World exclusive Champagne launch for UK’s ‘Sparkling Retailer of the Year’

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Champagne Caillez Lemaire has announced a world exclusive launch with the UK’s ‘Sparkling Retailer of the Year’ this week.

The family-run estate in Damery has teamed up with specialist online retailer, Sip Champagnes, to bring Caillez Lemaire Vinotheque 2006 and Caillez Lemaire Vinotheque 2004 to the UK for the first time.

These latest releases have seen a staggering 15 and 18 years of lees ageing respectively, adding important flavours, complexity and structure.   

Both are limited release and exclusively available worldwide through Sip Champagnes, which was crowned ‘Sparkling Retailer of the Year 2023’ in the International Wine Challenge (IWC) Industry Awards in July.   

With the UK’s largest collection of 60 Champagne producers and over 150 individual cuvées from across 25 villages in its range, Sip Champagnes only deal with ethically sourced and artisan products direct from the farmer, including Champagne Caillez Lemaire.  

As well as the UK’s widest selection of Grower Champagnes, Sip Champagnes focuses on newly discovered and fully independent producers that cannot be found anywhere else.  

Husband and wife team Virginie and Vincent Vanpoperingh have been running the small family-run Caillez Lemaire estate on the banks of the River Marne since 2005. Virginie’s family has been growing grapes since the 18th century.

Sip Champagnes was formed in 2021 by business partners, Daniel Blatchford and Peter Crawford. In just three short years they have established the company as the UK’s leading online Grower Champagne retailer.

“We totally fell in love with Champagne Caillez Lemaire when we first visited nearly 10 years ago,” Peter Crawford, Co-founder of Sip Champagnes, said. “Based in Damery, with vines in 57 plots in seven villages, predominantly Meunier, their wines show a crisp style and age like legends. They acquired the HEV certificate recently and there is a real honesty to their winemaking and wines.

“You’ll likely have spotted the words ‘sur lie’ (translation ‘on the lees), printed on labels of, not only Champagne like Caillez Lemaire, but wine in general. Lees ageing will bring a number of flavours from brioche and toast to nuts and cream. This adds greater depth and structure to wines and can really help to bring complexity in time.

“Finding long lees aged bottles is not easy. In fact, they are almost impossible to find in Grower Champagne circles. That said, Sip Champagnes wasn’t created to follow the well-trodden path, so we set about speaking with our amazing winemakers to hold stock back and disgorge especially for us!

“Now, we’ve gone further still. The stunning Caillez Lemaire Vinotheque 2006 and Caillez Lemaire Vinotheque 2004 have seen a staggering 15 and 18 years on lees respectively. Yes, you read that right! This generation on the lees has created a wonderful myriad of flavours. Both are limited release and exclusively available worldwide through Sip Champagnes, so get them while you can.”

In the last year alone, Sip Champagnes has also been awarded the prestigious accolade of ‘Champagne retailer of the year’ by the world’s leading wine media brand, Decanter, who singled out the newcomer for its “laser-like focus on cutting-edge wines from the region”, and in the words of one judge, “is changing the game for Champagne.” Sip Champagnes was also a runner up in the ‘Best Newcomer’ and ‘Judges Choice’ categories.

In addition, Sip Champagnes won The Drinks Business ‘Specialist Online Retailer of the Year Award’ for 2022.

The dominance of the big wine houses and supermarket champagne has meant that champagne options have been very limited in the UK. Before Sip Champagnes came along the small producers had no supply chain and no access to high-end restaurants, bars, hotels and wine boutiques, which meant consumers had little choice. Sip Champagnes sources and supplies only the best small-batch, handcrafted champagne straight to consumers and the hospitality trade from France’s iconic wine region.

All Sip Champagnes packaging is made from recycled material and is 100% recyclable. The company also invests in carbon offsetting programmes to reduce its environmental impact and plant a tree for every order placed.