Diners at top French restaurants might soon be enjoying a glass of English sparkling wine alongside their meal. Champagne house Vranken Pommery and the restaurant chain Alain Ducasse have agreed on the listing of Louis Pommery England fizz at all Ducasse restaurants, The Drinks Business reports.
Louis Pommery is the first English sparkling wine to be made by a Champagne house. It’s unlikely to be the last, though; the interest of the Champenoise in England appears to be piqued. Last year, Taittinger planted the first vines at their evocatively-named Domaine Evremond site in Kent.
Paul-François Vranken, chairman of the Vranken-Pommery-Monopole group, told the Drinks Business: “Alain Ducasse wants to sell Louis Pommery England in all his French outlets as well as at his restaurant in The Dorchester [hotel in London], and it will be the first English sparkling in Alain Ducasse restaurants when he takes it on later this year.”
Mr Vranken added that he will be able to produce a maximum of just 15,000 bottles annually until 2022, using grapes sourced from growers in England. (This negociant model is similar to that of Digby Fine English, as well as many Champagne houses.) From 2022 onwards, though, he will have his own supply. Vranken Pommery have bought 40 hectares of bare land in Hampshire at a site called Pinglestone, which was planted with vines late last year.
Mr Vranken continued: “Because we have small volumes, we are limited, but once we have production from our own vineyard we will be able to develop more in the big capitals of Europe”, in a strong statement of his intent to make Louis Pommery England a global brand.
Vranken-Pommery hopes that its Pinglestone vineyard will be producing yields equivalent to 120,000 bottles by 2022 – around 10 times current sales of Louis Pommery worldwide.