In 2015, bubbles were the big attraction the world over! I had the pleasure of working on the magnificent project “Handmade Vintage Sparkling Wine” bringing together five prestigious names in sparkling wine – Spain’s Raventos i Blanc, England’s Gusbourne, Ca’ del Bosco from Italy and France’s Domaine de La Taille aux Loups – with Champagne Henri Giraud. The project led to an 80-minute film on the theme of excellence showing the five renowned estates. Gusbourne was recently named “English wine producer of the Year“; Raventos i Blanc created a sensation when it announced it was leaving the Cava appellation to create a new top-notch one of its own; Ca’ del Bosco took part in the universal exhibition in Milan which, along with its association with other prestigious events, gave it a very high profile in 2015 and then last April wines from the La Taille aux Loups estate once again stunned more than 250 professionals gathered at Champagne Henri Giraud from all over the world.
This bubble craze infected people around the world in 2015. A love of fine wines and fine champagnes prompted numerous estates to put bubbles in their bottles and produce their own sparkling wines. On December 1, Richard Sanford in Santa Barbara, USA brought out a Brut Rosé and a Blanc de Blancs. Meanwhile, Australia revealed its most expensive bottle on the market –$350 – which goes by the name of “House of Arras EJ Carr 1998 Late Disgorged 20th Anniversary”. This explosion of bubbles is somewhat similar to the rosé phenomenon which we have witnessed over the last 10 years. So after the “How about producing a rosé?” we now have the: “How about producing a sparkling wine?”
And why not? Imagine the competition there would be in sparkling wines if the next 20 years were to see a meteoric rise in production. Entry level, mid-range, top of the range…new names appearing, new regions emerging and new appellations all over the world would then create competition out of all proportion. Rosé wine experienced this explosion and Provence managed to rise to the top thanks to the quality of its wine and its unique colour, but also because of the image of the region. That image has played a vital role in the success of its wine: the Provence way of life is special and, in the consumer’s mind, each bottle of rosé encapsulates the sun, holidays, food and gentle lifestyle that give the wine its unique character. The “Provence” brand has now managed to establish itself to such an extent that consumers are willing to pay a premium for its bottles of rosé.
What will it be like in 2036, in 20 years’ time, if sparkling wines follow the same route? Will one region have managed to market its name based on its lifestyle, food and natural scenery to raise its sparkling wine to the absolute peak? In 2036 what region in the world will have risen to the challenge of becoming the “Provence of sparkling wines”? It looks as if we are in for a fierce battle to decide who will be crowned the king of sparkling wines, the one you’ll pop open for your future celebrations, parties or just to take a break from your daily routine. The fact is sparkling and rosé wines conjure up a certain joie de vivre, don’t they? In any case, it is this joie de vivre that I wish for you in 2016. May this New Year be full of sparkle and very rosy!
(*Since 2003, Guillaume Jourdan has been advising more than 200 prestigious wine estates for their international marketing & communication strategy incl. Chapoutier, Hugel, Dr Loosen, Famille Perrin, Cos d’Estournel, Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie’s Miraval…Write to firstname.lastname@example.org)