Holiday Toasts: Sparkling Rosés from Champagne and America

SPRK RoseChampagne and sparkling wines are festive by nature and perfect for holiday toasts. Lively and effervescent, they literally “sparkle”. Rosé Champagnes and sparkling wines are especially festive. They not only have bubbles; many have a touch more fruity sweetness and creamy texture than other sparklers. They are the perfect drink to celebrate the arrival of the New Year. With this in mind, we give our reviews of some rosé Champagnes we recently tasted. We also include our reviews of some of our favorite rosé sparkling wines from California and Oregon that we tasted for our report on North American Sparkling Wines as well as an interesting sparkling rosé from Chile made with the país (mission) grape that we feature in our upcoming report on Chile. Prices, when given, are approximate.

Everyone, it seems, loves sparkling wines, and many have given us memorably quotes. Upon tasting his sparkling wine, Dom Pérignon reputedly said “I am drinking the stars.”     Mark Twain said, “Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right.” And the sober economist John Maynard Keynes is quoted as saying, “My only regret in life is that I didn’t drink enough Champagne.” We recommend you take Keynes’ quote to heart and toast the New Year with one of the following sparkling rosés.

Champagne

Bruno Paillard NV Rosé Premiere Cuvee Extra Brut ($50) 93 The NV Extra Brut Rosé from Paillard is polished and fine with an elegant appearance of effervescent pale salmon and a harmonious, creamy palate of minerals and a hint of red cherry. The light dosage provides perfect balance. An outstanding aperitif, but it would also hold up well to fowl and white meat dishes.  Predominantly Pinot Noir and a small amount of Chardonnay, aged 3 years on the lees. Disgorged January 2016.

Domaine Dehours 2009 Rosé Oeil de Perdrix Brut Champagne ($70) 92 This lovely, very dry grower Champagne (made from estate grapes) offers the kind of delicate, elegant bubbles and toasty notes that one expects in a vintage Champagne. It shows orchard fruit scents and flavors that complement the leesy element. One warning: as the name Oeil de Perdrix suggests, this Champagne does not have the pinkish color one associates with rosé. The blend is mostly Meunier with touches of oaked Chardonnay and red Meunier blended in for color.

Lamiable NV Grand Cru Rosé Champagne ($50) 90 With scents of strawberry and cherry preserves, a full body, and creamy mouth feel, the Lamiable NV Rosé would pair especially well with pork dishes. It’s a delicious, balanced wine-like Champagne that is meant for food. A 60/40 blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with a dosage of 8 g/l.

Philippe Gonet NV Rosé Champagne ($35) 91 This a rich and stylish Champagne revealing a medium pink color and ripe berry fruit aromas and flavors. It’s full in the mouth and is a rosé of significant weight making it better suited for pairing with food (think smoked or fresh salmon) than drinking as an aperitif. A 90/10 blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with three years on the lees. Part of the Robert Kacher portfolio at Domaine Select.

North & South American

Argyle 2011 Brut Rosé Willamette Valley ($50) 92 Pale salmon pink. This is one of the best sparkling rosés made in America. It offers aromas of red berries, dried cherry and herbs and is bright and clean with pure flavors, superb balance, and a hint of caramel on the palate. Delicate and very appealing. Have with figs and cheese. A blend of 70% Pinot Noir, 25% Pinot Meunier, and 5% Chardonnay. The red wine component is barrel aged.

Breathless NV Brut Rosé North Coast ($32) 90  Medium pink. Lovely, soft, perfumed aromas of red berries and roses. There’s a spicy quality on the attack with a complex mélange of berries, citrus, and red cherry, finishing chalky dry. Good winemaking.

Domaine Carneros 2012 Brut Rosé Los Carneros ($37) 91 Gorgeous salmon pink color. Pure scents of red berries and orange zest with a spicy quality. Shows superb balance with bright, fresh fruit on a very lively, very dry, mineral-accented palate. Delicious.

Domaine Chandon NV Pinot Noir Rosé Reserve Sonoma County ($35) 91 Spectacularly bright light red color. Lively precise aromas of cherry, strawberry, and pomegranate. Very fresh on entry with a mineral-accented very dry palate of striking purity and depth. Wine-like in weight and texture, this rosé is delicious and original.

