Two iconic producers lay claim to the invention of Rosé Champagnes: 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 color was the result of a “mishap” during the pressing while, as far as the “widow” is concerned, there was a definite intention to launch a new product on the market.
Today, Rosé Champagne is increasing the ranks of its enthusiasts, and not only among women 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.
NICOLAS FEUILLATTE PALMES D’OR BRUT ROSÉ, $200
100% Pinot Noir, by the rare rosé de signée method.
The color of cherry soda and almost as sweet.
62% Pinot Noir, 32 % Chardonnay, 6% red Pinot Noir
The La Grande Année Rosé 2004 is a quintessential expression of the style. It’s their superb La Grande Année Brut with the addition of just 6% red Pinot Noir – unusually low – but so concentrated it not only adds the coppery hue but further ramps up the Pinot character.
VEUVE CLICQUOT CAVE PRIVÉE ROSÉ 1990, $230
47% Pinot Noir, 27% Chardonnay, 9% Pinot Meunier, 17% red Pinot Noir
Distinctive and powerful, each Vintage is the unique expression of a single harvest chosen for its remarkable quality and loyalty to the House’s style.
See also: 10 Best Sparkling Wines
TAITTINGER COMTES DE CHAMPAGNE ROSÉ 2006, $262
58% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay, 12% red Pinot noir
Still young for the remarkably long-lived Comtes de Champagnes. More orange than pink, with tiny, delicate bubbles and a gentle approach that belies the substantial, earthy, mineral-infused power that underlies this very great Champagne.
VEUVE CLICQUOT LA GRANDE DAME ROSÉ, $280
52% Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay, 15% red Pinot Noir
Young and fresh. 2004 was a classic vintage, all about finesse. It shows a subtly beguiling, delicate intensity, yet it will be at least decade before it comes into its full, luminescent glory.
DOM RUINART ROSÉ 2002, $299
80% Chardonnay, 20% red Pinot Noir
The richness of the 2002 vintage boasts exceptional breadth and volume on the palate. It offers a fine fruity, floral and spicy aromatic range. The Chardonnay emerges simultaneously as round, precise and subtle. The finish, attractively structured with restrained power, allows the Pinot Noir to shine.
See also: Top 10 Napa Valley Wineries
KRUG ROSÉ NV, $299
59% Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay and 8% Pinot Meunier
As you taste Krug Rosé, you will discover harmonies of puff pastry and red-berry tart, which develop towards honey and citrus fruits.
Its floral accents and notes of dried or stewed fruit will enthrall your palate. Its extreme delicacy is enhanced by the subtlety of its fine and elegant bubbles.
DOM PÉRIGNON ROSÉ 2004, $329
34% Chardonnay, 38% Pinot Noir, 28% red Pinot Noir
In that regard, Dom Pérignon Rosé is a paradox to the point of contradiction as it is the perfect balance of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Although it took over ten years to reach the light of day, the color of Dom Pérignon Rosé dares to express all the tension between youth and maturity, between exhibition and restraint.
PERRIER-JOUET BELLE ÉPOQUE ROSÉ, $350
50% Chardonnay, 45% Pinot Noir, 5% Pinot Meunier
The most delicate expression of the Perrier-Jouët house style, cuvée Belle Epoque Rosé 2006 boasts an expert balance of floral and fruity notes, which will be unveiled to perfection by contrasting flavors. Its refinement will be perfectly expressed with shellfish.
CHAMPAGNE LOUIS ROEDERER CRISTAL ROSÉ, $469
55% Pinot Noir, 45% Chardonnay
This wine is a salmon pink hue with bright golden tints. It has a persistent stream of fine bubbles. Reminiscent of a summery bouquet of fresh fruit, with the right balance of sweetness and acidity. The Pinot Noir’s concentration and maturity add distinctive notes of ‘fruit liqueur’and aromas of roasted almonds and gingerbread.
DOM PÉRIGNON ROSÉ P2 1995, $750
42% Chardonnay, 41% Pinot Noir, 17% red Pinot Noir
Vibrant gold color with russet twinkles. Everything here speaks of a warm summer, gaining perfectly ripe grapes. Scents of white flowers and citrus. The mousse in the mouth suggests less pressure than usual, making it taste more like a great white wine than a Champagne. Superb quality of fruit and potential vinosity, with quite a lot in reserve for another decade more.