The price of Champagne continues its rise, and proposed 100% US tariffs could put it beyond the reach of most wine lovers. The smart consumer will stock up on Champagne now. To help you, we’ve identified a dozen extremely good values in our just published report Champagne: Diversity and Change. These Champagnes, listed in the table below, are the best values we found from a tasting of 250 Champagnes. In addition to stocking up, if you want to be able to continue purchasing Champagne in the future, please make your views on the proposed tariffs known by visiting regulations.gov, search for USTR-2019-0003, and click on the blue “Comment Now” button.
In October, a World Trade Organization (WTO) decision authorized the US to impose tariffs up to $7.5 billion on EU imports over illegal EU subsidies to Airbus. The US responded by introducing 25% duties on wines (not sparkling wine or Champagne) from France, Germany and Spain. However, in December the US threatened to introduce a new tariff of up to 100% on Champagne in retaliation for France’s new digital services tax. This threat is complicated by another WTO finding that the US illegally subsidized Boeing, which is likely to result in Europe being authorized to introduce tariffs on US products. How this all turns out is anyone’s guess. But if US Champagne consumers don’t let the government know their sentiments, the odds rise that onerous duties will be imposed and threaten the importers, distributors, retailers and consumers of Champagne.
Consumers of Champagne, like those who purchase wine in general, tend to make their purchases within 48 hours of opening the bottle. But for consumers who are the least bit risk adverse, we recommend buying in advance for the coming calendar year 2020. Right now, as we discovered in doing our report, it’s surprising just how affordable good quality Champagne can be. Of course, there are the $300 luxury cuvées, some of which were originally crafted for European royalty but today are more likely to be consumed by rock stars. But there are also many very good Champagnes that usually sell for under $50, less than what one pays today for a decent California Pinot Noir. We list the most highly rated, high value Champagnes below, all of them non-vintage and mostly brut blends. We suggest readers do a quick look on the internet to find actual prices (often discounted) in their local markets. Consumers, especially those located outside major metropolitan areas, may have to search to find some of these Champagnes. The full tasting notes for these Champagnes can be found in our just released Report #78 Champagne: Diversity and Change.