Canard-Duchêne

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Canard-Duchêne
Founded 1868
Founders Victor Canard and Léonie Duchêne
Headquarters 1 Rue Edmond Canard, 51500 Ludes, Champagne, France
Parent Thiénot Group
Website www.canard-duchene.com

Canard-Duchêne is a champagne house, situated in the heart of the Champagne vineyards. It was founded in 1868, and is one of the most prominent Houses or grandes marques in Champagne. It is now part of the Thiénot group, owner of its own label Champagne Thiénot, plus Joseph Perrier and Marie Stuart.

Canard-Duchêne exports to many countries across the world, including the United Kingdom, the United States of America, India, and Japan. However, it is not as popular anywhere as it is in its homeland where a bottle of Canard-Duchêne is opened every 15 seconds. [1]

Probably because ‘Canard’ translates to ‘Duck’ in English, there is a myth circulating that connects the champagne house with ducks, and some suggest that 'Canard-Duchêne' translates to ‘Duck of Oak’. However, this is a misunderstanding. The House was founded by Victor Canard and Léonie Duchêne, who gave their names to the champagne house.[2]

History[edit]

In 1860, a barrel-maker called Victor Canard met a winemaker called Léonie Duchêne. They fell madly in love and got married. They both shared a great passion for wine and so they worked collaboratively to produce their own unique Champagne. Using Victor's skills in farming grapes and ageing wines in barrels and Léonie's expertise in wine-tasting and viniculture, they produced a high class Champagne only 8 years after they met. Only a couple with a bond as close as Victor and Leonie's could produce such a well-received debut Champagne, and it is a credit to both of them that Leonie was able to work in the wine industry during a time when the role of women was largely consigned to household duties. Both Victor and Léonie put their surnames together to create ‘Canard-Duchêne’. It is still one of the few wineries in Champagne to be family-run.

During the tumultuous aftermath of the French Revolution, Canard-Duchêne still managed to appeal to the citizens of France who abhorred any symbols of aristocracy. This was probably because Canard-Duchêne never had large profit-margins, unlike other houses such as Laurent-Perrier, and Moët & Chandon. It was also due to the lucky fact that Napoleon loved drinking Champagne. Indeed, it was just after the French Revolution that the art of sabrage (opening a Champagne bottle with a sword) was invented and developed. Canard-Duchêne has always been well-associated with this noble yet fun art form and holds tournaments where sommelier compete in the art of sabrage.

In 1890, Victor and Léonie's son Edmond brought international fame to the Champagne House. He even penetrated the very close circle of the suppliers to the Court of Tsar Nicolas II of Russia. After Edmond secured a contract to be the official supplier of Champagne to the Romanov king, Canard-Duchêne adopted the Russian Imperial coat of arms as part of its logo, the two-headed eagle. The symbol of the two-headed eagle is itself steeped in history: it is one of the oldest symbols of the duality of power of the emperor over both the state and the church, dating right back to the Byzantine period.

Photo of Tsar Nicholas II and King George V in Berlin, 1913

In 1978, Canard-Duchêne was associated with Veuve Clicquot and then joined the LVMH Group, which transmitted its rigour and search for quality. Subsequently, the House saw substantial growth on European markets. Canard-Duchêne is a brand which is both famous and familiar, and their mantra has always been to celebrate the great and small occasions in life. The takeover by the independent Champagne group Thiénot in October 2003, has strengthened the position of the Canard-Duchêne House in its region and given it new ambitions. More than ever, Canard-Duchêne, is a brand which is both stylistic and chic in presentation and warm in its offering.

Champagnes[edit]

Canard-Duchêne produces a diverse range of champagnes.

Canard-Duchêne Brut Non-Vintage Champagne[edit]

The Authentic Brut Non-Vintage epitomises the Canard-Duchêne style, where freshness and intensity unite nobility and nature. It is made from a blend of 60 different Cru wines, and the blend of grapes is made up of 45% Pinot Noir, 35% Pinot Meunier and 20% Chardonnay. Reserve wines from several years make up at least 20% of the blend in order to give a consistent style year after year.

Canard-Duchêne Authentic Brut is characterised by its straw-yellow appearance and delicate mousse. Intense aromas of fresh fruit can be detected on the nose, typical of the Pinot grape varietals. On the palate, fruit aromas intermingle with pastry notes, a sign of excellent maturity.

The Canard-Duchêne Authentic Brut can be enjoyed with light foods, and particularly as an aperitif.[3]

Canard-Duchêne Brut Non-Vintage Rosé Champagne[edit]

Delicate and feminine, the Canard-Duchêne Authentic Rosé reveals its distinctly elegant style. Canard-Duchêne Authentic Rosé is a blend of 50% Pinot noir, 20% Pinot Meunier and 30% Chardonnay. The reserve wines, particularly red wines crafted from Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims, make up at least 10% of the blend in order to give a consistent style year after year.

With its delicate, pinkish hue and magnificent, pearlised ribbon, the Canard-Duchêne Authentic Rosé stands out for its intense, fresh fruit aromas of strawberries and raspberries against a backdrop of mineral notes for enhanced freshness. This rosé is delightful as an aperitif, can be enjoyed at parties or to accompany delicately-sweet desserts.[3]

Grande Cuvée Charles VII NV Champagne[edit]

Charles VII was launched in 1968 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Canard-Duchêne. The original name refers to the king who was led by Joan of Arc to be crowned in the Reims Cathedral in 1429. The Charles VII champagnes offer great finesse and a subtle elegance, the expression of the know-how of Canard-Duchêne. From the very beginning, the concept of the Grande Cuvée Charles VII has remained unchanged: a selection from among Champagne's most prestigious crus, a blend of several exceptional vintages that perpetuates the House's distinctive style: Fruity, elegant and versatile.[3]

Environment[edit]

Unlike most major Champagne Houses which are situated near the town, Canard-Duchêne is firmly established in the countryside of Ludes. They aim for harmony between the buildings, the gardens and the Montagne de Reims National Park. For the last 20 years Canard-Duchêne has made a commitment to sustainable agriculture and environmentally friendly production techniques. The House recently launched an 'Authentic Green' initiative wherein they produced a Champagne made solely from organically-grown grapes. This has been especially important during a time of conspicuous consumption where consumers question the origins of the products they purchase. According to the Canard-Duchêne website, "No words can express Canard-Duchêne's commitment to authentic organic principles better than its own hallmark 'Naturellement Noble'. 'Naturellement' contains the word 'Nature' which suggests love, respect and protection of Nature. 'Noble' conveys a feeling of greatness, generosity and responsibility".[4]

Awards[edit]

Canard-Duchêne wines consistently obtain awards across the board for the Champagnes they produce. Below is a summary of the awards some of their Champagnes won in 2012:

Canard-Duchêne Brut Non-Vintage Champagne

Canard-Duchêne Authentic Green Brut Non-Vintage

  • 'Commended' at the Decanter World Wine Awards
  • 'Silver' in the International Wine & Spirit Competition
  • 'Silver' in the International Wine Challenge

Canard-Duchêne Brut Non-Vintage Rosé Champagne

  • 'Bronze' in the Japan Wine Challenge
  • 'Commended' by the International Wine Challenge
  • 'Bronze' in the International Wine and Spirit Competition

Grande Cuvée Charles VII NV Champagne

  • 'Silver' in the Decanter World Wine Awards
  • 'Bronze' in the International Wine Challenge
  • 'Seal of Approval' at the Japan Wine Challenge
  • Given 17/20 by Jancis Robinson[5]

References[edit]