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Two iconic producers lay claim to the invention of Champagne Rosé: Ruinart sent the first bottles to Germany as far back as 1764, while Veuve Clicquot made a shipment of it in 1775. It would seem, however, that in the former case, the unusual colour was the result of a “mishap” during pressing while, as far as the “widow” is concerned, there was a definite intention to launch a new product on the market.
Today, Champagne Rosé is increasing the ranks of its enthusiasts, and not only among women (it’s high time to do away with the clichés regarding “gender” wines, here the affinity is merely chromatic) thanks to its many variegated expressions, from the fresher, drinkable varieties to those of a more complex and austere structure, and its versatility of pairings, from beef tartare to salmon steaks, from sushi to cold cuts.
There are two possible methods of production: that of the rosé de saignée (literally meaning “bloody”) which involves extracting the colour by allowing the must to come into contact with the skins; and that of blending white and red wine – Champagne is the only European denomination for which this method is allowed – and which, according to some, ensures greater consistency and elegance.
Here are ten great labels and a summer outsider (not necessarily the most expensive) to enable you to discover the best and most remarkable expressions of Champagne Rosé.
Champagne Rosé: 10 + 1 labels to try
Veuve Clicquot Vintage 2008 Rosé
A bottle worthy of the historical first of this maison in terms of rosé: floral and citrusy on the nose, elegant and creamy in-mouth, this is a truly outstanding Champagne – 61% Pinot Noir, 34% Chardonnay and 5% Meunier – extremely enjoyable despite its complexity.
Dom Ruinart Rosé 2002
Produced from grapes coming from the Grands Crus vineyards (20% Pinot Noir vinified on the skins and 20% Chardonnay), this is a bottle of great complexity and elegance, which still preserves a high degree of freshness with sensations of blood orange and ripe red berries, as well as a lengthy after-taste. Have fun pairing it with dishes of intense flavour, such as veal in tuna sauce.
Charles Heidsieck Rosé Réserve
An engaging and well construed Champagne – with a blend of 33% Pinot Noir, 34 Chardonnay and 33 Meunier – mainly appreciated by those with a penchant for a bit of sweetness. Its bouquet reveals notes of pomegranate and dried flowers while its in-mouth sensation is rounded yet fresh and extremely agreeable to drink.
Despite the fact that it is not a single-vintage, the main rosé produced by this Maison founded in 1829 at Aÿ offers an amazing complexity: its aroma reveals notes of peach and pink pepper and it is dry, never too sweet, lengthy and very elegant on the palate, capable of carrying off the boldest of pairings with great class.
Egly-Ouriet Rosé Grand Cru
A blend of 65% Pinot Noir and 35% Chardonnay, which matures on the lees for as long as 52 months and has an extremely low dosage (meaning residual sugar) of just 2 grams per litre. A Champagne characterized by great freshness and refinement with an unusual bouquet played out on notes of the undergrowth rather than red berries.
Jérôme Prévost La Closerie fac-simile rosé
A pupil of Anselme Selosse (one of the most acclaimed Champagne producers), Prévost owns a vineyard of just over 2 hectares from which he obtains less than 15,000 bottles. His is a most unusual rosé since it is made exclusively from Meunier grapes – generally considered to be inferior to others and, for this reason, rarely used as a monovarietal. A fine beading, hints of citrus fruits along with an impressive linearity and flavour on the palate: a great little Champagne.
Dom Pérignon Vintage Rosé 2004
From the mythical Maison headquartered in the Abbey of Hautvillers comes this magnificent version in pink, from a particularly gratifying year, which takes us by surprise with its explosive fragrances of berry fruits and aromatic herbs, along with a mineral and complex flavour that invites us to pair it with shellfish.
Paul Barà Grand Rosé
The Grand Cru village of Bouzy has a consolidated “red” tradition, further confirmed by this Champagne whose blend consists of 82% Pinot Noir, no less, and 18% Chardonnay. A “grapey” Champagne, with a fruity, balsamic nose and a fine minerality and acidity, making it extremely agreeable and drinkable.
Louis Roderer Vintage Rosé 2010
This Maison from Reims, one of the most renowned Champagne producers, also stands out for the personality of its rosé varieties: the Vintage 2010 – with 62% Pinot Noir from the Cumières cru – has a beautiful beading, citrus and spicy expressions, and a clean, tasty mouth-feel. An ideal bottle for opening as an aperitif.
Perrier–Jouët Belle Èpoque Rosé 2006
The cuvée de prestige from the Eperney maison not only boasts the most beautiful bottle – decorated with the famous anemones created in 1902 by Emile Gallé– but also one of the best rosés on the market, which stands out for its elegance and complexity without ever failing to delight the palate.
Moët Ice Impérial Rosé
Champagne with ice? The idea will turn up the purists' nose, but this could be an unexpected way to enjoy it in summer. The new variety of rosé Moët & Chandon, is the first Champagne created to be served on the rocks. Its bouquet is fruity, with berry and peach hints, it's sweet on the palate and fresh at the end, with notes of pink grapefruit.