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Champagne discounting steps up a level

With UK retail sales of champagne down 17.7% in volume terms to the end of September, the current pre-Christmas round of discounting in UK supermarkets sees far deeper price cuts taking place. Giles Fallowfield investigates.

(Image credit: istock/SergeyRyzhov)

At Sainsbury’s, where a 25% reduction on all purchases of six bottles or more started on 14 November, and is running concurrently with single bottle reductions, several prices are down significantly. Laurent-Perrier La Cuvée, their mainstream non-vintage wine is down £10 from £49 to £39 before the further 25% discount applies, that reduces the price to £29.25 per bottle.

Initially online until Wednesday 22 November the reduction was £20, reducing the price to £29, making the individual bottle price just £21.75 for those quick enough to order.

Other current deals at the grocer include £10 off the current fine and quite forward Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage 2015, which falls to £52 a bottle or a very reasonable £39 if you purchase at least six wines in total. For those after a vintage bargain and very attractive current drinking, the Charles Dauteuill Brut from 2014 looks great value a £25, dropping to just £18.75 if you purchase at least five other bottles of wine.

If you want pink fizz choose between Moët & Chandon Brut Imperial Rosé down £7 at £41 (£30.75 six bottle price) or Lanson Le Rosé, down £10 to £35 (£26.25 six bottle price). Tesco, which is also running a 25% off promotion via its clubcard, has the Lanson rosé at precisely the same discounted price and Lanson Le Black Creation down £8 at £31 (£23.25, six bottle price). Heidsieck & Co Monopole Rosé is on a good deal too, down £10 to £28 (£21, six bottle price). Piper Heidsieck Brut, down £9 to £30 (£22.50, six bottle price) is also an attractive option. And for a top vintage with a decade of ageing on its lees even without any bottle discount Lanson 2012 is great value if you buy six at £36 each.

The 25% deal at ASDA runs until Sunday 17 December and sees Lanson Le Black Creation £1 cheaper than at Tesco before the 25% discount applies at £30 a bottle. And Lanson Le Rosé is £1 cheaper than both Sainsbury’s and Tesco have it at £34. Pommery Brut Royal is down £11 to £32 before the 25% discount, while Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage 2015, is £3 cheaper than at Sainsbury’s at £49, £36.75 with the six-bottle discount applied. And Moet’s flagship Brut Impérial is down £6 to £36, £27 for six bottles, the same price as Tesco.

Morrisons is offering a one third reduction on various champagnes making it a good place for a single bottle purchase with Lanson Le Black Creation down from £42 to £28; Moët Brut Impérial from £44 to £29.33 and Moët & Chandon Brut Imperial Rosé down from £50 to £33.33, while Heidsieck & Co Monopole Blue Top Brut is on a good deal too, down a third to £21.33 a bottle.

At Waitrose, which still maintains a larger and more exciting range of champagnes than the other major grocers, the current offers are only on individual wines. Some of the best of these, only available elsewhere through smaller specialist merchants, include Palmer 2012 vintage, down £10 at £49 a bottle, while Palmer’s fine Blanc de Blanc style has a similar discount to £43.99 and Gosset’s Grande Réserve, is down £13 from £54.99 to £41.99.

Often their best value vintage champagne, the No 1 Special Réserve Vintage from the ripe but not that highly rated 2015 harvest, is down £8 at £27.99. Ayala’s well-made Brut Majeur NV, now with more Chardonnay in the blend, is down £5 at £29.99 a bottle.

Elsewhere in the High Street at Majestic they have Ayala’s Brut Majeur Extra Age — originally made for Gordon Ramsay and benefitting greatly from more time in bottle – which easily justifies the extra £3 you pay for it with Majestic’s Mix Six price of £32.99. Ayala’s Blanc de Blanc vintage 2016 (£56.99 mix six price) offering is class act, that ages impressively and Piper-Heidsieck’s Brut Sauvage Rosé is a not widely stocked pink with a rich colour and the power of Côte des Bar Pinot Noir to the fore,
down 30% to £34.99 (mix six price).

With champagne UK sales slowing more dramatically mid-year, than now, it will be interesting to see if the wider discounting slows the downturn in the last quarter of the year which typically accounts for over 40% of annual sales. There may be more dramatic price reductions coming in the run-up to Christmas and the New Year.

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