Champagne Release Prices

I thought it might be interesting (or depressing) to track the release prices of Champagnes that are often discussed here. I like to look at both UK and US prices, but that is just me. I will start things off with today’s EP offer:

2015 Pol Roger Cuvée Winston Churchill - £975/6 which is around $200/btl. Reviews seem to be luke warm as does response in the market as lots of quantity available, BBR has 95 6-packs available at the moment, down from 97 a few hours ago. No release prices in US yet but WHWC has the best price on the '13 at $240, which appears to be the better vintage.


15 Winnie at Wine Club $240.

That seems like a fair US price given the UK EP price.

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I was quite concerned about the Bollinger R:D. 2008. The 2007 we sold at 210 € and with the 2008 quite a jump up 350 €. Sold out in an hour, thank God. The 2014 Grand Année is the problem child.

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What’s the issue with the GA, apart from your views of the 2014 vintage in general?

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These Bollinger prices are a bit wonky. The best price of the '08 R.D. in the US now on WSPro is just under $400. It is still available in the UK for around $250, which I believe was the release price (£200/btl). That is a huge spread.

I don’t drink much Bolly, not my style, except for the rosé which I really enjoy, especially the '04 and '12.

I have the same question on the '14 as Brian. I have had a bottle, I did not notice anything wrong with it and it was less oxidative than what I typically associated with Bollinger (no sign of the bruised apple '02). There are a lot of positive reviews on Cellar Tracker.


I’d like to know too, as I absolutely adore the wine and I’m pissed I didn’t buy more (and frankly was a bargain)


I don’t know if I am the right person to ask as we only dabble in the maisons. From my perspective and from reactions from customers,
12 and 13 when one tries one has difficulties finding parallels in the grower scene. The price for the quality is really good.

With 14 I feel one is overpaying and this is the reaction we get from customers. From our perspective 12 and 13 were cheaper.

The thing that worries me about 2014 is the high gluconic acidity level , not quite as high as 2010. You can do a lot of sorting etc but not good to have in champagnes that are for aging.

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I would strongly recommend trying the 2014. It’s not even remotely close to overpriced, and frankly one of the best GA’s I’ve had. It’s a baby but still shows remarkable cut and freshness. I’ve had it probably a dozen times at this point (including last year at the launch of it with 2007 RD) and every bottle has been great.

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Quality aside, I am afraid we are in a new normal of Champagne pricing that will make a lot of '12/'13 releases that were purchased a couple of years ago look like bargains.

Below is a link to an interview with Frederic Panaiotis where he discusses the '14 vintage, including the issue with gluconic acid levels. Appears to be a vintage that favors chardonnay and producers who did a good job of sorting.


Perhaps I am coming from a different perspective. If I want to drink young champagne, I drink grower producer with low dosage or no dosage for about 25-45 €. I cannot afford or nor do I want to drink these iconic champagnes young, I just feel it is a waste of money and for young drinking they are being conusumed at 30-40% of their potential. Although I sell predominantly grower champagnes I am sceptical about the long term aging ability and here I favour maisons.

I rememebr vividly the whole process of the 2008 and how it was such a difficult vintage to judge from the beginning and it amazes me today how quick evaluation are made of such a complex thing like vintages. I have written this before, I think we are really only starting to understand how good 2009 was and what a lost oppurtunity it was.

I taste a lot of champagne too young and I often wonder if there is any value in this, especially when dosage is involved. I have read through the cellartracker reviews and Vinous and the Wine Advocate and everything points towards a young champagne where freshness is key and the dosage has not yet really been transformed. Is there any value in such evaluations, I doubt it personally. Everyone speaks of freshness, every young champagne abounds with freshness, I just would not put too much emphasis on it.

I remember opening the cristal 14 and tasting and thought wow, I see where the points are coming from. Four hours later the champagne was no longer a resemblance of what it was on opening, I had to laugh at myself for being blended.

