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Bubbly or Bust: Champagne Is Experiencing Soaring Demand Globally

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The much buzzed about global Champagne shortage isn’t just hype. Statistics

from Comité Champagne, the official organization for Champagne producers, indicate that France shipped more than 34 million bottles of the wine to the U.S. in 2021, a 64% increase from the year before and the highest ever. 

“The demand ramped up as bars and restaurants started to reopen, and there was also a real appreciation to reconnect with family and friends after lockdown,” says Natalie Pavlatos, a spokeswoman for the Champagne Bureau, USA, an industry trade group.

Matthieu Yamoum, a certified sommelier from the Champagne region who created the list of the bubbly at the Baccarat Hotel in New York, believes at-home consumption is driving most of the recent interest. “People used to buy Champagne bottles in restaurants, but during the pandemic, they looked to wine stores,” where a bottle of Dom Pérignon goes for about $170, compared with up to $500 at a restaurant, he says.

“Our customers used to buy a bottle every so often,” says Jean-Remi Barbier, brand ambassador and importer for Cristal in the U.S. “As the pandemic dragged on, we saw the pattern change with one person buying several bottles, both to consume and collect.”

With regard to the latter, vintage Champagnes are the way to go. “Vintages are rare because they’re produced only in the best years for grape growing,” Yamoum says. “They’re the ones that you want to own and hang onto.”

Here are five vintage Champagnes that have collectors talking.

Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame Rosé 2012, $320

This wine is Veuve Clicquot’s homage to the brand’s founder, Madame Clicquot. The story goes that in 1818, she combined her red wine with a small amount of white and created a blended rosé Champagne—the first of its kind. Crafted with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, La Grande Dame tastes of cherries and plums and has touches of pepper and fennel.

Cristal 2014, $359

Cristal 2014.

Courtesy of Cristal

Comprised of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, Cristal’s 2014 Champagne has powerful bubbles, an unmistakable fruity nose, and concentrated flavors of ripe fruit intertwined with minerality.

Rare Champagne Rosé Millésime 2012, $499

Rare Champagne Rose Millesime 2012.

Courtesy of Piper-Heidsieck

Rare’s latest rosé vintage is a stunner that’s lively, full bodied, and crisp. It was produced in a challenging year when the winter saw frost and hailstorms, and the ripe fruit was in short supply. This bubbly has aromas of pepper and fruit and spicy-citrusy flavors. 

Perrier-Jouët Belle Époque Rosé 2013, $305

Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque Rose 2013.

Courtesy of Perrier-Jouet

Perrier-Jouët has been producing a vintage Belle Époque Rosé since 1978. This is a gorgeous pink-hued Champagne that’s fruity without being sweet and has notes of grapefruit, strawberries, and oranges throughout. 

Dom Pérignon Vintage 2004 Plénitude 2, $495

Released this fall, Dom Pérignon’s Vintage 2004 Plénitude bubbly stands apart from other years because of the exceptional quality and large size of the grapes used to produce it. The result was a wine with a bold taste and a long finish, with notes of toffee, honey, and toasted nuts.  

This article appears in the December 2022 issue of Penta magazine.


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