Winewatch: Champagne times

Of course Champagne sales have been hard hit by the recession but a return to growth now seems to be on the cards. We take a look at how Champagne and other sparkling wines are faring here in Ireland.

One in every 50 bottles of wine sold here last year was of the sparkling variety. Sales of sparkling wine in Ireland grew 0.3% between 2013 and 2014, from 174,000 nine-litre cases to 175,000 cases according to recent IWSR figures. While Champagnes undoubtedly top the premium and gift end of the sparkling wines market, sparkling wines themselves are becoming more and more popular.

And within the sparkling wine market Prosecco is stealing market share from Cava here in Ireland according to IWSR in its Global Sparkling Wine insights.

But while many people might prefer to crack open a bottle of Champagne over a bottle of sparkling wine, the excessive tax on a bottle of Champagne continues to be no joke (although many outside of the country may think that it is). At €6.28 per bottle, Champagne is taxed at a rate double that of still wine.

Still, sales of both sparkling wines and Champagnes have had a good year, perhaps reflecting a return of consumer confidence.

Last year, Ireland dropped one place from 29th to 30th in the table of Champagne-consuming countries according to the annual report of the Comité Interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne, the trade association representing the interests of independent Champagne vignerons (growers) and Champagne Houses (négociants/producteurs).

This represented a drop of 6.5% in 2014 to 43,330 nine-litre cases worth €6.7 million according to the Comité. But these are likely to be direct imports, not coming into the country via the UK.

Nielsen figures for off-trade sales here point to a growth of 16% in sparkling wine sales volumes to 159,000 nine-litre cases with a corresponding growth in value of 15.8% to €19.5 million MAT to October this year.

Champagne too experienced growth in the off-trade sales of 12.5% by volume to 17,000 cases with a value of €7.1 million, up 12.1%.

While off-trade sales would tend to indicate Champagne being bought more as a gift, sales of Champagne and sparkling wines are by their nature very much of the moment and it’s expected that the on-trade is likely to see an uplift in Champagne sales into 2016.


Veuve Clicquot Ready to Gift by Tsé Tsé €55.69low

Veuve Clicquot Ready to Gift by Tsé Tsé (€55.69)

Veuve Clicquot has long been synonymous with its lust-worthy Christmas gift collection and this year is no different with the unveiling of its latest Limited Edition gift box Veuve Clicquot Ready to Gift by Tsé Tsé just in time for the festive period.

One of the brand’s most striking gift boxes to date, Ready to Gift by Tsé Tsé was designed by Parisian designers Catherine Levy and Sigolène Prébois who’re renowned for their unique design style and their pledge to only design things that they would want themselves.

Inspired by Parisian dancers from the beginning of the 19th Century, Veuve Clicquot Ready to Gift by Tsé Tsé plays homage to the era with costume details including both sequins and feathers featured in the design. The gift box encloses a bottle of the exquisite Veuve Clicquot Brut NV Yellow Label, an elegant champagne that truly is the epitome of Veuve Clicquot style.


Moët & Chandon’s Outlook for End-Of-Year Celebrations in 2015: So Bubbly!

Moet-So-Bubbly-Festive GBaglow

This Christmas, Moët & Chandon upholds the annual traditional end-of-year celebrations in its signature style. No festive table is complete without Moët & Chandon so this season the Maison presents a Limited Edition collection, So Bubbly! The So Bubbly! Limited Edition collection is end-of-year effervescence in a bottle. Bubbles are the incarnation of Moët & Chandon, symbolising its sense of celebration, savoire-faire and pioneering spirit.

So Bubbly! features boundless bubbles that showcase the vibrancy and energy of the season. The dazzling bubbles capture the festive end-of-year ambience to brighten every table. A great addition to a memorable seasonal celebration, So Bubbly! comes in a gift bag and gift box (€50.49).




Champagne Taittinger


Champagne Taittinger takes its place among the great Champagne Houses by imposing with audacity an innovative style particularly influenced by Chardonnay.

In one of the last major Champagne Houses to remain in family ownership, Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger has surrounded himself with a young team that’s bound together by a spirit of conquest and continuity. His daughter Vitalie and his son Clovis have accompanied him on this adventure.

Champagne Taittinger produces six million bottles of Champagne a year and is the fifth-largest exporter of Champagne to over 150 countries worldwide. It owns the third-largest vineyard holding in the Champagne area with 288 hectares, all situated in the Grand Cru and Premier Cru areas.

50% of Taittinger supplies come from its own vineyards (compared to the average of 25% for the majority of major Houses). That, together with its 4th Century Roman cellars with their constant temperature for long slow aging, gives Taittinger control over its quality.

Each clear wine is tasted and then destined, according to its personality, to join in the blending of a Brut Reserve, Prestige Rosé, Brut Vintage and Comte de Champagne or else to become a reserve wine.

The art of blending is to marry wines of different varieties, crus and years to create a wine that’s greater than the sum of the years that compose it, all the while maintaining the identity and style of the House. The Chardonnay dominance results in great elegance, delicacy and finesse.


Comte de Champagne is the pinnacle of the Taittinger range (only produced in remarkable years) offering finesse, elegance and layers of complexity. Launched last September, Taittinger Comte de Champagne 2006 has been lauded by the world’s leading wine critics:

97+/100 by’s, his second-highest rating ever for a Comtes de Champagne

19/20 by Jancis Robinson, awarding her highest score ever for Comte de Champagne.

Champagne Taittinger is on special offer with gift packaging for Christmas:

Champagne Taittinger Brut Réserve: RSP €45.99

Champagne Taittinger Brut Réserve Rose: RSP €59.99

Champagne Taittinger Nocturne Sec €49.99

Comte de Champagne 2006 is available on special order from Febvre & Company (Tel: 01 2161400).

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