Man, I wish the stuff I was into ten years ago or so had gone up in price by only 20% in the last ten years. I’m pretty sure +50% doesn’t cut it but then these producers used to be so undervalued that it’s hard to act surprised. I guess I just have to find solace in the fact that I was able to dive deep into the grower Champagne category when most of it was still very affordable.
It does take additional effort and more patience now to find and lock in the grower stuff that thrills me. I have some L-B Latitude arriving today that we snagged for $51 all-in each. But, my gut tells me that this is going to be something that becomes harder and harder to do. And the producers that have now gone into the $150+ space, I jumped off that moving car as I just don’t want to be on that ride.
I’ve watched Ulysse Collin, Egly Ouriet, Prevost, Bouchard, and Cristal skyrocket so high in price that even just in the past two years I went from somewhat regular consumption (well, not Prevost) to rare purchases. Especially Collin, and now Egly Ouriet seems more expensive every time I see it. EO has gone from one of my regulars to nearly a no-buy. Luckily there are a ton of really good producers making fabulous wines. As much as it hurts to drop one of those greats, there is a lot of new blood making excellent champagne.
Bingo. There are cool producers out there that don’t require you to empty out your wallet. Maybe in time these all rise too to a new level (likely so, I believe) but I can’t justify paying those prices anymore. The L-B that came today meets my definition of what is possible, at what is 50 bucks, with good farming and wine in the bottle, too.
Word. Laherte, L-B, Diebolt Valois, Hebrart, Dehu, Gonet, Heidsieck, Mousse, Chartogne-Taillet, Dehours, Vesselle (not my preference), Sergent, Courtin and others all make good wine in the $40-65 range.
Bruh! My list.
It’s a really interesting dynamic. I think the last 5 years were a bit of a halcyon period in Champagne because there were so many “new” really good growers in the market without pricing rising significantly (until last year, really). I think this will soon recede, since these were the “easy pickings” - it’s now harder and harder to find such producers. There are still a lot of farmers who sell to the coops (there are entire villages where only one producer makes site specific wines) and even the Champenoise have started complaining that the new rage is about micro-production Instagram darlings that are popular in Italy. And, as is already happening, those growers who are now entrenched (and the big houses) are going to raise prices because they’re established.
I suspect we each have our own list of top quality champagne, but moving down from the first tier to the second tier of that list means, imho, a drop in quality that didn’t necessarily two years ago. When Prevost became very expensive, one could move to Brochet (as a random example). But I think lateral moves are now harder. Which isn’t to say there isn’t lots of great champagne, but I think it’ll be tougher to find and I genuinely think there will be less of it at good prices going forward. Unfortunately. Though, of course, in some ways, that means we (the people that like these wines) won - a shame about the consequences
Or I may be entirely wrong and there will be a new generation that’s even better. All advice free or your money back!
They’re calling you out @Frank_Murray_III !!!
I know this was meant in jest, but I had several conversations this year with people in champagne who are amused by certain countries going crazy for 700 bottle cuvées whose quality is best described as a shrug. But big on IG!
It’s like paying for bots for likes. Except you pay for the champagne instead.
Some of the bottles look cool.
Serious question - how is that much different from how Parker championed the garagiste producers? Other than he used print to influence, not Insta.
Don’t forget Tarlant!
Cuvée Sainte Anne is running $79 right now at my nearest local wine shop.
I am an L-B fan but unfortunately never found the Latitude thrilling while the Longitude, (back then called just 1er Cru Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut was one of my grower Champagne epiphanies). However this producer has really gone up in price too as the Longitude used to be a ~40 € bottle not so long ago but now already goes for over 60€, i.e. quite a hike. While not nearly as dramatic as some proper superstar producers it is still a big change.
Yeah, this used to be one of my go-to 30€ Champagnes only a few years back…
There is lots of young talent coming through in the champagne, as prices increase for certian producers there ae plenty of other producers to take their places.
The bigger problem will be the champagne shortage, The short sighted consequences of the 2020 decision to allow only 8000 kg/hectare followed by the disasterous 2021 vintage. The maisons learned nothingfrom 2008/2009.
What are some of these examples?
Most of these names aren’t “new” in the grower space and many of them reflect my worries going forward.
Did you read the full post? Most of the ‘new’ ones I mentioned are on the first few releases.