In 2018 Veuve Clicquot celebrates the 200th Anniversary of the first known blended rosé by Madame Clicquot, which is still created the same way today as back in 1818 – by combining red wine and white wine together.
This year Laurent Perrier also celebrates 50 years of Cuvee Rosé, which it created by saignée method, that is ‘bleeding’ colour from dark-skinned grapes to colour and texture the white wine.
With all this celebration going on, it’s high time we reassess the credentials of this pink drink. As it turns out, champagne rosé is more serious than people might expect.
Thibaut Le Mailloux, Director of Communications for Comité Champagne in France, says rosé champagne is the next natural category for Australian drinkers to explore. As the 6th largest consumers of Champagne in the world, he believes rosé champagne presents a real opportunity for wine lovers to further educate themselves.
“Champagne is a wine that is produced by hand. It is artisanal – most of the work in the vineyard must be done by hand and the blending of the wine is also done with the nose, the mouth and with the hands, but it’s essentially artisanal by nature,” Le Mailloux says.
Le Mailloux points out that while consumption and production are still both relatively small, there is a big opportunity for our market to grow in sophistication by experimenting with new styles like rosé or vintage rosé.
In this sense Australians are now playing catch up with their Spanish and Carribean cousins, learning how to drink rosé and what to serve it with.
While rosé champagne currently accounts for only 3.3% of all champagne imported into Australia, a focus on it in the media means people are becoming more comfortable pairing it with a charcuterie board or serving it at main course o’clock.
What hits home most, when we begin to explore the different examples on the shelf is the careful way in which it is made to bring out different characters from the pinot noir and pinot meunier inclusions.
Dominique Demarville Cellar Master at Veuve Clicquot prides his production team at the Maison on having great blending savoir-faire. At Veuve Clicquot they celebrate the method of combining the best parcels of red and white wine together to create a still pink wine that will undergo it’s second fermentation in the bottle.
“At Veuve Clicquot we continue to elaborate our rosé Champagne by blending it with red wine, just as Madame Clicquot did when she created the method 200 years ago,” says Dominique Demarville, Cellar Master at Veuve Clicquot. “This traditional savoir-faire allows us to create rosé cuvées that are precise, full of intensity and elegant.”
Demarville is not alone. Many of the great Champagne houses produce in the blended or ‘assemblage’ style adding 15% red wine to white wine to create a perfectly pink tinged rosé.
Still others commit to the labour intensive saignée method – meaning in French to actually bleed the colour from the skins. This elaboration was pioneered by Bernard de Nonancourt in 1968. at Masion Laurent Perrier where they carry on the tradition today.
The Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé is said by the Maison to an aromatic depth and is characterized by its ripe red fruit aromas, a high intensity and great freshness. They recommend pairing it with marinated raw fish, grilled prawns, exotic dishes, Parma ham and red fruit desserts. They also advise the more experimental among us to team it with Asian or Indian cuisine.
So no matter which style of rosé you prefer – it’s time to think pink and expand your champagne horizons the next time you entertain.
bellamumma recommends starting off with delicate seafood, some Japanese sashimi grade fish or a delicious charcuterie board which you can allow the acidity in the champagne to cut the fatty richness of the cured meats.
If you are interested in letting a top Chef guide your way then Veuve Clicquot and Saké Restaurant & Bar will also host an onoing Veuve Clicquot Weekend Champagne Lunch, every Saturday & Sunday from 12.00pm during which guests will enjoy a stunning selection of Saké dishes for $75pp and are invited to add on a free-flowing champagne package of their choice, to enjoy an opulent two hours of luxury beverage service.
Veuve Clicquot Rosé (additional $139pp) or Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label (additional $99 pp).