Following yesterday’s piece on the increasing number of sweeter Champagnes, today we consider a further new trend from Champagne – the development of a little more ceremony around the serve.
In particular, there appears to be increasingly novel treatment of the product in bars and restaurants using decanters, special glassware, ice or even fruit in an attempt to make the drinker feel a bit more special, and invite curiosity from onlookers.
Moët Ice Imperial is one notable product created for this purpose. Launched in 2011, it’s the first Champagne specifically created to be drunk over ice, preferably in special Moët Ice Imperial glasses.
“It’s doing very well,” says Arnaud de Saignes, Moet’s international director of marketing and communications, although he adds that Moët “wants to keep a certain exclusivity and seasonality to it”.
As a result, sales of the unique Champagne are focused on coastal areas or places with “a summer mindset”, and de Saignes cites for example, Sylt, an island in northern Germany that’s popular with celebrities.
Others are pushing for their Champagne to be decanted in front of the diner. Henriot in particular is a strong advocate of this approach for its blanc de blancs, and late last year launched a special package called “La Sphere” containing a decanter to encourage such a serve. “Henriot as a brand is a little serious… so we wanted to create something to lighten its image,” explains Henriot managing director, Thierry Mure, referring to the white plastic spherical container created to house the decanter and blanc de blancs Champagne.
Meanwhile, Mumm has been busy with its “Champagne Protocoles”. These centre on “rediscovering the rituals of Champagne in a playful way”, according to Pierre-Aymeric Du Cray.
Launched in France in late 2011 and rolling out into other markets this year, a mobile phone app has been designed to initiate users into the rituals and rules of Champagne with a 12-chapter guide of 100 protocols.
These include tips on how to handle a Jeroboam, what type of glassware to use and the correct temperature to serve Champagne.
In particular, Mumm is promoting the art of sabrage – that is, using a sword to open bottles. As part of this, it commissioned a special Mumm sabre by Patrick Jouin, which it sells with a bottle of the Champagne in a gift pack.
However, the latest serving ritual comes from Lanson, who quietly introduced the White Label last year. Packaged in a white bottle, the Champagne is a sec style (with 32 grams per litre of residual sugar), and Lanson recommend serving the product with citrus zest.
“By adding the zest of orange or lemon you will enhance the core flavour of the Champagne,” explains Beavis. “It about making Champagne a little more fun in the on-premise,” he adds, noting that the Dorchester Collection’s 45 Park Lane hotel is serving it by the glass from magnums, complemented by a tray containing lemon zest.
“We’re pushing the boundaries a bit, getting bar staff enthused and giving customers something to talk about,” sums up Beavis.