Bubbles are rising
Over the Christmas and New Year season, sparkling wine receives a huge sales boost for obvious reasons as festive celebrations across the country get into full swing. However with a sparkling option and a price-tag to suit all budgets and tastes, it’s actually a year-round hit which deserves a strong showing on-shelf at all times, writes Gillian Hamill
15 December 2017
Sparkling wine remained the key success story last year, according to market analyst Euromonitor. In fact, within the UK market, the category recorded the fastest growth in wine with an 11% increase in total volumes.
Sparkling wine has enjoyed several consecutive years of growth, Euromonitor highlights, with wines such as prosecco and cava proving popular among consumers, not only for special occasions, but also for casual drinking. However, in 2016 the wine industry raised questions about whether the supply of Italian prosecco can meet the growing demand. This led retailers and importers to turn to other sources, including France and Spain, and even explore opportunities within the UK.
The analyst predicts that during 2016-2021, the sparkling wines segment will continue to capitalise on its momentum, value-for-money credentials and unpretentious associations. However Euromonitor adds that the category will ultimately push further up the pricing ladder to provide premium alternatives to champagne’s dominance of high-end options.
World’s most admired
This year was a productive and rewarding one for one of the world’s most esteemed and sought-after champagne brands.
Most prominently, Champagne Bollinger was once again named ‘Most Admired Champagne Brand 2017’ by British magazine Drinks International, the house’s third year at the top of the rankings.
In explaining their decision, the judges noted that their “criteria for success … might be summarised as ‘consistent quality’. The one brand that exemplifies this, arguably more than any other, is Bollinger which … returns to the number one slot it has already occupied twice before.”
Meanwhile in Dublin last January, in a small but beautifully-appointed room in The Westbury Hotel, commercial director Guy de Rivoire and export manager Bastien Mariani introduced the La Grande Année 2007, with Ireland the first country outside of France with the honour of tasting the new release.
Then this summer, Denis Brunner, Bollinger’s assistant chef de cave, gave an innovative masterclass on the effects of oak in champagne and their use in Bollinger in particular, with partial cuvées, experimental bottles, and tanks samples all utilised to give invited guests an exclusive look into the workings of the house and highlight their famous affinity to wood.
Finally, in October, Bollinger released a limited edition 2006 vintage rosé in a stunning gift box, available in Ireland exclusively through Brown Thomas. The innovative and elegant metal box was a stunning example of creative design which weaved and melted together the letters of Bollinger in a moucharaby latticework of shadows and rose gold reflections, resulting in one of the most eye-poppingly attractive releases this year.
With Irish consumers sure to pop plenty of Bollinger corks this Christmas and New Year, 2017 will be marked up as another successful year for the ‘World’s Most Admired Champagne Brand’.
Bollinger is exclusively distributed in Ireland by Findlater & Co.
A Gold Star winner
Gold Star Champagne Winner at the NOffLA Irish Wine Star Awards 2017/2018, Champagne Deutz Brut NV was described as “Luscious and complex and brimming over with elegance and élan!” With a retail price of €55, Champagne Deutz is also the best-value champagne on the market. Champagne Deutz is distributed in Ireland by Febvre & Company Limited.
The Champagne House of Deutz, one of the founding members of the Association des Grand Marques, was established in 1838 by William Deutz and Pierre-Hubert Geldermann. The house is based in Aÿ, the oldest renowned cru in the Champagne winegrowing region. Apart from extensive highly rated vineyards owned by the house itself, the present owner – the Louis Roederer Group – is strengthening the company’s relations with vignerons in the best crus, ensuring that all of them constantly adhere to the highest viticultural practices. This Brut Classic is a definitive non-vintage blend, with equal proportions of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier rounded out by a high proportion (20 – 40%) of reserve wines.
The result is a beautifully pure, elegant wine, with a refreshing lemony aroma and a delicate mousse. It is dry and with plenty of substance. There’s an aromatic floral note to the flavours of apricot, ripe apple, smoky mineral, kumquat and lemon zest in this firm bubbly, which is fine-grained and balanced, with a lively, moderate finish.
“Deutz is the kind of champagne that wine producers in other parts of France tend to serve. It’s a favourite marque of people in the know,” said Sarina Sutcliffe, MW and the head of Sotheby’s international wine department.
It is available in most leading NOffLA and independent off-licences nationwide with an RRP of €55 per 75cl bottle. For those who want to make it a Christmas gift, it is also available with a specially designed gift carton.
Knowledge of what’s inside bottle
Thomson & Scott Skinny Prosecco has created a new sector of the market within sparkling wine. Organic, vegan and containing half the sugar of traditional prosecco, Skinny Prosecco is for engaged consumers who like to know what they’re drinking.
As Amanda Thomson, Thomson & Scott founder and CEO points out: “Everyone asks what’s in their food but not what’s in their bottle.”
However, Skinny Prosecco is special because of what’s not inside the bottle. As stated, it is organic with no pesticides used to grow Skinny Prosecco’s 100% organic Glera grapes.
Skinny Prosecco is also vegan. Whereas many sparkling wines achieve crystal clarity using animal by-products as filters, this brand states consumers will not find anything but the finest vegan ingredients in Skinny Prosecco.
It also contains half the sugar. While all prosecco contains sugar, Skinny Prosecco is made with half the dose used by traditional producers – 7g of sugar per litre.
Skinny Prosecco is also special because of what’s on the bottle. Crucially, a calorie content listing. While there is currently no legal requirement to list anything other than the alcoholic content of sparkling wines, Skinny Prosecco is the first in the UK to give a calorie count of 67 calories per 100ml glass.
Despite these differences, some things remain the same. Namely, the brand’s fabulous, distinctively fresh taste. Skinny Prosecco also boasts a DOC label, the Italian guarantee of wine quality.
McGuigan Wines continue to outperform the market and according to a recent report, McGuigan is now the number one Australian wine brand in the off-trade. The Black Label range comprises of a Cabernet, Shiraz, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Rose and the latest addition Malbec, which was launched earlier this year.
The range will have strong above-the-line marketing support for the summer with a major emphasis on Neil McGuigan’s International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC) award as ‘The Best Winemaker in the world’ for the fourth time.
Impressively, McGuigan Wines is the only winery in the competition’s history to win the title four times. McGuigan demonstrates innovation, having recently introduced McGuigan Frizzante to the market. McGuigan Frizzante is made with the grape variety Gler, which is the same grape variety used for Prosecco. It is also made in the same way – the difference is – it’s produced in Australia not Italy. ‘Like Prosecco? Love McGuigan Frizzante!’ – now available in a 20cl snipe as well as 70cl.