What better way to ring in the New Year then with Rose Champagne? Every year the December tasting and lunch of the Wine Media Guild at Felidia is Champagne. The speaker is always Ed “Champagne” Mc Carthy, author of Champagne for Dummies. This year Ed chose Rose Champagne, non-vintage and vintage, for the tasting and lunch.
Ariston Fils Brut Rose, NV. It is about 50% Pinot Noir with a very high percentage of reserve wines (30%) from older vintages. This makes it very consistent from year to year and gives it mature flavors. The wine has good bubbles and aromas of wild strawberries. Ed said that this was a very traditional producer with a long history though not well known in this country. This was the first time I had tasted this wine and felt it was a great buy for $40.
Ayala Brut Rose “Majeur” NV. This is made from 45% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay and 20% Meunier. Ed said that it had “Latin Roots” as the founder came from South America. Ed liked it and felt that it was an elegant, light style champagne. He also recommended their Dosage Zero NV. I agree with Ed and the Rose is another good buy for $50.
Piper-Heidsieck Brut Rose “Sauvage” NV. It is made from 45% Pinot Noir and $40% Pinot Meunier and 15% Chardonnay. Ed said the wine was very fruity (which may be accounted for by the 40% Meunier) lots of ripe berry fruit flavors. He believed the wine was aimed at the “young market” $45.
Nicholas Feuillatte Brut Rose NV. Made from 60% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier and 10% Chardonnay. This is a dry light wine but with a lot of fruit. It was the lightest wine in the tasting, the least expensive, and should be drunk young. $39
G.H. Mumm, Cordon Rouge Brut Rose NV. Made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Ed really likes this wine. He said it was “excellent” and a great buy at $60
Bruno Paillard Rose Brut Premiere Cuvee NV. Made from 85% Pinot Noir and 15% Chardonnay grapes. Ed said that the wine was light bodied, with very little dosage, delicate in flavor, elegant and easy drinking. It goes very well with food. He liked it and so did I. $70
Henriot Brut Rose NV the wine is made by adding vinified Pinot Noir as a red wine tothe assemblage. It is mostly Pinot Noir with some Chardonnay. It contains about 25% of reserve wine. I liked it. $58
Delamotte Brut Rose NV. It is mostly Pinot Noir with some Chardonnay. It had aromas and flavors of raspberry and I think it would make a great aperitif or dessert wine. $85
Charles Heidsieck Brut Rose Reserve NV. Mostly Pinot Noir with some Chardonnay. This is a big wine but elegant at the same time with hints of strawberries and spice. $70
Bollinger Brut Rose NV. Made from 62% Pinot Noir (6% finished Pinot Noir wine),24% Chardonnay and 14% Pinot Meunier. 5-10% of the blend comes from reserve wines and it is aged from 5-15 years in magnums under natural cork. Hints of strawberries and raspberries. $80
For the vintage champagne Ed said that 2001and 2005 were not very good years. Look for 2002, 2004 and 2006.
Deutz Brut Rose 2006. Made from 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay. This is a well balanced wine with aromas of cherries, red currents and pomegranates, and hints of strawberries in the aftertaste and finish. Ed thinks that this is one of the most underrated Champagne Houses and he really likes their wines $76.
Louis Roederer Brut Rose 2002. 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay. 20% of the wine is vinified in oak barrels with weekly batonnage and there is no malolatic fermentation. They use the saignee method for their Rose. Ed said they now make the wine in a more fruity style than they did in the past. This was a full bodied wine, and elegant with delicate red fruit aromas and flavors. 2002 was an excellent vintage. It is a very good buy for $65.
Perrier-Jouet “Fleur de Champagne” Brut Rose 2002 To the basic blend of 50 percent Chardonnay (from Cramant), 45 percent Pinot Noir and 5 percent Pinot Meunier, about 14/15 percent Pinot Noir wine (from Bouzy) is added. The Cramant dominates the style. This is a complex wine. It is light and elegant and very subtle but as Ed pointed out it will be able to age for a long time. It was the most expensive wine at the tasting $275.00
Gosset “Celebris” Rose Brut 2003. Made from 68% Pinot Noir (25% is Grand Cru) with an additional 7% of still Pinot Noir added, and 25% Chardonnay. There were red berry flavors and aromas with a very pleasing finish and aftertaste. 2003 was a difficult vintage in champagne but Ed said they did a very good job with this wine. $199.00
Tattinger Comtes des Champagne Brut Rose 2004. It is 100% Grand Cru Pinot Noir. They use the more difficult skin contact method to obtain the exquisite salmon-pink color. This is everything Rose Champagne should be and more. This is a wine with wonderful red fruit aromas and flavors, full bodied, subtle and elegant with a great finish and aftertaste. It is a Rose that can age. $225.00 and worth it!
Paul Roger Brut Rose 2002. 60% Pinot Noir (15% of Pinot Noir added as a still wine from the same vintage for color) and 40% Chardonnay. This is a light elegant wine with good red fruit and a very nice finish and aftertaste. This is the champagne that Michele and I will ring in the New Year! $95
Charles Heidsieck Brut Rose 1999. Made from 75% Pinot Noir/Pinot Meunier in equal percentages and 25% Chardonnay, with the addition of red Pinot Noir wine for color. Ed described this wine as having rich red berry flavors, and good acidity with a lot of character and I think it was his favorite of the tasting. I also liked the wine and was surprised that it was still in excellent condition for a Rose almost 12 years old. $90
Ed said that because of the higher percentage of Pinot Noir/Pinot Meunier, Rose Champagnes have a slightly lower acidity than other Champagnes. This makes them age faster. With the exception of the prestige cuvee roses, Rose Champagnes should be drunk while they are still young and fresh and aromatic.
Happy New Year!
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