Slashing the price of Lanson Brut and Rosé styles by at least £10 a bottle, if not more, has become a favourite pastime of the grocers this year. Sainsbury’s has just added four new deals to its offers before the holiday weekend and pitches Lanson against Jacquart, with the latter’s pink £1 less than the biggest off trade rosé brand in terms of volume sales — that’s Lanson. If you like a softer creamier style of rosé, I’d pick the Jacquart.
Tesco doesn’t seem bothered about competing on price, though it does have the soft, easy drinking Heidsieck Monopole Blue Top at just £15 and Jacquart Brut at the same price as Sainsbury’s (£20).
ASDA has Moët at £26, and while it has for the moment restored Pierre Darcy’s from £9 to £20 a bottle, it still has the more attractive Louvel Fontaine at just £10, while Piper Heidsieck at £22 is probably the best ‘price to value’ among the bigger brand names.
M&S has ended its good deals and resorted to small price cuts on four different styes of Oudinot, all rather dull wines and not remotely in the same class as the brilliant De Saint Gall champagnes from Union Champagne in Avize. If only M&S would bring those wines back.
As we have reported, Waitrose has started selling single bottles of champagne online, I’d pick out two other examples. I’d recommend two if you want something with a little more substance and complexity this long weekend: Nicolas Feuillatte’s Brut Chardonnay Vintage 2006 (£29.99) and Le Mesnil Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Vintage 2007 (£33.99). At around £20, Waitrose also has some stock left of Alexandre Bonnet’s well-made, fruity Pinot Noir based Rosé, from the Côte des Bars, (only online but not by the bottle).
Speaking of the Côte des Bars, I really liked the savoury, baked apple notes in the creamy textured the 70% Pinot Noir/30% Chardonnay bottle of Gremillet Brut NV I had a couple of months back and you can buy that from Virgin Wines for £18.66 a bottle with the help of a WinesDirect voucher, see the previous blog below.
ChampagneGuru has teamed up with WinesDirect to offer readers the chance to get an even better deal on many champagnes bought online. While we are continuing to highlight the best offers in supermarkets, off licence chains and small independent merchants on these pages, now we can also give you the opportunity to save more money on many of the online deals available. This is because WinesDirect has negotiated advantageous deals & special vouchers with many of these retailers. And they have constructed a special page on their website for ChampagneGuru readers that you can just click through to from this WinesDirect link or from our main Champagne Offers page.
Waitrose is tapping into the online market for fizz with a new service that started on Thursday (21 April) that allows customers to buy single bottles of champagne with free delivery. It’s offering an impressive range of 47 different lines — 42 champagnes and five English sparklers — through this new service with prices starting at £26.99 a bottle for Duval-Leroy’s Fleur de Champagne, while the most expensive bottle currently is a Salmanazar (equivalent to 12 standard bottles) of Bollinger Special Cuvée Brut NV at £675.
There are no Own Label champagnes or Waitrose exclusive labels and most of the wines are from the major houses. Among the initial attractive deals Pol RogerBrut Réserve is down from £39.99 to £29.99 a bottle (as in store currently), however even without a discount Nicolas Feuillatte’s Brut Chardonnay Vintage 2006, which shows a lovely developed mid-palate richness, looks like a good buy at the same price.
And for those who haven’t wanted to buy six bottles to try it, I can heartily commend Le Mesnil Blancs de Blancs Brut Vintage Grand Cru at £33.99. Annoyingly it doesn’t show the vintage of this wine, although the bottle shot says 2004 on the label. However, I suspect it is a more recent vintage as this top class quality co-operative has already released the 2005 and 2007 vintages (I’m checking with Waitrose). It doesn’t make bad wines, so these are both attractive options but if it is the ’04, as these wines age so well, that’s even more reason to buy. (It is the 2007 vintage).
At the higher price end you can purchase magnums of Louis Roederer Brut Premier for £79.99, with more bottle age than you get in 75cl this is on terrific form currently and both Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle at £99 and Taittinger Comtes de Champagnes Blanc de Blancs Vintage for £100 are well priced. Again Waitrose doesn’t give the vintage of the Taittinger, although I imagine it is the still pretty youthful 2006 release (Waitrose have confirmed it is the 2006). I am going to a vertical tasting of six different of Comtes de Champagne next week c/o The Finest Bubble — 1996, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006 and Rosé 2006 – so look out for that report.
Low prices have become the norm again with the major champagne brands suffering at the hands of the grocers and £10 bottles, or cheaper, remaining a feature of the market. While there are some pretty low prices, some of the best deals are to be found at £20 and over, though the last time I tried it, Abel Charlot was very decent and a 12 bottle case at M&S will currently set you back just £144.
I’d pick out three other examples. At around £20, Waitrose has some stock left of Alexandre Bonnet’s fruity Pinot Noir based Rosé, from the Côte des Bars. Then you should check out Nicolas Feuillatte’s Brut Chardonnay Vintage 2006, a lovely bready, mature, rich textured mouthful, at or near its peak. And if you want to be rather more indulgent, Laurent-Perrier’s top-quality prestige cuvée Grande Siècle comes down to £67.50, if you buy two bottles online.
Over the Easter weekend the Feuillate Blanc de Blancs ’06 and Ridgeview 2011 Blanc de Blancs (English fizz), were our two vinous highlights. But then we didn’t have a bottle of Grande Siècle to hand. I’m not even sure there’s one in my cellar, sadly. See Champagne Offers for details of all prices.
Tesco is selling its ‘exclusive label’ Pol Aime champagne for just £7.46 a bottle, in a 25% off deal over Easter weekend that runs until 3 April (if you buy six bottles or more). And under the same deal the already discounted Lanson Black Label price drops to £16.50, while Lanson’s rosé falls to £20.25 and Taittinger’s Brut Réserve to £21 a bottle. See latest Supermarket Offers page.
While Valentine’s Day and Mothering Sunday are both seen by retailers as opportunities to push low prices on champagne, particularly rosé styles, perhaps we should remember the original idea of massively discounting champagne as a ‘footfall driver’ came at Easter in 2000. Sainsbury’s instigated that trend and now is leading the pre-Easter charge to slash branded champagne prices starting tomorrow (16 March).
Under its 25% discount on purchases of six bottles or more that runs from 16-20 March, the price of Lanson Black Label temporarily drops to just £15 a bottle, market leader Moët & Chandon Brut Impériale to £18.75 and Piper-Heidsieck to £14.75. Or why not lay in some stocks of Veuve Clicquot Vintage Réserve Brut 2004 for £28.50 instead of £50? Its own excellent Blanc de Blancs drops to £13.50 under this same deal. You can expect a reaction from other retailers soon too, check out the latest Supermarket Offers page.