On paper the 2014 has 8g/l dosage (just to get a sense of the differences, the 2008 has 6g/l and
the R.D 2008 3g/l.) So I am sure this will age on the basis of the dosage but the discrepancy between 2008 and 2014 tells us something about the substance of the champagne. It will be interesting 10 or 20 years down the line to do a comparative tasting.

If I was buying Bollinger 2014 to age, I would buy magnums, I am sceptical of the guy on cellar tracker saying 2014 wil go twenty years, in magnums yes, in 0,75l I am not so sure.


I think where you live access to good grower Champagne is much better than it is here in the States. I tend to drink more big house because I prefer a rounder, sweeter, creamier, and most importantly consistent Champagne. If I find a bottle of Champagne that I really like, then I want to buy at least a few 6-packs so I can enjoy some now and some later. Tough to do that here with grower, plus as you alluded to, low/no dosage may not be best suited to long term aging.

I like to drink Champagne young, before it shuts down and older, but before it becomes too oxidative. I had '12 DP at an event last night and it was drinking great. I would take that over a current release Cedric Bouchard VV any day and the Bouchard is now almost as expensive as the DP. We also had '96 DP last night that is at its peak drinking window for my palate. A few years from now that will too mature for me to enjoy, much like the '90 is now.

I agree about magnums and if I could I would only buy Champagne in magnums and open it on Friday night and finish it on Sunday. I am also skeptical of CT reviews and the drinking windows people assign to wines. I think the bigger question though is not if the wine will be drinking well in 20 years, but if I will be around to drink it.


If you are worried about being around in 20 years, maybe you should skip the suckling pig in a couple weeks :crazy_face: :grin: :joy:

I probably should but I suffer from FOMO so I am still going.

I don’t think it is helpful pitting growers against maisons but if one were to do so, in terms of value, the maisons would win hands down. Five six years ago, it would have been the other way around.

I don’t sell Ayala but a fantastic jump up in quality with the new releases, Bereche’s Brut Reserve is now between 50-60 €, when I started we were at 25 €, absolutely nothing has changed with the champagne just the demand.

Last year we got a few bottles of Theophile from Roederer, not an intellectually challenging champagne but the sort one can just drink or share with those who have no idea about champange as they get it.

Vintage Roederer, everyone talks about Cristal, one of the most underestimated champagnes out there.

Eat the cake, brother!

I could not even eat dessert last night.

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Both Ayala and Bereche are tough to find. I have liked the Ayala the few times I have had it, but the Bereche was too oxidative for me. I do like Philipponnat’s Royal Reserve non-dosage, but that is usually a restaurant list purchase when trying to avoid paying exorbitant prices for marque bottles. I do buy Philipponnat’s BdN extra brut that I find somewhat similar to Val Vilaine, except cheaper and less acidic.

Theophile Roederer not available around here but I see what you mean reading through the CT notes. I do have Gonet-Medeville Theophile, which I know is a different producer, but I did really enjoy the one bottle I had so far. I only have a few as their US distribution is tiny.

I have enjoyed the recent releases of Roederer that I have tried. I did buy the '90/'95/'96 late releases that I believe are the same disgorgement as the original. I tried the '95 from magnum so far and it was really nice, drinking at it peak at the moment.

Jon, which cuvée from Bereche? Rafa doesn’t make particularly oxidative Champagnes. I’ll bring one next time I think might be more to your palate preferences (I love Bereche).

Greg, good question that I don’t have the answer to. The last time I had one was about a year ago. A buddy brought it to my house and served it to me blind. I was pretty sure it was a Selosse Initial or Substance. I can’t find any pictures of that night and I would call him up and ask what he brought, but he no longer drinks (he had a great cellar), has become a hard-core, angry vegan, and avoids all added oils, salt or sugar. He won’t event talk about wine and the only thing we have in common anymore is that we both make our own sourdough bread.

I look forward to trying a bottle with you.

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