New Sparkling Rosés from North America, Europe and South Africa

Sparkling rosé is made all over the world.  In this article, we review new releases from North America [California, New York, Oregon, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia] and Europe [Austria, France] and South Africa. Sparkling rosés come from numerous grapes—almost all vitis vinifera—and are made using various techniques that contribute effervescence to the wine.  Those interested in learning more about the world of sparkling rosé, including rosé Champagne, are encouraged to read our in-depth reports Rosé Champagne and Sparkling Wine and The World of Rosé.

Our focus here is mainly on American sparkling rosé. Like wines generally, most American sparkling rosé is made on the West Coast, but very fine sparkling rosés are also made on the East Coast, as we’ve discovered in our recent series of reports on this wine region covering the Finger Lakes, Maryland, and New Jersey with reports on Pennsylvania and Virginia forthcoming soon.

Most high quality sparkling rosé is made using the traditional Champagne varieties, especially Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Pinot Noir contributes the high toned red fruit one associates with rosé Champagne.  And most are also made using the méthode champenoise, although the time the wines spend en tirage is typically a year or less, so they lack the complexity of many rosé Champagnes or luxury sparkling rosé cuvées from American producers. Less expensive sparklers are often made using the charmat process, and some are simply carbonated rosé wine.  These wines are often tremendous values, but they lack the refinement of méthode champenoise sparklers.

American sparkling rosés and European sparkling rosés made outside Champagne are usually fruit forward, in part reflecting the warmer climates in which the grapes are grown. In addition, almost every region makes luxury cuvées that spend extended time aging on the lees in bottle and offer a more refined and nuanced drinking experience.  Most the sparkling rosés reviewed here are made to be as crisp, refreshing and versatile as possible.

This is one of a series of articles on the rosé wines in the 2019 marketplace.  Other recent articles on rosé include :

The Wines

 1723 Vineyards 2018 Rosé Sparkling Wine Chester County PA ($32) 90  A cremant style rosé showing light red berry and citrus scents followed by a dry attack of cranberry and pomegranate with a touch of blood orange citrus, finishing firmly with very good length. This is an uncomplicated, fruity, 100% Cabernet Franc from the McMaster Vineyard, the estate vineyard of 1723 Vineyards. Whole cluster pressed and made using the methode champenois in an extra dry style. The winemaker is Gabriel Pedro Rubilar.

Atwater NV Bubble Pinot Noir Rosé Seneca Lake, Finger Lakes ($16) 89 This effervescent rosé offers aromas of sweet fruit and appealing flavors of red berries with notes of orange zest and stone fruit. It has a round mouthfeel and a lingering, just off dry finish. Machine harvested 95% Pinot Noir and 5% Blaufränkisch given 4 hours skin contact before pressing and fermentation and subsequently carbonated to 3.57 atmospheres.  A wine for fun, festive occasions.

Balleto Vineyards 2013 Brut Rose Methode Traditionelle Russian River Valley ($45) 92 This is a lovely pale pink sparkler, blended with 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay. Spending four years en triage, it offers leesy, cherry skin aromas and a creamy textured palate of light toast with hints of cherries. A lively, fresh sparkler that’s a pleasure to drink. Balleto makes the base wine, and Rack and Riddle finishes it.

Stephane Briday NV Cremant de Bourgogne Rosé ($27) 90 Medium salmon color. This is a delicious, expressive sparkling rosé with just a hint of sweetness on the lingering finish. The nose is dry and chalky with dried cherry scents, which are mirrored on the palate with an additional pomegranate note. While very dry on the palate, it has a nice creamy texture and lively flavors. Well done! 16+ months aging in bottle on the lees. Importer: Vineyard Brands, Inc.

Bründlmayer NV Brut Rosé Niederösterreich Austria  91 A very flavorful and balanced sparkling rosé made of 1/3 each Pinot Noir, Zweigelt, and St Laurent fermented in stainless steel and aged 15 months on the lees in bottle. Medium copper salmon in color, the wine reveals leesy notes on the nose and notes of blood orange and raspberry flavors. There’s very good sugar-acid tension. Disgorged December 2017. Just 11.5% alc.

Bryn Mawr Vineyard 2018 Pétillant Willamette Valley ($25) 89 This is a carbonated still wine that’s Prosecco like in its fun, easy drinking character. Red cherry skin aromas are followed by a dry attack, a flavorful fresh red cherry palate, and a very dry chalky finish. 59% Pinot Noir, 37% Pinot Gris, 4% Maréchal Foch whole cluster pressed and fermented in neutral French oak. RS 6.3 g/L  Alc 11.7% Bryn Mawr Vineyard 2018 Pétillant Naturel Willamette Valley ($28) 91 Pale pink. Light, leesy and dried cherry nose scents are mirrored on the palate with the addition of raspberry notes. Crisp and fresh with a lively mousse, appealing flavors, and a lingering finish. 84% Pinot Gris, 10% Maréchal Foch, 6% Pinot Noir whole cluster pressed and fermented in neutral French oak barrels followed by 6 months on the lees. RS 4.7 g/L  Alc 11.3%

Graham Beck NV Brut Rosé Western Cape 90  An easy drinking sparkling rosé showing red berries on the nose. Fruit forward on the palate with red berry and cherry notes. Bright acidity makes this wine seem drier than would be expected with 8.9 g/L RS. A very nicely balanced blend of 53% Pinot Noir and 47% Chardonnay. Graham Beck 2013 Brut Rosé Vintage Western Cape 91  Pink-tinged,onion skin color. Very clean bouquet of minerals and cherry skin. Complex and broad on a full, creamy palate with Pinot dominated flavors and a touch of leesiness.  Excellent persistence with lingering red fruit notes. A jointly pressed blend of 96% Pinot Noir from coastal vineyards near False Bay and 4% Chardonnay from the Robertson estate with 5 years on the lees and 10. g/L RS.

