The essence of any celebration, Champagne is staring down the barrel of some huge challenges – price included.By Don Kavanagh | Posted Sunday, 21-Jun-2020
Who could possibly feel sorry for Champagne?
The region and its wines are forever being presented as the very spirit of excellence, success and the celebration of both; the wine of the rich, the powerful, the ones who have made it.
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Well, that’s the image the advertisements try to put across, at least; the reality couldn’t be more starkly different.
It’s not the most promising of regions, if you look at it from a purely geographic point of view – Champagne is at the northern edge of the world’s wine-producing latitudes and the weather isn’t ideal. There are also other challenges, with a complex series of rules governing production, a unique relationship between growers and the large houses and a famously complex production process.
Despite all that, it produces some of the world’s most famous wines and it is the yardstick by which all sparkling wines are measured, but the challenges keep on piling up.
Growers are getting restive over yields and price levels, organic growers are concerned about a lack of support and an over-reliance on soaking the land with chemicals and there is a growing rift between growers generally and the Champagne houses – indeed, there is some tension between those houses owned by the hugely powerful LVMH and the rest, too.
Add to all that falling sales, increased production and the turbulent issues of both the Covid-19 lockdown and simmering international trade tensions and you have a region that is becoming increasingly wobbly – and the effect can be seen in how the top tier’s prices have been impacted in the past year.
Let’s take a look at the current list of the 10 most expensive Champagnes on our database.The Most Expensive Champagnes on Wine-Searcher:
|Wine Name||Score||Ave Price|
|Moët & Chandon Esprit du Siècle Brut||N/A||$6813|
|Louis Roederer Cristal Gold Medalion Orfevres Limited Edition Brut||N/A||$3355|
|Krug Clos d’Ambonnay Blanc de Noirs Brut||96||$2643|
|Dom Pérignon P3 Plénitude Brut||95||$2610|
|Dom Pérignon P3 Plénitude Brut Rosé||90||$2351|
|Louis Roederer Cristal Vinothéque Edition Brut Rosé||94||$2206|
|Boerl & Kroff Brut||N/A||$2046|
|Krug Private Cuvée||93||$1593|
|Louis Roederer Cristal Vinotheque Edition Brut||94||$1262|
|Goût de Diamants||98||$16000000|
|Dom Pérignon Oenothéque Rosé||93||$1247|
When you see wines retailing with a global average price of $6800, it’s tempting to ask “Crisis? What crisis?” But just 12 months ago, that average price was just north of $11,000 – that’s a huge drop, although it could be dismissed as a blip, given the cuvée’s rarity (only 323 bottles were made, apparently).
Looking further down the list suggests that, while it is a spectacular example, it is not the lone example.
The Cristal Gold Medallion’s global average price fell by almost $800 a bottle in the same period, a fall of 19 percent. The global averages of the Cristal Vinothéque Brut and Rosé fell by $156 and $444, respectively.
The Dom Pérignon P3 wines have both gone up (by $230 for the rosé and by an impressive $680 for the brut), but the Oenothéque Rosé saw its global average price fall by $164. Krug’s Clos d’Ambonnay remains at exactly the same level as last year, while the Private Cuvée added $180 to its average price per bottle.
Those are some pretty mixed results for a region that is used to success and reflective of the confusion currently engulfing Champagne. It’s unfair to even suggest that the bubble has burst, but this is a region that bears close monitoring over the next couple of years.
Honestly, when you look at the struggles it is facing, you’d need a heart of stone not to feel a little bit sorry for Champagne.