For whatever the reason, Rose can be quite a polarizing segment of champagne & sparkling wine. Some love it, some hate it. Some think it is not serious and others think its the benchmark…
For our purposes let me start with an anecdote…While tasting the latest releases of fizz at Champagne Bollinger last spring, I was informed how Lily Bolinger, the matriarch of the house until her death in 1971, was adamant about not producing a rose. But why? It had come back in fashion and people were clammering for it! Naturally her advisors were advising it. She shot back, “I will not make a “Special Cuvee” for prostitutes!” #Savage. After she died, the new leaders pondered back and forth what to do? The public wanted it, the new people in charge wanted to make money, after all, this is a business, but she said no “Special Cuvee Rose.” So they did what any smart and slick businessmen would do….they made a rose, but honored her wishes by not making a special cuvee rose, so on the bottle of Bollinger rose…that is all you will see without the words special cuvee in sight 😉
Now with that charming fizz fact, let’s get to our top 5 roses for Valentine’s Day!
Marc Hebrart, Rose, 1er Cru, Brut, Mareuil-sur-Ay, France
Jean-Paul Hebrart, the son of Marc Hebrart is probably the nicest grower-producer of champagne that we have ever met. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and tasting with him several times. His gentleness, kindness, and true love for his champagnes is just so completely evident from the minute you sit with him to the second you leave. I look forward to seeing him again in just a few months in April. His rose is made from all top tier fruit coming from Hebrart’s home village of Mareuil-sur-Ay, one of 42 villages in champagne with the designation of Premier Cru (1er). Thought, we could easily argue that it should have been given Grand Cru status or at least “Super Premier Cru.” The quality of fruit from this village is impeccable…mineral driven, bright fruit, extremely elegant, fresh, and with age, quite mouth watering! A blend of chardonnay and pinot noir with a bit of still rose vinified in secondary use oak added for the beautiful salmon pink color. The flavor is of delicious fresh strawberries, raspberries, minerality, and with a touch of cream. It is elegant and holds up to all seafood dishes but oh so delectable on it’s own! We have seen it served at michelin starred restaurants in New York and find it to be not only a great value for serious rose champagne but one that gives a great picture of a rose champagne expression from the village of Mareuil-sur-Ay and sure to impress and please your date on this day of love!
Laurent-Perrier, Cuvee Rose, Brut, Tours-sur-Marne, France
Probably the most gorgeous red color we have ever seen or experienced from a rose. It is just so.dead.sexy. But really…this will probably be a bottle that would put anyone in a loving mood 😉 The grapes are macerated with the skin for nearly 72 hours, giving such rich complexity in both the color and aromatics. Amazingly, this champagne is 100% pinot noir …something rather rare for roses in champagne, which usually will be a blend of Pinot Noir AND Chardonnay. Amazingly, you have ample body but also incredible minerality. This audaciously delicious and beautiful rose gets the majority of its fruit from the northern region of the Champagne Region, the Montagne de Reims, including several Grand Cru villages! This is important as there are only 17 Grand Cru villages out of 320! Of course, only the first pressing of juice is used and then once blended and bottled, it is aged for an impressive 5 years. On the palate you receive generous fresh red fruit: strawberries, cherries, red currants, and raspberries. This wine is bright and mesmerizing. We recommend this with a dinner at home or for your Valentine’s Day picnic.
Side note: Fizz Champagne & Bubbles Club feels fortunate that our full service champagne bar, located in Sacramento, CA has been visited by LP USA President Michelle deFeo. After her visit, she appeared on the wine podcast, “Grape Nation.” While on it she mentioned Fizz as one of two of the best places to get champagne! Thank you Michelle…Sante!
Margaine, Rose, Premier Cru, Brut, Villers-Marmery, France
We have discussed an elegant and a fresh rose champagne, let’s now move on to the juicy juicy! A. Margaine is an incredible grower in the Premier Cru village of Villers-Marmery in the Montagne de Reims subregion of Champagne. They are next to both Grand Cru and other Premier Cru villages. I believe this speaks to the quality of the grapes and sites that they have within their village. The majority of their holdings is chardonnay with a small amount of Pinot Noir. In this rose, you will find almost 80% chardonnay with the rest being Pinot Noir yet the berries and juiciness of this wine comes out so magnificently. I liken it to those beautiful juicy beginning of summer strawberries that are so sun ripen and large…that you get on the side of the road. Is there really anything better at that time of year?? If you are into juicy fruit like that, then this is your gal. We may or may not have a guzzling problem with this. Drink this before your big delicious meal!
Paul bara, Brut Reserve, Rose, Grand Cru, Bouzy, Reims
Now to something COMPLETELY different. One of my favorite growers who time and time again keeps quality and value at a maximum! Paul Bara is quite a smaller grower-producer champagne house with only 7500 cases of annual production. This family owned winery is situated in one of our favorite Grand Cru villages of Bouzy. Big, Full, Ripe, Juicy fruit! Prized for their Pinot Noir and their still red wine made there called “Bouzy Rouge.” This very sexy and rich rose from Bara is exclusively Grand Cru fruit all from Bouzy. This wine is aged four years in the cellar and blends 68% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay, and 12% bouzy rouge for color. Tasting this is like tasting a raspberry hazelnut tart! Fruit, nuts, brioche, it has it all! Juicy, round, ripe, full. This is a very serious and expressive rose with an incredible amount of characteristics. We recommend enjoying with your loved one at the end of the night…perhaps in front of a fire or….?;) But seriously….if you’ve never had this juicy nutty delight, now is the time. You will not regret it.
J lasalle, Brut Rose, Premier Cru, Chigny-les-Roses
Our Fizz club believes majorly in Valentine’s Day and we believe there could not be a better wine to celebrate friendship with then this all female team. “One Woman, One Spirit, One Style” is the motto of this house. 3 Generations of women have been at the helm making incredible wines! (Grandmother, Daughter, Granddaughter). This wine is aged almost 4 years and blends all the three primary varietals: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. It is a rose of great finesse that we believe is best suited to fit every palette. Those who want a clean and mineral driven champagne to those who want something more complex and even to those who traditionally don’t like rose! Wild strawberries and delicate bright cherries. This wine is delicate, light, and bright. Not to be missed from a woman empowered house!