Champagne gave its name to the famous sparkling wine, champagne. The controlled designation of origin has been recognized since 1936 and enjoys its own regulations. Its production area includes Côte des Blancs, Côte des Bars, the Montagne de Reims and the Marne Valley. The dominant grape varieties are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. The particularity of champagne is that it benefits from a second fermentation, called « prize de mousse » which gives this festive wine. We never tire of seeing these little bubbles rise vertically to form the thin collar, this bead of foam around the glass. This drink has acquired a strong international notoriety by becoming synonymous with luxury. He is there to celebrate great occasions. Pop the cork or slash the bottle is synonymous with victory or a happy event. But the real luxury is to enjoy it without pretext!
Today there are more than 300 producers in Champagne, some of them have succeeded over the years in standing out and making their brand famous Champagne Houses. We will therefore look at the biggest brands, that is to say that we will exclude, in this article, so-called winegrowers’ champagnes. It’s the excellence à la française.
Dom Pérignon, probably the most famous of all! He is known on the one hand to be one of the first brands of champagne, but it is also famous because one of the legends surrounding the creation of champagne bears his name. Its reputation has also been built on great vintages and on its vintage bottles. It is said that 5 to 6 million bottles of Dom Pérignon are sold each year.
Another very famous brand of champagne: Le Vranken. The Belgian Paul-François Vranken continues the tradition of the Champagne estates created by entrepreneurs of foreign origin. In thirty years, its brand has grown dramatically with the acquisitions of Charles Lafitte, Heidsieck & Co Monopole and Pommery. Vranken Pommery Monopole has thus become number 2 for the best champagne and to launch new products in port, whiskey and wines from the south of France (Listel).
These champagnes are present in more than 80 countries and belong to the Champagne legend. If we add the high-end Port wines Rozes and Terras do Grifo, and its estates in the south-east of France – Domaine Listel and Château la Gordonne in rosé – the group owns the most important European vineyard. The role of first Cellar Master of the brand is today held by Dominique Pichart, at the origin of the famous Diamant cuvée which recently succeeded the historic Demoiselle cuvée.
But also: Bollinger. As early as the 1970s, the brand became known by appearing regularly in the James Bond films. Bollinger bottles will thus be placed in each film, at the whim of the directors. Another fact of the matter is that Bollinger is the official champagne of the British royal family. These two characteristics have increased the popularity of this champagne.
If there’s a brand with a strong personality and a very recognizable style, it’s Bollinger. This Aÿ house, still family-run, cultivates a taste for wines with a large predominantly Pinot Noir, vinous and deep. The history of Bollinger is incredibly rich: a dive into the old vintages of the house shows how excellence has always been at the heart of its concerns.
Other brands record very high sales volumes, which makes them champagne brands with a great reputation both in France and internationally. This is notably the case of Moët & Chandon (32 million bottles in 2015), Veuve Clicquot (16 million bottles in 2015) or G.H Mumm (8 million bottles in 2015). Some brands stand out thanks to strong differentiating features, whether they are taste, aromatic or even from a marketing point of view (an exclusively shaped bottle, atypical packaging, etc.).
Deutz champagnes are less well-known by the general public but highly appreciated by informed consumers. This champagne house has decided to favor an exclusive distribution circuit by not calling on large-scale distribution, it therefore favors renowned wine merchants and restaurateurs. Certain champagnes are also highly sought after due to their limited production. This is the commitment of Maison Jacquesson or even that of Gosset champagne.