By Christopher Matthews
Champagne is a big deal in the US, which is the second largest market outside of France for the iconic French bubbly (the UK remains first). And not only does it comprise over 20% of the total American sparkling wine market, but it also had its best year in the US since 2007 in 2015 (some 20.5 million bottles sold), growing at a 7% clip per annum. C’est les bon temps!
While the big global brands — e.g. Moët et Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, G. H. Mumm — still dominate the US Champagne landscape, the small “grower” Champagnes, made by vignerons who once just sold their grapes/wines solely to the big houses, have captivated sommeliers and cognoscenti alike, giving added impulse to the category. Between these two extremes lies Champagne Collet, a medium-sized, cooperative producer, and a historic house in its own right. At a recent event at Ai Fiori in Manhattan, I had an opportunity to taste through Champagne Collet’s US portfolio, and my conclusion is clear: these fine wines need to be better known in the US.