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Champagne for under a tenner

Just searched my CellarTracker records for Champagne.

(249 bottles and 15 pending of 52 wines).

I think I am living proof of the “No…must…resist!” mantra that you advocate!

On the other hand, better get drinking that case of 2008 Veuve Clicquot Rose that I picked up for £28 a bottle about 7 years ago :heart_eyes:

Note btw the sophisticated cellar storage equipment…an upside down San Mig crate!

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It’s a very good idea, but you’ve just missed the best time to buy the case - around Christmas.

It’s normally on offer at least one other time in the year, and usually at a good discount.

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I second that comment from @Brocklehurstj . I popped a couple of cases into reserves when they were £140 a case just around Christmas/New Year time. It’s a quality Champagne and should not be confused with a lot of ‘own label’ stuff.

A couple of exceptions to that btw (as I am a complete Champagne tart).

Sainsburys Blanc de Noir (100% Pinot Noir) which can be bought sometimes at stupid money with various promotions, 25% off deals and coupons. I think my record was £7 a bottle a few years ago. Needs at least 18 months age and is then to die for if you like that sort of thing.

Tesco and Waitrose’s Premier and Grand Cru offerings. Prefer the Vintage ones but the NV is not bad cellared for a bit (it’s that word again!).

Aldi’s cheapster is not bad with some time but I find it pretty astringent without aging. The rest of the £10 bunch, wherever they come from, I would not wash the dog with personally (unless serving as Bucks Fizz to a bunch of teenagers at a Sleepover and those days are over!).

When you can pick up a fantastic Cremant du Jura from Aldi for £8 ish, why would you want to drink horrible cheap Champagne?

As a final observation, I know that a few people don’t rate Champagne or the grapes that it is made from and that’s fine by me. However, when I am sipping my aged (and lovingly stored on the plastic crates) collection over the next 20 years, I beg to differ!

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It’s very good, and good VFM. But considerably more than a tenner.

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Champagne grapes currently cost about 7 euros a kilo. A champgane house buys them in (generally) and that is the biggest cost.
Generally grapes are bought by weight and are high yields, in other words lighter flavours and high acidity. Yields are usually about 65-70 hl/ha.
The quality is often dictated by firstly grape quality, ans secondly by the blender and addition of reserve base wines from earlier years. That is where another cost kicks in. Charles Heidsieck brut has 8 vintages of reserve wines (about 55% of the total blend) and it costs more than most other houses bruts for that very reason.
A champagne that is sub ten quid a bottle is unlikely to be of any real quality and less likely to improve in bottle. Production costs are high. You get what you pay for.

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does the same aging for a few years work for other sparkling wines, particularly those made in the champagne method? Speaking as someone who spotted some NV cavas lurking in the corner of the cellar…

It works for me with Cava (and I’m seeing the odd vintage Cava available from time to time) but I have no experience of other types of fizz.

Amy thoughts folks?

And the pure joy of a breakfast Black Velvet…!

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Yes, at £24 a bottle it is excellent value. I don’t buy it at any other time.

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Yes, as I said in earlier post in this thread, I try to keep all traditional method fizz for 3 years. TM is the term used now method champenois is banned, so yes for Cava, Cremant etc

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Was there something in the news last Autumn, a tiff between the growers and the ch. houses regarding prices? - due to CV restriction the farms lacked the manpower to do a proper harvest? or maybe it was to do with markets / supply chains crashing & wine being converted to neat alcohol.

Just wondering if that had a a knock on effect.

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Yes, it was more related to this - lack of large, celebratory events swigging gallons of champagne. Seem to remember there was a fairly bumper crop but the growers didn’t want it all. Sadly, I think the rules of champagne meant the grapes rotted in the fields.

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I find this really odd. I’m always surprised that they set the yield at the end of the season, so there’s no opportunities for green harvesting and improving quality.

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lapin_rouge
Yes you are right. from what I read following Covid outbreak Champagne sales had crashed and big houses were stuck with unsold stock. The issue became focussed around yields. each year the yield is set in around July. Over the last 10 years yields were agreed at approximately 10,500 kilos per hectare. The two criteria are grapes to go into the base wine for the coming year and also an allowance for wine to go into reserve.
At some point usually around July the various parties involved (Comité Champagne, the negociants and the main growers union) meet to agree yields. In 2020 they could not agree at first because the negociants wanted yields to be around 5,000-6,000 kilos per hectare. Eventually it was fixed at 8,000 kilos per hectare. That is a huge reduction and had a big negative effect on growers who supplied the houses. That reduction in yield is the rough equivalent of a fall in production of about 100,000,000. bottles.
I think grape prices will be around 6.55 euros a kilo.

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Essentially it’s price fixing on a huge scale.

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No, it used to be under the old Échelle des cru system which set a village rating system but it was finished some years ago following pressure from the EU. Now it is market forces with Moet (the biggest buyer) leading the way to push price down.

Isn’t the suppression of supply (yield) a means of maintaining prices?

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Well that depends on how you perceive it.
In the case of Champagne, yields are critical in order to keep quality consistent because the big houses year on year want to produce a consistent product. With a lower 2020 yield the knock on effect will be better quality.
Lower yields actually result in less wine to sell, so your income reduces the lower the yield. But with unsold stock you are not going to push the price up? I agree you may want to try and maintain the price but if the market is not buying anything like the amount of the end product (which is the case) houses may well be forced to reduce prices anyway.
What remains to be seen is the price of champagne over the coming 12 months.
If you believe that the champagne houses are too powerful and are fixing prices to the detriment of the consumer then the answer is not to buy negociant champagne and buy something else.

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https://www.decanter.com/wine-news/champagne-2020-harvest-yields-sales-442790/#:~:text=Champagne%20growers%20and%20houses%20have,the%20Covid-19%20health%20crisis.&text=The%20Champagne%202020%20harvest%20will,hectare%2C%20it%20has%20been%20decided.

This article suggests that 2020 quality was quite good and that the decision on yield was taken on economic grounds.

Yes, prices in the next year or so will be interesting!

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No, it won’t be. The yield wasn’t agreed until nearly harvest so a lot more grapes were grown and just not picked.

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