Although Champagne takes on only a sliver of the alcohol market, the prestige cuvees take on an even thinner slice of the pie. Yet, over the last few decades, with the economic downturn leading to a decrease in the everyday drinking Champagnes, the top of the sparkling wine hierarchy has not faltered. Whether it’s due to the glamor, the rarity or the prestige that comes with the price tag, who knows? But one thing’s for certain, the appetite for prestige bubbles is going strong and proven insatiable!
Recently, some Champagne houses have gone above and beyond the current standard of prestige and come up with the extremely limited edition, super prestigious, and lavishly priced cuvees. The deluxe fizz. And of course, the market has gone ballistic over them because these make the original prestige cuvees look, well, standard. To justify this hype, Champagne producers focus on two things: either on the rarity of the bubbles with the traditional late disgorgement or the unique (sometimes bling-ed out) design of the bottle itself.
Charles Heidsieck is one of the trendsetters in this upmarket space, releasing its limited edition, The Collection Crayères, in celebration of the 2004 Blanc des Millénaires release. This collection is a vertical of the prestigious Blanc des Millénaires series – a case containing a bottle each of the 1983, 1985, 1990, 1995 and 2004 vintages, along with a bottle of 1982 Blanc de Blancs. Only 150 cases are around globally with an asking price of HKD28,000 per case! Yes, scarce indeed but like what Stephen Leroux, Charles Heidsieck’s executive director, had said – releasing this compilation is “an exercise in balance”. While they have enough in the market for current wine lovers to enjoy such treasures, they still need to keep enough stock for future generations. Now, who’s up for a case?
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