Champagne price rise may boost sparkling Burgundy

Tue Apr 13, 2010 7:01am EDT
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By Marcel Michelson

SAINT-BRIS-LE-VINEUX, France (Reuters Life!) - Makers of sparkling wines in Burgundy hope they can steal a march on their northern neighbors in Champagne and lure foreign buyers who have been finding the champers a bit expensive.

"I have high hopes for the U.S. and Britain," said Damien Guerault of the firm Bailly Lapierre which makes wines and sparkling cremant from Burgundy.

He said the rise in the value of the single European currency, the euro, has been pushing up the price of Champagne for drinkers in other markets, making Burgundy bubbly an attractive value for money tipple.

"The price rise of Champagne on many markets due to the euro could turn more buyers to other sparkling wines like cremant," Lapierre said

Champagne can only be made in the specific French region of the same name but that has not stopped vintners in other areas to make sparkling wines too, using the same methods as the Champagne makers have done long since the monk Dom Perignon with the use of yeast in wine to create a sparkling wine.

There is Cava from Spain with brands such as Freixenet and the Spumante from Italy such as Asti Spumante from Piedmont.

In France there is the blanquette de Limoux and cremant from various regions, as well as the Clairette de Die from near Valence in the Cotes du Rhone region.

While Champagne mostly matures in underground cellars, Bailly Lapiere uses a large cave in a rock next to the Yonne river. The cave was hand made as a quarry that produced the stones used in many monuments in France, such as the Notre Dame and Pantheon in Paris. The stones were hewn from the rock and transported on wooden rafts over the river.   Continued...