Champagne

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john
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Champagne

Post by john » Thu 24 Dec 2009 15:16

Is it just me,or has the price of Champers come tumbling this year ? I've seen it in the discounters at 8€95 a go,and even Carrefour had some today at 9€95 .

OK,they are not the top brands,and I'm bound to get some howls of derision as to supermarkets selling suspect quality goods,but I've had several different sorts averaging 10€ so far this festive season,and they were all perfectly acceptable. One (from Aldi) was superb.

But whatever the rights and wrongs of it,I just wondered why the prices were well down. Recession means fewer folk are buying? Overproduction? Greater competition? Strong Euro?

Has anyone any theories?

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Post by Santiago » Thu 24 Dec 2009 19:06

Perhaps overproduction and low demand in export markets has allowed negociants to pick up the lowest quality Champagne at lower prices than usual. However, as with most famous Appellations, I would prefer to buy a good Vouvray or Cremant than a cheap Champagne.
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Post by blackduff » Thu 24 Dec 2009 19:24

I see quite a bit of Cava served by French at aperos.

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Post by john » Thu 24 Dec 2009 19:33

Came across this when looking for answers.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid= ... C7Ax0umJyQ

So it seems that it is not only affecting the "cheap" producers,Santiago.

I take your point but ,as always,it's great to taste and test. And,unusually for Champagne,at these prices,you can afford to!

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Post by Santiago » Sat 26 Dec 2009 11:13

What that shows is the massive margin that the Champagne market normally has. If they can quite happily cut their prices in half.

I still don't think I'm tempted to experiment at 9-10€ a go for fizzy p&*$. :lol: Lots of seriously good red wines available for that price. And its better for you.

We had 4 wines for dinner last night:

Guy Preaut Champagne €17
Les Rose Blanches de Valmy €12
Margrain 99 Martinborough Pinot Noir €17
Gressier Grand Poujeaux 99 Moulis €12

The Champagne was the worst wine by far.
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john
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Post by john » Sat 26 Dec 2009 15:52

Actually,I'd agree with that,but surely Champers is a "fun " drink,usually drunk as an apero;not with the meal? I certainly would never consider drinking it with a fine piece of beef! So you would not really compare a Champagne with a Burgundy or a Claret,or any red wine for that matter.Horses for courses.

I've had several bottles of Champers over the last week or so,and by far the worst was a Laurent Perrier given as a present to us,which cost over 20 quid apparently.

The best was a "cheapo" from Aldi (10€) and far better than any Cremant or Cava I'd had.

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Post by graham34 » Wed 30 Dec 2009 16:36

I'm surprised the local Blanquette de Limoux hasn't been mentioned. Is it hard to find or perceived as poor value? I tried some at a London wine fair in November and found it quite appley and a bit simple - would probably have benefited from a bit of bottle age.

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Post by thumbelina » Wed 30 Dec 2009 16:51

blackduff wrote:I see quite a bit of Cava served by French at aperos.

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I LOVE Cava, BD!

Chateau Perellada (sp?) is jolly good stuff!!! :D :D :D

Not so keen on Blanquette, Graham. I always find it a bit 'thin'.

A couple of years ago we visited some friends who live between Reims and Troyes. They took us to a small independent champagne producer near there.

We had a wonderful time tasting the different champagnes (which were really excellent, incidentally) and came away with several cases including their rosé champagne at 12€ a bottle and their Premier Cru at 13€50 a bottle!

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Post by john » Wed 30 Dec 2009 17:36

I'd agree with most of that,Thumbs. Euro for Euro,Cava is far better than any Limoux (or for that matter Vouvray) I've ever tasted. So that's probably why BD has seen plenty on offer this side of the border recently.

TBH, as I said in an earlier posting,very few people really appreciate Champagne (myself included). It's something to slosh down at parties with aperos. But I think I can taste the difference between genuine Champers and other fizzies. I just don't think it's worth paying big bucks for. Judging by the vast quantities of moderately priced examples that were being snapped up by locals in Carrefour this morning,in time for St Sylvestre,I'm clearly not alone.

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Post by Santiago » Wed 30 Dec 2009 20:14

I don't find Cava is as nice as many of the French Cremants (I count Limoux in there even though half of it uses the "posher" Blanquette term). For me Cava always has a slightly dirty flavour and it's too fizzy. I sometimes get that dirty taste with Limoux too.

I really don't think you get into being able to differentiate between Champagne and the rest until you have a pretty good Champagne. Try tasting 2 or 3 blind and see if you can spot the Champagne. It's not easy.

The reason loads of French snap up cheap Champagne is to try and impress people that they have pushed the boat out for them. :lol: Same reason you see them snapping up the cheapest St Emilion.
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Post by Robert Ferrieux » Wed 30 Dec 2009 22:41

from Helen (hic)
I often use a less-than-top quality Champagne to make "Soupe au Champagne" (No, you don't drink it from a bowl with a soup-spoon).

Pour 1 bottle cheapo Champers into a large Waterford bowl...
Add 15 cls Pulcro Citron (from any supermart.)
" 15 cls Sirop de sucre (ditto)
" 15 cls Cointreau
Some people add Perrier or lemonade - I don't.
Serve very cold.....delicious & very popular as a party drink.

