You might wonder what is so special about Rosé, and why is it so much more expensive than other champagnes, and that is a very fair question.
The easiest answer is that there is not as much rosé produced as the other cuvées. Having said that, the popularity of rosé is growing, and while in the mid 1990s, many producers would only count about 5% of their production as rosé, now some producers have as much as 20% of their total production being rosé! That’s a huge increase in a relatively short space of time.
There is also a little more effort that needs to go into the production of rosé. There are two different methods – saignée and blending.
Saignée from the French word ‘bleeding’ is when the dark skin of the Pinot Noir grape is left in contact with the sparkling wine cuvée anywhere between one to three days, then discarded. The length of skin contact will therefore affect the depth of colour.
Blending as its name suggests involves mixing a small amount of red wine made from pinot noir to the sparkling wine cuvée to give it colour. Champagne is the only region in France where the practice of blending is not forbidden by law. It is also the most common method used to produce rosé.
The other good news is that rosé is actually a drier style of champagne than most people expect. There is a misconception that rosé is sweet and therefore more suited as a dessert wine. However, the majority are not that sweet at all, and perfectly suited as a wine to have throughout a meal. Rosé is a particularly good match with oysters, caviar, and duck.
I’ve put together a list of 10 different rosés that would be perfect for any Valentine. One tip, though, make sure you look your Valentine in the eye when you clink glasses – according to French tradition it is a sign of trust and honesty, the building blocks of a great relationship!
Tasting the Stars Top 10 Rosés for Valentine’s Day
Non Vintage Rosés
- Bollinger Rosé N.V. – fresh as a rose, this superb champagne was created in 2008 and is made by blending a little of Bollinger’s red wine from the Côte aux enfants. Beautiful on it’s own, or paired with lobster, crayfish, salmon, or strawberry tart
- Mumm Rosé N.V. – G.H Mumm’s first rosé was developed in the 1860s and was known as the ‘Royal Rose’. This rose has now been depicted in watercolour by Japanese artist Léonard Foujita and appears on the labels. Blending of some vocal red wine creates a delicate salmon pink colour. This a very fine, elegant wine that is best served chilled as an aperitif, but can also be served throughout the meal going particularly well with smoked salmon, tarama salata and jamon.
- Billecart Salmon Brut Rosé – seven generations of secrets go into the production of Billecart Salmon Brut Rosé. It’s pale pink colour has glints of gold, and is the result of blending red wine to the houses famous pinot noir and chardonnays. It has a very light, elegant flavour with a touch of raspberry lingering on the palate. It is a wonderful match with wild salmon or sushi, or a red berry compote dessert.
- Veuve Clicquot Rosé – A pinot noir dominated blend, this beautiful Veuve Cliquot cuvée gains it’s elegance and finesse from carefully selcted chardonnay grapes and a blend of red wine. A radiant coppery orange colour, it is elegant, sensual and very well balanced. Best served chilled as an aperitif with oysters.
- Dom Perignon 2002 Rosé – some say this is the greatest Dom Perignon roséever. It does appear to be a masterpiece created by Chef de Cave Richard Geoffroy. It has a mysterious orange pinky glow and is very complex on the nose. True to it’s vintage, it is sublimely structured in the mouth, and is sure to send shivers down the spine of your valentine.
- Charles Heidsieck 1999 Rosé – this beautiful blend is one of the most awarded rosé vintages in the world. It has very delicate bubbles as a result of spending 12 years on lees in the ancient cellar. Complex aromas exhibit a harmony and depth that is sure to enhance any romantic interlude.
- Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Hummingbird 2005 – the Belle Epoque Hummingbird 2005 is a limited edition champagne with a bottle designed by acclaimed Brazilian artist Vik Muniz. Since 1902, Perrier-Jouët has remained loyal to its artistic design and periodically invites guest artists to design limited edition bottles encompassing their signature anemone spray. Not only a beautiful bottle, the wine inside is exsquisite. The result of a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and red wine, this champagne is an expression of true Perrier-Jouët style. Elegant and rich, it has a subtle rose hue. As delicate as it is, it pairs well with langoustine, duck breast, lamb or game. Desserts with sweet red fruit flavours would also pair beautifully.
- Louis Roederer Rosé 2008 – almost 200 years ago, Louis Roederer was a visionary in the art of champagne production. his aquisition of grand cru vineyards (unpopular practice back then) is largely responsible for the wine’s unique style, character, and taste. Elegant, pure and fresh, the wine is a blend of pinot noir and chardonnay, and does not undergo malolactic fermentation. This gives a crispness and purity that ages so well in the bottle. It is a lovely coppery colour, rich and full bodied that would pair very well with both seafood and game.
Perhaps on Valentine’s Day, it would be appropriate to go for just that little bit more luxury, and there are a couple of superb champagnes the fill that would be sure to impress.
- Armand de Brignac ‘Ace of Spades’ Rosé – some say this is the best money can buy. It has been entirely hand made on the family estate since 1763. Picking the grapes, filling and riddling the bottles, adding the dosage and applying each pewter label, are all meticulously performed by a group of just eight craftspeople. The wine is a blend of three vintage years (currently 2002, 2003, 2005) and is a lovely salmon pink hue. Wine maker Jean-Jacques Cattier says the wine can be drunk before, during, or after a meal, at the end of the night, or at the beginning of the afternoon. Perfect!
- Cuvée Carbon Rosé – Cuvée Carbon, is the love child of Alexandre Méa-Devavry, a fifth generation champagne maker from the picturesque village of Champillon, across the valley from the more famous home of Dom Perignon, considered the father of champagne. Alexandre has a love of formula one racing, and finally found a way to blend his two passions by coming up with an exquisite carbon clad bottle in which to house his carefully selected champagne. Uniquely creating a blend of only the best Grand Cru and Premier Cru grapes from his family estate, Alexandre puts a master craftsman to work in Epernay to create a carbon fibre jacket that takes six days to complete.Only available in limited numbers, and only in magnums (1.5l), Methuselah (6l) and Nebuchadnezzar (15 l), this could be the most expensive champagne in the world. The Nebuchadnezzar, if you can find it, retails for over $50 thousand Australian dollars. However, you won’t be needing a bottle that size to keep your Valentine happy, a magnum of their delicate Vintage Rose will do just nicely.