Flying Goat Cellars 2013 Goat Bubbles Rosé Solomon Hills Vineyard Santa Maria Valley ($42) 92 Light copper salmon. Showing scents of red berries and grapefruit, this is a beautifully made wine with crisp acidity and mineral notes complementing lovely tangerine zest and cherry skin flavors. Made from a Swiss Pinot Noir, clone 23, which ripens at low sugar levels with good acidity, sourced from Solomon Hills, the western most vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley.

Gloria Ferrer 2010 Brut Rosé Late Disgorged Carneros ($45) 90 Pink salmon color. Nice red berry and pomegranate on the nose with a soft, creamy attack. Leesy with just a touch of sweetness on the palate. A blend of 90% Pinot Noir, 10% Chardonnay aged sur-lie for over 3 years, RS 12.7 g/ L

Gruet 2010 Grande Rosé New Mexico ($33) 90 Made in a very popular style, this is a fruit forward, creamy and lush rosé. It shows red berry aromas, a soft, suave palate, and fresh red berry and cranberry notes. Finishes very long. This would be the perfect wine for wedding cake. A blend of 95% free run Chardonnay and 5% barrel aged Pinot Noir from estate vineyards. 8g/L RS; bottle aged 4 years. Very well done.

Illinois Sparkling Co. 2012 Heirloom Sparkling Rosé ($40) 90 Bright salmon orange color. Offering fine bubbles and aromas of ripe berries, this is a wine-like rosé that would be perfect for savory veal and pork dishes. The flavors show dried fruit, red berries, dried herbs and toast. The wine is balanced and finishes dry.  Marechal Foch grape. 10 g/L RS.

J Vineyards and Winery NV Brut Rosé Russian River Valley ($38) 90 Pale salmon pink. The Rosé reveals a fine perfume of mixed red berries that carry over to a bright, delicate and flavorful palate. The delicacy and fine flavors persist on the finish. A blend of 66% Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay and 1% Pinot Meunier. Alc 12.5%. Ten thousand cases are made of this wine.

Miguel Torres 2014 Estelado Brut Uva País Maule 89 Miguel Torres was the first winery to make a sparkling wine from the País grape, and its success has led others to follow suit. This easy drinking, pleasantly flavored and well made, pink blush wine offers fresh scents and flavors of light red berries and a creamy palate. Aged 12 months on the lees using the methode champenoise; RS 7 g/l.

Mumm Napa NV Brut Reserve Rosé Extended Tirage Napa Valley ($45) 92 Showing light caramel notes and red berries on the nose, this is beautifully balanced sparkling rosé with 5+ years on the lees. It’s an understated wine, round and pure on the palate with bright red cherry notes, and superbly blended. 66% Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay with 2% still Pinot Meunier. 10g/L RS.

Roederer Estate NV Brut Rosé Anderson Valley ($24) 91 With an incisive scent of red berries on the nose, this always reliably good sparkling rosé also shows an expressive, silky palate with hints of red cherry. Finishes dry and crisp. A 60/40 blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with 12 g/L RS and aged at least two years on the lees. Oak-aged reserve wines make up 10-20% of the blend.

Scharffenberger NV Brut Rosé Excellence Mendocino County ($23) 90 Pale pink salmon. A very approachable, easy to drink sparkling rosé that’s especially suave and round in the mouth. It reveals a confiture of red berries with a hint of sweet summer watermelon. A 57/43 blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay form estate and contracted vineyards aged two years on the lees with a RS of 10 g/L. The base wine goes through mostly full malo. About 5% Pinot Noir still wine is added to the blend.

Sokol Blosser NV Sparkling Rosé of Pinot Noir Willamette Valley ($60) 93 Pale eye of the partridge color. This wine is one of America’s very best sparkling rosés. It’s subtle, suave and elegant, light in color and very finely flavored with hints of red cherry, lees and toasted grain. It’s very dry yet has a creamy texture and is a delight to drink. A 100% Pinot Noir Brut Nature (no sugar added) from estate (65%) and Blossom Ridge (35%) vineyards, fermented and aged in neutral French oak with 16 months on the lees.

 

 

 

 

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