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Post by blackduff » Thu 31 Dec 2009 06:38

French drinkers toast cheap champagneBy Jennifer Thompson, FT.com
December 31, 2009 -- Updated 0219 GMT (1019 HKT)

Champagne makers are cutting prices as a result of the financial downturn.STORY HIGHLIGHTS
New Year revellers in France have an extra reason to raise their glasses at midnight: champagne at less than €10 a bottle
Producers have cut prices in response to the economic downturn.
The move is a change in strategy for producers that have generally increased prices in recent years
Paris (FT) -- New Year revellers in France have an extra reason to raise their glasses at midnight: champagne at less than €10 a bottle, as producers cut prices in response to the economic downturn.

Laurent-Perrier, the French company that sells cases of its Grand Siecle champagne for hundreds of euros, is currently promoting its €10 ($14, £9) Jeanmaire brand, while Boizel Chanoine Champagne, which sells the €110 Lanson Noble Curvee 1996, is selling champagne for less than €13. Carrefour, a leading supermarket chain, is selling Hubert de Claminger for €8.90 and Champagne Paul Breteuil at just over €10.

The move is a change in strategy for producers that have generally increased prices in recent years. The value of champagne sold almost doubled in the two decades to 2007.

Faced with increasing competition from sparkling wines over the past 10 years, champagne makers have focused on cultivating the brand.

However, French champagne industry insiders estimate that sales have fallen by 30 per cent in the past year.

Laurent-Perrier said the Jeanmaire brand was a response to the downturn. "Lower-cost champagnes did exist, but this year the bottom price is lower than before," the company said. "Over 60 per cent of our portfolio comes under the Laurent-Perrier name. Jeanmaire is a much smaller part of our portfolio, but we now have the opportunity to adapt our strategy."

Those who have refused to discount have seen their sales drop. Rémy Cointreau, the French alcohol manufacturer that has pushed up prices, reported that sales of its Piper-Heidsieck and Charles Heidsieck champagnes were down by more than 40 per cent in the year to September 2009.

However, some people warn that cheaper products will have a negative impact on all champagnes. Earlier this month Carole Duval-Leroy, president of Champagne Duval-Leroy, said that selling young vintages cheaply would "damage" the brand.

"It may pull down the image of the whole product," added Michel Brismontier, a spokesman for Champagne Duval-Leroy, a family-owned company.

Nevertheless it would appear that some French consumers are prepared to pay more for a premium brand.

"My family travels from Paris to the Champagne region to buy the best champagne every year," one woman shopping in French supermarket Monoprix said on Wednesday.

"When I do drink it, I want to drink good champagne," added another shopper. "It tastes better -- and it's good for you


This is from CNN this morning. Still time to hit Carrefour and buy a bit for tonight.

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/BUSINESS/12 ... index.html

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Post by john » Thu 31 Dec 2009 09:19

Santiago wrote:The reason loads of French snap up cheap Champagne is to try and impress people that they have pushed the boat out for them. :
Or could it (just possibly) be that they actually like it,and are taking advantage of the lower prices outlined by BD above???

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Post by Santiago » Thu 31 Dec 2009 11:35

I very much doubt it. 8)

The idea of using Champagne, even at 9€ a bottle, to make a punch is crazy when you can use other sparkling wines at half the price and have no chance of telling the difference.

BTW, where do we think these "new" labels of cheap Champers come from? :roll:
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Post by john » Thu 31 Dec 2009 11:56

Now I'd certainly agree with you re it being a waste of any champagne to make punch.

Or bucks fizz ,for that matter.

I don't think that these cheaper labels are necessarily "new",Jon. Just that they are not well known,and thus cannot command the price premium that the Taittangers,Moets,Bollingers of this world can(or at least could ).

Like Thumbs,a few yrs ago we spent a few days in the Reims/Epernay area,and,as with any wine region,there are LOADS of small producers who no-one has ever heard of,producing stuff that imo is equally as good as the big boys. At reasonable prices.

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Post by Santiago » Thu 31 Dec 2009 12:22

There is no more wine being made in Champagne so my (rhetorical) question is where did the cheap stuff suddenly appear from?

The big companies bring out lower-priced lines so as not to damage the "reputation" of their regular lines. The question is, what are they putting in the bottle. They are the masters of branding and rebranding in the wine world.
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Post by john » Thu 31 Dec 2009 12:39

There is doubtless some of that going on,Santiago. But it doesn't make it bad wine. If they've produced too much and need to sell some off cheap,well that happens in all trades.

But,as Thumbers points out there are also some smaller operators who can sell stuff cheaper as they don't have all the overheads of a big firm.

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Post by Santiago » Thu 31 Dec 2009 13:02

True.

I bought some from a small grower in Ceret Market :shock: last year it it was very good.
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Post by blackduff » Thu 31 Dec 2009 13:05

john wrote:There is doubtless some of that going on,Santiago. But it doesn't make it bad wine. If they've produced too much and need to sell some off cheap,well that happens in all trades.

But,as Thumbers points out there are also some smaller operators who can sell stuff cheaper as they don't have all the overheads of a big firm.
This can be the reverse too. Many small outfits cannot produce as cheaply as bigger companies. Both types of companies (large and small) use this argument (too expensive for high costs and other times they say they can do things cheaper).

My wife did look at Carrefour for some of this cheap Champagne but it wasn't available. She settled for a 4.19 € sparkling something.

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