Champagne is synonymous to celebration and parties of good tidings. Having attended any such occasions, you would likely have been offered a taste of this classy and golden beverage. For those with a few more encounters with champagne, you may have chanced upon what is called Rose Champagne, also known as pink champagne.
Typically, champagne comes in various tinges of yellowish-orange depending on its source. Rose Champagne however, is a standout amongst its counterparts by carrying an added hue of pink. This is the reason some call it pink champagne instead.
What is rose champagne?
Outside of the color difference, what is rose champagne and what makes it so different from your regular champagne? What are the differences when it comes to Rose vs Champagne.
To really make the best out of this question, we have to give you a basic understanding of what champagne is. Champagne is basically sparkling wine that is made in France using grapes grown in the Champagne region. The Champagne region (note the capital C) is based in the northeastern part of France.
The exclusivity of champagne is due to the fact that there are laws that govern their production. It is illegal for anyone to label any product “Champagne” unless it came from that region. You can read this article for a more in depth explanation about what champagne is all about.
The process of making champagne is also highly regulated, making its reputation that much more luxurious. At this point, you should note that we are still only talking about regular champagne.
Rose Champagne comprises only about 5% of champagne produced annually. The key difference is really in the addition of red grapes added to the mix when making this sparkling wine.
This added tint of pink, or red grapes, elevates an already head-turning drink to something of higher exclusivity.
Rose Champagne however, isn’t just exclusive and unique in its visual parts. This pink equivalent of champagne is higher in value and rarity as well.
The additional ingredient needed to create this pink hue in rose champagne also inserts a new layer of complexity in taste. It is truly a drink fit for the highest of joyful celebrations.
Some even consider Rose Champagne the best champagne in the world.
There are two methods when it comes to how pink sparkling wine is made. The first is Blending or “Rose d’assemblage” and the second is Macerated or “Rose de Saignee”.
To further explain these two methods:-
The blending process is where red wine is added to sparkling white wine. The two different types of grapes are fermented separately and then mixed in together once the process is complete.
Typically, Rose champagne consists of 15% red wine, with the rest being white. This however is not universal and is up to each maker’s preference in taste and color.
Rose de Saignee
In the maceration method, the white wine, while being fermented, comes into contact with red grape skin for a short period of time. This contact between the two then results in the pinkish hue that Rose champagne is known for.
It is good to note that neither methods are wrong as both are practiced and accepted legally. The blending method however, is the more common method adopted by most Rose Champagne makers.
What does rose champagne taste like?
The taste profile of Rose Champagne is definitely unique and different from your regular glass of champagne. Like any food and beverage, any added ingredient will surely result in added complexity in taste and flavor.
Your everyday glass of champagne is usually crisp and dry. The added red grapes into the mix will naturally add a deeper, robust and fruity aroma and taste. This can take its reference from red wine which carries a similar taste profile.
However, every brand of Pink Champagne is produced with varying consistencies unique to the house producing them.
The well known Moet & Chandon rose for example has a richer taste of strawberry and raspberry that’s firm and flowery. The iconic Dom Perignon Rose is a warm and full fruity vanilla rose.
There are also rose bottles with a wider palette such as the Chandon Rose which is fresh with strawberry, watermelon and cherry notes.
The overall take away in difference between a good glass of pink with champagne is really in the variety of fruitiness. They are all derived from the quality and quantity of red grapes that goes into making the brand.
Why is rose champagne more expensive?
The simple truth in why Rose champagne prices are higher is twofold.
First and foremost would be labour intensity and secondly would be its rarity.
Rose champagne is very labour intensive to produce.
As we have touched on briefly before, the making of champagne is a highly regulated process. Each step of the making process, from the vineyard practices and maintenance, to the fermentation process, each step an important step towards the perfect farm is unharmed.
This means that each step involved in making pink champagne requires skilled workers from start to finish to be trained. Training takes time and labour from the producers.
Realize that in order to achieve the pink hue, a double amount of fermentation and therefore effort is required.
Having only 5% of champagne manufactured per year being Rose is the second reason why Rose Champagne rockets in price.
With this level of rarity, there is a much higher demand that results in higher market prices than regular champagne.
Is Rose better than champagne?
Now comes the real question: Is Rose better than champagne? The answer to this question is really up to the person holding the glass.
As most expert tasters have said that there is actually no key difference in terms of quality between a bottle of pink and a bottle of gold.
One key concern that most would voice is the versatility of rose champagne. Most would look at the common understanding that white wine pairs better with white meat, seafood or salty food for when brut is served.
What then would be the space that rose would take if it is champagne added with red grapes?
Thankfully, like its golden counterpart, Rose and regular champagne goes fairly well with most dishes. Whether it is white poultry such as chicken, seafood such as fish or lobster, or a good cut of steak, Rose will pair well.
This makes for a very versatile bottle, especially if you are on the lookout for something to go with a party menu that may have greater variety than most.
The only factor that denotes difference in value is the fact that there is less pink champagne being produced yearly. It therefore comes down to personal preference when choosing between the two.
Do you prefer to keep to the tradition of dry, crisp and straight champagne, or perhaps opt for something a little more eye-catching.
Surely the roses, pink hue of playfulness that most will identify with rose champagne will add a little something to your celebration. Not to mention the flavor of fruits that adds to the style of festivities you are holding.
Rose champagne will also go well with the decor of a really girly party (think pink!).
What is the best rose champagne?
At this point we can point you to two bottles that could start you off in search of your favorite. These two bottles of Rose will be good introductions to the world of Rose Champagne. Hopefully once you’ve taken a taste of these, you will begin searching for more to one day arrive at a personal favorite.
The McBride Sisters Rose is 90% pinot noir and 10% chardonnay, a rather strong mix of red with chardonnay.
This high percentage of red gives it ample fruitiness. With floral rose petal notes with scents of strawberry and red berries, the fruitiness of this bottle carries over to its taste. Additional tastes for a strong palate of strawberry, cranberry and raspberry is available as well.
An authentic french rose champagne with a beautiful salmon pink hue. The BouvetRose carries with it very fine bubbles and a mild mousse.
The BouvetRose is more diverse in scent, a telltale hint of raspberry mixed in with red currant and peach. On its taste you will have a variety of earthly notes with a herbal spice over a blackcurrant taste.
At the end of the day, the preference in Rose is really up to you. A bottle of pink, playful fruitiness will definitely set your soiree apart from the one down the street. The pretty pink hue is a plus for any celebration’s eyes too, not to mention the exquisite taste on the palate. We only ask that you take your time with your selection, just as you would with wine or any other bubbly. Explore the broad selection that is available in this unique branch of champagne and find the bottle that will satisfy your bubbling needs.