I’m not a huge celebrator of V-Day, but if you are, you may as well go all out and nothing quite screams Valentine’s Day than a beautiful Rosé Champagne.
So before I get into my top picks, let’s quickly chat about Rosé. Rosé Champagnes range in colour from light pink to salmon to even a dark copper and can be produced from some or all of the permitted grape varietals. Although Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir grapes are red, the pressed juice is white and to get the right shade for their cuvee rosé, a house will use one of the 2 permitted methods of producing a rosé Champagne.
The maceration or saignée method is where the clear juice is left to macerate on the dark skins for anywhere from 24-72 hours depending on the shade of pink the house is trying to achieve. Timing is everything with maceration as the process needs to be stopped at exactly the right time to achieve the correct shade.
The 2nd method of producing a rosé is by assemblage or blending and that involves adding a percentage of still red wine to the blend to get the preferred shade of rosé. Champagne being the only wine where it is legally permitted to add red wine to white to create a rosé. This is done before second fermentation in the bottle, it is the most widespread method used in Champagne and producers are permitted to add anywhere from 5-20% still red wine to the blend.
So here are my rosé picks for Valentine’s Day … and I’ve added some Pairing recommendations with a twist …
Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you will by now know I have a soft spot for Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé. It’s a 100% Pinot Noir rosé that gets its beautiful colour through maceration of between 48-72 hours. Cuvée Rosé was created by Laurent-Perrier in 1968 and is a blend of 10 different crus located mainly in the south and north areas of the Montagne de Reims. Aged for a minimum of 5 years it pairs beautifully with sushi, grilled prawns, Parma ham and red fruit desserts like a Berry Pavlova.
Pair it with this gorgeous bag charm or key holder, perfect for him or her. Louis Vuitton Fetish Tassel Bag Charm and Key Holder
Taittinger Prestige Rosé
Taittinger Prestige Rosé is a beautiful example of a rosé created through assemblage with around 15% of the blend being still red wine from the best Pinot Noirs of the Montagne de Reims. Prestige Rosé has a remarkably high proportion of Chardonnay (30%). On the nose it’s fresh and young giving off aromas of red fruits and it hits a fine balance on the palate with a creamy texture and full-bodied taste. Most rosé being Pinot-heavy are better suited to food-pairing, whereas Taittinger’s Prestige Rosé with it’s high percentage of Chardonnay makes it absolutely perfect for all day drinking.
Louis Roederer Rosé Vintage 2012
Louis Roederer Rosé Vintage 2012, judging by ratings and reviews, seems to be one that is most definitely going to impress and I have a bottle in my cellar waiting to be popped. Rosé Vintage 2012 is a blend of 63% Pinot Noir and 37% Chardonnay, bottle aged for 4 years with a further 6 months after disgorgement. Aromas of wild red berries with floral notes and the sugar & spice fragrance of zest as well as dried fruit and cocoa. Another rosé with a high proportion of Chardonnay making it perfect for all day drinking. You can’t go wrong with this one, it’s sure to go down a treat.
Worldwide you should find it at most top-end specialist wine boutiques and in South Africa, you can purchase it online directly from the importers, Reciprocal Wine Company … and for the month of February it is on promotion with or without giftbox starting from R745 (a 25% saving off the normal selling price of R995).
De Watère Premier Cru Brut Rosé
Champagne De Watère Cuvée Premier Cru Brut Rosé is a cuvee I had a few years ago for the first time. A 100% Pinot Noir, it is normally a blend of grapes from 2 consecutive years, produced using the saignée method and aged for an unprecedented 85 months.
Champagne De Watère recently rebranded their cuvées. Labels are 3D printed using UV metallic flake lacquer which shimmer in the light and at a certain angle the gryphon casts a shadow.
Shipping to selected EU countries, it’s available in the standard 750ml bottle and also as part of their Petites Collection of 1 each of their cuvées and 2 flutes. Shop for it on the Champagne De Watère website.
… And for her, the prettiness that is the Champers Ring.
Bollinger Rosé 2006
Bollinger Rosé 2006 is the first ever limited edition vintage from Champagne Bollinger dedicated to a rosé Champagne. It is a blend of 72% Pinot Noir, 28% Chardonnay with 7% still red wine, aged for more than 10 years.
On the nose you’ll pick up subtle aromas of warm tobacco, chocolate, mocha and roasted coffee notes, followed by the fragrance of dried flowers and peony, and finally dried fruit and fruit compote notes, especially quince. On the palate; fullness and mature aromas of fruit jellies and honey with a fresh finish presenting notes of blood orange and mandarin peel.
It comes in a gorgeous collectible limited edition gift cage, and you should find it at top end boutique liquor retailers. In South Africa there is limited availability online at Wine Cellar Fine Wine Merchants.
Picture it paired with a beautiful piece of art … like these giant dripping Champagne bottles from Cape Town artist Kurt Pio.
Lanson Limited Edition Rosé Label
Champagne Lanson‘s Limited Edition Rosé MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE is simply eye catching and sure to awe any rosé lover with that beautiful pale pink colour. Lanson’s Rosé is a blend of 53% Pinot Noir, 32% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Meunier, from a number of crus and their first rosé was created in the 1950’s making it one of the first rosé Champagnes to be produced.
A subtle wine with very fine bubbles, aromas of rose and fine fragrances of red fruits echo its pale pink colour.
You’ll find it at most top end liquor retailers.
There you have it, beautiful gifts that are sure to impress your Valentine’s love. Oh, and there’s no reason why you can’t pop in a huge bunch of flowers …
Pop, Fizz, Clink
The Champagne Chick