- Blending (or “Rosé d’assemblage”) when still red wine (in varying amounts between 5 and 20%) is added to the champagne at the blending stage. The still red wine must – of course – be from champagne grapes to qualify for champagne appellation. This means rosé champagne producers need to make still red wine too.
- In the maceration technique, at pressing the black grapes are left to macerate in a tank – with the grape juice in contact with the skins – until the juice is the desired colour. Usually this is for about 24-72 hours.
- In rosé de saignée, a small percentage of juice is bled off just-crushed red grapes. The portion which is bled off (hence the name saignée) then goes through secondary fermentation in the bottle. The rest is used to make still red wine.
Which is best, according to Bubble and Flute?
- Blending is the more commonly used technique. This is considered the easiest technique for a consistent result.
- Macerated rosé champagnes is considered to be a more complicated technique. Rosé champagnes made this way tend to be darker in colour and have stronger fruit flavours.
- Saignée generally produces the palest and most delicate rosés.
But if you are looking for a rosé champagne to try, here are a few (actually quite a few!) which I enjoy.
(These are all blended to the best of my knowledge and research unless otherwise stated. I always ask the Chef de Caves or house reps when I meet them about the Rosé technique and the grapes blends when I try their Rosés because I am so interested to try the different techniques).
Perrier Jouet Blason Rosé – 50% pinot noir, 25% meunier and 25% chardonnay with 12 to 15% blended red wine. Dosage – 10g/l I am pictured with a glass of Blason above. This is my good “go to” rosé champagne.
Ruinart NV Rosé – 55% pinot noir, 45% chardonnay – 19% of red is blended still wine. Dosage – 9g/l. Being Ruinart, the style is full of chardonnay. I find this lovely and crisp, almost tropical in a gentle, enjoyable way. Being a Queenslander (hot climate), this is brunch/lunch/Sunday session heaven! (Excellent but pricey)
Billecart NV Rosé – 40% chardonnay, 30% pinot meunier, and 30% pinot noir blended with 8% red wine – from my notes taken during house visit June 2015. (Pretty good)
Charles Heidsieck NV Rosé – 1/3 of each grape variety, 5-6% blended still red wine. A bit berry and a hint of spice, I wonder if I could pick this as a rosé in a blind tasting as it is very delicate.
Louis Roederer Rosé 2010 – These notes are for 2011 vintage but you really must try the 2010 first. 63% pinot Noir, 37% chardonnay… 22% of the wine vinified in oak casks, 13% malolactic fermentation. Louis Roederer actually combines two methods – maceration and blending. A little chardonnay juice poured into a pinot noir maceration and fermented together to achieve the perfect harmony. The unique technique, the inclusion of oak and the minimal MLF all contribute to a unique and divine champagne, true to the Roederer style which celebrates freshness in champagne. Dosage – 9g/l (Expensive)
Pol Roger 2006 Rosé – 60% pinot noir, 40% chardonnay with 15% still pinot noir. Pol Roger only makes a vintage Rosé and they do it deliciously. (Pretty good)
- Rosé accounts for about 8.5% of all champagne shipments
- Madame Clicquot, known as ‘La Grande Dame de la Champagne’ and a champagne pioneer created the first ever blend of rosé champagne.
- Bollinger introduced a non-vintage rosé for the first time ever in 2008.
You don’t need to spend this much money to enjoy some brut rose’ champagne. Or in my case, sparkling wine. Bubble and Flute espouses only champagne. I prefer not to discriminate! I will open a bottle tonight!