Champagne's Particular Prestige
Published by Paul Williamson on 24/05/2018
Private Client Sales Manager Paul Williamson investigates the continuing appeal of prestige cuvée Champagne.
Champagne is a fascinating thing. A sparkling wine first created by mistake, produced in a region with a climate not entirely ideal for growing grapes. Yet if you asked anyone to describe what Champagne means to them, most responses would be associated with quality, prestige and celebrating good times. The recent explosion in popularity of Prosecco has done nothing to dim the appeal of Champagne, if anything it has highlighted the sheer class with which Champagne continues to imbue.
Another fascinating aspect in the world of Champagne is the rise of 'Grower Champagnes'; small, artisanal producers creating beautiful, terroir focussed wines in a way which reflects a Burgundian raison d'etre. We are big fans of the complex styles and techniques that these growers bring to the genre, in fact we import directly from two fantastic producers, Egly-Ouriet and Champagne Dosnon.
There is no doubt that the big name, Grand Marque Champagne houses have become a little nervous by these external forces stretching the market and appeal away from their big brands. However there is one sub-sector of the fascinating Champagne scene that continues to appeal, and which is even growing in popularity all of the time, that is the Prestige-Cuvée. These are the top wines of any producer, the utter epitome of the style and class of Champagne.
Prestige Cuvées are often released onto the market with a fanfare and with big marketing campaigns to back it up. Some may think that this world of prestige and grandeur would not appeal to the Grower Champagne lovers, those who appreciate the craft and graft of the small producer, but the opposite is true, the two products are not mutually exclusive. I don't know anyone who would turn their nose up at a glass of aged Dom Perignon or Krug Grand Cuvée.
The thing is, Prestige Cuvées represent all that is brilliant about Champagne. Generally, they are made from a producer’s best plots of vines, produced only in top vintages and are kept in the cellars for longer than normal to be meticulously crafted and matured to perfection. They are often richer and more complex than your average bottle of Champagne and when all the best factors come together they can be the most stunning and divine vinous creations imaginable.
These Champagnes can be brilliantly age-worthy, continuing to gain complexity and texture in the bottle for decades. As a consequence of the relatively limited amount of production of these top wines, and because they get drunk frequently, demand begins to outstrip supply. Buying on release can be the most economical way of getting your hands on them. For example, the current market price for the magnificent 2002 Krug is more than 40% higher than when it was released 2 years ago.
Two recent releases that are worth highlighting are Bollinger R.D. 2004 and Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 2007. Both classic examples of their house style, and well worth adding to any collection. In the near future we are also expecting to hear news about the highly anticipated 2008 Louis Roederer Cristal release and Salon 2007, all of which collectors will be scrambling for.
If you would like to receive information about any of the recent and upcoming releases, please don't hesitate to get in touch.
Private Client Sales Manager
020 7381 7881
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