Thomson & Scott’s SKINNY CHAMPAGNE, part of the company’s SKINNY FIZZ brand, which soft launched last year to the delight of Champagne drinkers who were conscious of their sugar intake, is breaking the mould created by the drinks business and forging ahead with a No Sugar Grand Cru (that means “the best” in wine speak!) Champagne. Amanda’s moto: What’s not to like? Skinny Champagne was devised by ex-BBC Broadcaster Amanda Thomson and has become the must-have fizz and talk of the national media with journalists continuing to be fascinated by Thomson’s 180 degree career change to bring attention to no sugar fizz. She’s managed to obtain major coverage across all the major news outlets including The Times, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Evening Standard and fashion magazines. She’s even begun to slowly but surely crack North America and has been written up in the New York Times.
Thomson, who was brought up on health foods and grew up sugar free, gave up her job as a BBC TV and radio broadcaster and, in a dramatic move, upped her young family and moved to Paris in 2010 to study at the famous Le Cordon Bleu School, obtaining a Diploma in Wine. She wanted to bring a fresh, new and vibrant approach to wine drinking in the UK, casting aside the often-stuffy image of fine wine and Champagne and felt the only way was to get to the heart of great wine – and where better than the French capital.
Leading the way in changing habits of Champagne drinkers who want to drink beautifully crafted, complex Champagne but with the benefit of no added sugar, Thomson discovered expert Champagne maker Alexander Penet in Verzy and branded his Grand Cru Cuvée Champagne as “Skinny Champagne.” She is also now set to launch a range of other ‘Skinny’ sparkling wines including a second Skinny Champagne at a lower price point that is NV and low sugar, as well as Skinny Prosecco, and later Skinny Cava, Skinny Franciacorta and Skinny Sparkling Wine.
The go-to fizz for those adopting the new low sugar or sugar-free lifestyle has become a hit at Selfridges’ The Corner Restaurant, which is serving SKINNY CHAMPAGNE Afternoon Teas. SKINNY CHAMPAGNE is also listed at Des McDonald’s Vintage Salt – Liverpool Street, Roast Restaurant in Borough Market, as well as Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire and Vintage Salt on the roof at Selfridges. It also has discerning stockists further afield such as St Ives House in Cornwall, Llandudno Hotel in North Wales, and Locanda al colle in Camaiore, Tuscany.
Early fans of the healthy, high quality bubbles include journalist Camilla Long, fashion designer Anya Hindmarch and Vogue’s Christa d’Souza, not to mention pop stars such as The Prodigy’s Liam Hewlett and many of London’s influencers.
“The champagne world is notoriously difficult to penetrate,” says Thomson. “But in Alexandre Penet I’ve found a French partner who is both world renowned yet also innovative. The fashion crowd especially loves the idea of drinking fizz with no sugar! Momentum for Skinny Champagne is really growing and I am proud to be the one to launch it.”
No sugar champagne is made by a wholly traditional method. As part of the Champagne production process, secondary fermentation occurs in the bottle, then a ‘dosage’ – usually a mixture of older wine and sugar is added to each bottle. For SKINNY CHAMPAGNE Grand Cru, the dosage contains no added sugar and requires beautiful terroir: in this case labelled Grand Cru meaning the very best vineyard, perfect fruit and a highly talented Champagne maker to produce it
Sugar is usually used to “balance” Champagne. Without it, the Champagne is technically labelled either ‘Zero dosage’ or ‘Brut nature’. Making Champagne without sugar is a highly specialist production process and while other no sugar Champagnes exist, many lack complexity which is arguably why they haven’t taken off in the market.