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Bubbling Over: Veuve Clicquot Crosses A Half-Million Cases In The U.S.

May 14, 2018

With Champagne continuing to enjoy a strong run in the U.S. market, top-selling brand Veuve Clicquot marked a major milestone last year, and the Moët Hennessy USA label shows no sign of slowing down. In 2017, Veuve Clicquot crossed a half-million cases in the U.S. market, rising 7% to 519,000 cases to cap a four-year span in which it has expanded by more than 35%, according to Impact Databank.

Veuve Clicquot overtook portfoliomate Moët & Chandon as the leading Champagne brand in the U.S. by volume back in 2013. Since then, it has gradually extended its lead. Veuve finished last year about 86,000 cases larger than Moët & Chandon—and nearly 450,000 cases larger than third-ranked Perrier-Jouët, which is part of the Pernod Ricard USA portfolio.

Veuve Clicquot’s core Brut Yellow Label, a Pinot Noir-focused blend that retails at around $50 a 750-ml., continues to lead the charge. But other offerings like Brut Rosé, vintage releases under prestige cuvée La Grande Dame, and innovations like Veuve Rich and Veuve Extra Old are also contributing. According to Veuve Clicquot chef de caves Dominique Demarville, Yellow Label makes up 85% of production. Demarville attributes the brand’s success to its flavor profile, consistency, and branding. “The Yellow Label stands out from the pack. It’s easy to recognize, easy to remember,” he says.

High-end expression La Grande Dame will debut a 2008 vintage of both Brut ($150) and Rosé ($300) wines this September. That new vintage of the prestige cuvée is Demarville’s first as cellar master and represents a revamp of both the packaging and blend. While La Grande Dame’s blend has previously hovered at around 60% Pinot Noir, the 2008 vintage is over 90% Pinot. “Many prestige cuvées are 50-50 Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, or sometimes more Chardonnay than Pinot Noir,” says Demarville. “We love to push limits, so we decided to present another side of what a prestige cuvée could be.”

The changes to La Grande Dame cap off a period of adventurous tinkering led by Demarville. In 2015, Veuve Clicquot launched Rich ($65), a higher dosage wine that’s served over ice, usually with an added ingredient like grapefruit or ginger. Currently, Rich and Rich Rosé are available in New York, California, Arizona, Georgia, and Florida. Also, last year came Veuve Extra Brut Extra Old ($85), a non-vintage blend that leans heavily on reserve wines for a more robust flavor profile. Going forward, says Demarville, Veuve Clicquot will focus on entering new markets with these newer releases, and further limited or one-off launches are also a possibility.—Shane English

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