As we near the end of November, so the promotional activity at the supermarkets hots up with lots of copycat deals as the grocers try to match anything their competitors put out. Heidsieck Monopole Blue Top, a basic level non-vintage brut, is being pushed by Sainsbury’s, Tesco and ASDA who all have it priced around the £15 mark. Sainsbury’s have gone one step further cutting the single bottle price to £12.49 a bottle, as a reader near Oxford spotted. Perhaps to better the Co-op’s deal on Piper Heidsieck, they have also extended their offer on this brand, and cut the price further to £18 a bottle.
In the latest competitive move ASDA has upped the anti by bettering Morrisons offers on Lanson Black Label and Rosé (by 99p) and cutting the price of its own label exclusive Pierre Darcys Brut NV to just £10 a bottle. Aldi has reduced the price of its Veuve Monsigny exclusive label to £9.99 into the New Year.
Further discounts are likely to emerge shortly with another 25% off the whole range due to start imminently. See latest offers
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A price war between supermarkets using champagne as their weapon of choice has broken out the other side of The Channel, shadowing developments in the UK where prices have fallen steadily since mid-October. Two of the major French supermarket groups, … Continue reading
On Wednesday morning (9 October) I went to see Philippe Brun who runs the press at his family’s business (Roger Brun) in Aÿ. As well as processing his own grapes for a fine range of Pinot Noir based champagnes under the Roger Brun label, Philippe runs a service for several top négociants, some of whom he also supplies with grapes, plus numerous small growers. It is his comments you can hear on the video. Also note that for his own grapes he uses not the large 40 kilos baskets but smaller 20 kilo versions because he wants to limit the likelihood of grapes being damaged and the risk they may start to ferment before they are tipped into the press. He also has a pneumatic press on the same site, but we look at how the 4,000 kilo Coquard press is run and also show the second pressing in the film.
You see and hear lots of interesting things when you visit Champagne while the harvest is actually going on. On my three day trip there last week I saw several different press houses in action and have made a couple of short videos featuring the Coquard basket press at two different wineries. The first involves the Perrier-Jouët operation in the village of Cramant in the Côte des Blancs. It’s is remarkable just how quickly the presses are loaded by hand. The baskets of Chardonnay you see being emptied at speed each weigh around 40 kilos and therefore you need 100 to get the 4,000 kilos that makes up one pressing (known as a Marc).
Thanks to Finn Fallowfield for editing.
It’s all been very busy since early September with various Champenois visiting London, the 2013 harvest kicking off on 24 September, plus a three day trip to Champagne from 7 October just as some of the cooler Montagne de Reims grands crus Pinot Noir vineyards started picking, notably Verzenay. The rest of October looks very busy too with several supermarkets showing the fizz they have lined up for Christmas at their tastings, plus more London events involving Cattier, Laurent-Perrier , Piper-Heidsieck and Lanson, to name but four.
Having re-organised things here, I am trying to report on these as they happen while filling in some detail about the almost complete harvest and catching up on some of the excellent champagne events of the past few weeks, like Bruno Paillard’s tasting of different cuvées of his ‘multi-vintage’ Brut Première Cuvée, disgorged seven, 45, 97 and 140 months ago. Future blogging should be more regular and up to date.
Good summer weather continues to lift champagne consumption and retailers like Tesco are doing their best to boost consumers’ spending by introducing the widely favoured blanket 25% discount of all its wine and champagnes if you buy six bottles or more. And because it is doing this while other discounts are running some real bargains have emerged. You can pick up bottles of Veuve Clicquot’s top quality 2004 vintage for below £28 under the deal, while Lanson Black Label drops to just £16.49.
We seem to be seeing a switch in the recent deals back to big brand names, as was the case at Sainsbury’s last month. However one of the bargains while the 25% discount lasts (until 10 September) is Own Label in the shape of Tesco Finest Premier Cru a wine I’d be very happy to consume at just £12.74 a bottle. For details of these and other price reductions see the Latest Offers page.
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Yesterday my eldest son finished his IB exams and I had a look for something suitable to open in celebration. After a good deal of indecision, I eventually plumped for a bottle of Ayala 2002, partly on the basis that … Continue reading
When I came into the office for the first time last week there was a message on my ansafone from a ChampagneGuru visitor, asking if I could help evaluate or provide any information about a very old bottle of vintage … Continue reading
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Harpers: 3 May 2013 (TBC): Veuve Clicquot President & CEO Jean Marc Lacave Veuve Clicquot’s President and CEO Jean Marc Lacave says: “We need a relevant new message and the link between wine and gastronomy is an obvious one.” He … Continue reading
New president of the Union des Maisons de Champagne (UMC) Jean-Marie Barillère says that export markets like the UK are “not where growth will be found tomorrow and the houses must anticipate this change by investing in distant markets, especially … Continue reading