A £14 own-label champagne from Aldi has become a hit in the UK and is second only to Moët & Chandon in sales as shoppers seek luxury but without the hefty price tag.
Veuve Monsigny, available only at the discounter, has overtaken Lanson, one of France’s most storied names, according to figures from the data firm IRI.
Veuve Monsigny is made for Aldi by the French producer Philizot & Fils. The company, run by the married couple Stéphane and Virginie Philizot, is based in Champagne’s Marne valley and has had to expand rapidly to keep up with demand.
Christmas week is the biggest of the year for food retailers as Britons stock up to tide them over the holidays. But with inflation at a 10-year high, many households will be trying to save money by shopping around.
Britons spend about £400m a year on champagne but prices are up sharply as producers have been hit hard by production problems as well as the delivery issues that have bedevilled the whole retail supply chain.
The price of champagne increased 8% in the three months to September, according to Wine and Spirit Trade Association figures. Even Aldi, which vies to be the cheapest grocer in town has not been immune, as at £13.99, a bottle of Veuve Monsigny costs £1 more than last Christmas.
Veuve Monsigny has won a number of accolades over the years, including a bronze award at the International Wine Challenge, where it was described as having a “floral palate, fresh with little development but beautiful balance and restraint”.
Julie Ashfield, Aldi’s managing director of buying, said it was extremely proud of the champagne that was “up there with the best bubbles available”.
In its annual champagne taste test, the consumer group Which? ranked offerings from Waitrose, Tesco and Marks & Spencer above the likes of Moët and Lanson – and Aldi.
Lisa Barber, the group’s home products and services editor, said the results showed supermarket champagne brands could “more than hold their own against the famous champagne houses, delivering excellent quality and great value for money”.
However, Aldi’s bubbly was overlooked by the judges who instead singled out Lidl’s Veuve Delattre Brut as the “great value pick”. At just £12 a bottle, they praised its “subtle, complex aromas, fresh acidity and clean, fruity taste”.