We never need an excuse to buy Champagne, but as the industry faces serious strain from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, now is the time to stock up on bubbly and support your favourites. With fewer moments to celebrate in recent months, and no bars and restaurants open, trade is suffering and the knock-on could be devastating to the luxury sparkling wine sector. As things start to improve, we've got more reason to celebrate, so we’re seizing the opportunity to support the industry by sharing some fantastic rosé Champagnes while at the same time ensuring you've got the best bubbly at your next barbecue.
It doesn’t take much persuasion though, does it? Wholly glamorous and beautiful to look at, there’s something irresistible about an effervescent glass of rosé. Maybe it's the various shades of pink that trigger a craving for those fruity strawberry and cherry notes, or those brioche and biscuit flavours? It's the ideal summer tipple thanks to the refreshing bubbles and hearty acidity, and there's no doubt it’s the perfect choice for your next superyacht soirée.
What is rosé Champagne?
Champagne is a sparkling wine made of three grapes; Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. The juice of each of the three grapes permitted to make Champagne is white, so rosé Champagne gets its colour one of two ways: The first is the most common, by adding roughly 15% of still red wine (from the Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes) to the blending process. The second is the saignée method, typically used globally to make still rosé, and not very common in Champagne production. The saignée method is when the must is exposed to the grape skins for a brief period, to pick up some colour as well as more flavours.
For a sparkling wine to bear the title of ‘Champagne’ it needs to be from the Champagne area, made up of four main growing areas; Montagne de Reims, Vallée de la Marne, Côte des Blancs and Côte des Bar.
What is the difference between vintage and non-vintage?
Vintage Champagnes are made of only a single year vintage, hence the date listed on the bottle. Vintages aren’t as easy to get your hands on as they are not produced every year. Non-vintage Champagnes are the product of multiple harvests, to maintain that distinguishable house style.
So grab a Champagne glass and enjoy popping these bottles of beautifully crafted rosé champagnes, and take comfort in knowing you’re helping this industry in its time of need.
Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame 2006 Brut Rosé
La Grande Dame is a tribute to Madame Clicquot, the widow who took over the business when her husband died in the 1700s. This wine is intended to be a reflection of the best of the Maison’s grand cru terroir. There is no denying this vibrant Champagne is a beautiful wine. There’s so much to enjoy from the flavours of marzipan and baked pears to the floral brioche notes on the nose. It is complex, tannic and one to really come into its own in a few years.
£335 from Selfridges
Billecart Salmon, Brut Rosé N.V
Billecart Salmon is one to win over even those who claim to dislike Champagne. Despite being one of the world’s oldest and revered Champagne houses, Billecart Salmon only jumped on the rosé hype in the 70s, but boy, are we glad they did. This is a fine example of a well-rounded and refreshing fizz with soft red berries, toasted brioche, soft citric acid and an elegant effervescence. For is a well-considered crowd-pleaser, this is the perfect solution.
£70 from Fortnum & Mason
Ruinart was the first Champagne house to launch a rosé into the market and we have a lot to thank them for. The centuries of experience have allowed them to perfect their fizz and their N.V rosé Champagne is easily distinguishable. The tropical flavours burst from the glass with soft, sweet lychee cutting through with grapefruit and pomegranate. There’s plenty of body, silky effervescence and notable longevity.
£65 from Fortnum & Mason
Rare Rosé Champagne Millesime 2008
Rare rosé Champagne is a relatively new and exciting entry into the world of Champagne. From the Piper-Heidsieck Champagne house, its first release (2007) was only in 2016. Today 2008 is the latest release from an exceptional harvest after a long eight-year ageing period. Made of mostly of Chardonnay grapes with just 30% Pinot Noir, it’s easy to distinguish this beautiful wine from the first whiff. Bursting with tropical fruits on the nose, the palate showcases nuanced flavours of red and black fruits. Flavours are concentrated with a great propensity to get better with age and the decadent bottle makes this an apt choice for superyacht soirées.
£299 from The Whisky Exchange
Another centuries-old Champagne house, Delamotte is one of the five originals and today part of the Laurent-Perrier group. This beautiful Delamotte rose is heavily Pinot Noir with just 20% Chardonnay, produced by the saignée method. The result is an elegant sparkling rosé that is alive with strawberries and ripe red berries. Expect a beautiful mousse and long, enjoyable finish, there’s plenty of scope for this rosé to age nicely.
£54.95 from Corney & Barrow
Champagne AYALA Rosé Majeur N.V.
This independent Champagne house knows how to turn out fantastic Champagne, but with over 150 years in the game that should come as no surprise. Expect a reliable and enjoyable bottle of fizz every time and a distinctive Ayala style. This rosé is predominantly Chardonnay (50%) with a slightly lower dosage. It has a real finesse to it, with a refreshing tartness to the red fruits with a tropical hit of peaches. It’s lively, dry and far too easily enjoyed.
£35.28 from The Drink Shop
Charles Heidsieck Rosé Reserve N.V
This rosé really is a pleasure to drink. It’s a delicious, creamy discovery for those who want a sparkling rosé with plenty of depth- a fine Champagne Charlie, if you will. Providing great complexity, full body and soft tannins, the rosé reserve has benefitted from three years in Charles Heidsieck’s chalk cellars. Expect a beautifully aromatic wine with finesse showcasing flavours of wild strawberry and lightly spiced apple crumble.
£70 from Fortnum & Mason
Armand De Brignac Brut Rosé
Bottles don’t get more iconic than the ace of spades. Despite the slightly garish bottle colour, this bottle is sure to stand out in your superyacht wine cabinet. This is one to age nicely over the next five years or so, but also enjoyable now. The palate is full-bodied with developing flavours of ripe red cherry and blackcurrant, while the nose has delicious notes of toasted bread and strawberry.
£500 from Fortnum & Mason
Gosset Grand Reserve Rosé
Gosset is the world’s oldest known producer of Champagne, its inception dating back to the 1500s, though maybe one of the lesser-known originals. Production is generally on a smaller scale than its bigger competitors, but each harvest is a well-considered one, to ensure the finest quality. Gosset rosé is made of only Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes but has a lovely, persistent ripe red fruit flavour with freshly baked bread coming through on the nose. Fantastic quality and wholly enjoyable.
£75 from Harvey Nichols
Bruno Paillard Premiere Cuvee Rosé
Bruno Paillard is another brand that seems to go under the radar and is one that should be more widely enjoyed. This rosé is mostly Pinot Noir with a splash of Chardonnay, though how much of each exactly remains a secret. Pair this with its lower than average dosage and you have a unique, refreshing flavour profile that’s ideal for everyday occasions. Enjoy cherry on the nose with a whiff of peach and baked bread, while on the palate it sings of strawberry jam and grapefruit.
£54.95 from The Whisky Exchange
Taittinger Brut Prestige Rosé N.V.
Taittinger is a Champagne house that is always looking for the next big fizz. In fact, Taittinger is the first Champagne house to own vines in England and before that, it got behind the Californian sparkling trend too. So we've got plenty of faith in their wine-producing skills and this rosé delivers. Composed of a fairly even blend of the three Champagne grapes delivering an exciting profile of both crisp red and soft dark fruits. It’s wonderfully fruity on the nose and palate, with a gentle sweetness, held in balance with a touch of spice.
£38 from Master of Malt