Kramer Vineyards 2018 Celebrate! Rosé of Pinot Noir Yamhill-Carlton ($28) 89 Reddish pink. Showing effusive aromas that evoke pomegranate and cranberry, this is a fun, fruity carbonated sparkler with no pretensions. The palate mirrors the nose with bright, fresh raspberry and red cherry notes. There’s good acidity and balance and lingering fruit notes on the finish. A great party wine! Sourced from own-rooted Gamay Beaujolais clone of Pinot Noir vines planted in the mid-1980s. Alc 12.2% RS 3.6 g/L  Kramer Vineyards 2016 Brut Rosé Yamhill-Carlton ($42) 90  Medium copper orange. The Brut Rosé shows notes of cointreau and cherry skin on the nose. Notably creamy in the mouth, it evokes sweet ripe red berries and a lingering hint of orange zest. Finishes dry with lingering hints of ripe fruit. While fun and flavorful, it’s more expensive than most cremant de bourgogne. A blend of 72% Pinot Noir, 28% Pinot Meunier spends about 12 months en tirage; alc 12.5%

La Vieille Ferme NV Réserve Sparkling Rosé Vin de France ($17) 88 Pale copper salmon. This very dry, fruit forward sparkling rosé offers an abundant mousse with hints of red berry aromas and flavors. It’s distinctly drier and chalkier in character than most inexpensive rosé sparklers and is an excellent choice for those who like their rosés on the dry side. While there’s not a lot of depth to this wine, it’s great value and unique in its price range.  Importer: Vineyard Brands, Inc.

Malat 2013 Brut Rosé Kremstal g.U.  ($52) 91 The Brut Rosé has lively precise aromas of red berry fruit that are mirrored on a dry, focused palate with lingering mineral and berry notes on the finish. It’s a nicely delineated sparkling wine that provides serious drinking pleasure. Sourced from the village of Furth-Palt, located on the southern border of the Danube. Made of 100% Pinot Noir, 25-40 years of age, with no dosage, 36 months on the lees, 1.5 g/L RS, and 12% alc  US Importer: Circo Vino, The Source

Pinnacle Ridge 2016 Brut Rosé Lehigh Valley PA ($18) 89 Outstanding value in a Pinot Noir based sparkler! Aromas of raspberry and rose petal are picked up again on a nicely balanced palate. 9 g/L RS Made with the advice of Walker Schneider, a German consultant.

Ponzi Vineyards 2014 Sparkling Brut Rosé Willamette Valley ($50) 91 Pale pink. A lovely rich and flavorful sparkling rosé made following the methode champenoise. It has a creamy mousse and a rich and elegant mouth feel with cherry and dried cherry aromas and flavors. The creamy finish lingers and lingers. We really like this wine, which compares favorably with many rosé Champagnes. A blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the high elevation Merten Vineyards and the original Estate Vineyard. Pressed and fermented in stainless steel with no malo. Disgorged March 2016. Ponzi’s first sparkling wine was produced in 1996.

Roederer Estate NV Brut Rosé Anderson Valley ($29) 91 Showing lively scents of red berries, the NV Brut Rosé is our go to sparkling rosé for casual get togethers. Consistent in style year after year, it offers light red fruit flavors of berry and cherry on a silky palate complemented by hints of toast. It finishes dry and crisp. Oak aged reserve wines make up 10-15% of the wine. A blend of 55% Pinot Noir and 45% Chardonnay including about 4.5% red Pinot Noir.

Scharffenberger NV Brut Rosé Excellence Mendocino County ($25) 90 Pale pink salmon. Approximately 60/40 blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay including a portion of still red Pinot Noir. Scharffenberger has reduced the malo on the base wine for the Brut Rosé. Perhaps that explains why it seems more focused and brighter than what we’ve tasted in the past. We like the change. The wine shows expressive California fruit on a well delineated palate with refreshing acidity.

Schlumberger 2015 Pinot Noir Reserve Niederösterreich  Austria 90 Pale eye of the partridge. This is a fresh tasting sparkler that spends at least 30 months on the lees. It’s fresh and creamy with hints of red berries, bright acidity, and with a clean finish.

Sparkling Pointe 2016 Topaz Impérial Long island ($41) 91 The Topaz Impérial is a step up in elegance from most American sparkling rosés. It offers delicate aromas and flavors of cherry skin and red raspberries with complicating light leesy and mineral notes. The mouthfeel is creamy, clean and refined with an attractive, persistent finish. Made using the methode champenoise with 18 months sur lie and dosage of 6 g/L. Alc 12.5%. Disgorged November 2018. Sparkling Pointe 2014 Blanc de Noirs Prestige Cuvée ($68) 92 Pale salmon color. Fragrant nose  showing biscuits and red cherry skin. Fresh and lively in the mouth with superb acid cut and lingering raspberry, cherry and a hint of tangerine. This is a sparkling wine with a refined texture, excellent balance and lingering finish. 50% Pinot Noir (667, 777, and Pommard Clone 4), 50% Pinot Meunier aged 3 years sur lie. 6 g/L dosage. Disgorged July 2018.

Tanzanite NV Melanie Brut Rosé Cap Classique Robertson ($36) 91 Pale pink. Ripe red berries accented by Cointreau show on the nose of this very dry and crisply textured sparkling rosé. It’s mineral and subtly fruit flavored palate is superbly fresh and alluring despite an astringent touch on the finish. It’s a great sparkler for food. A 60/40 blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from 10-15 year old vines in the Robertson area. US Importer: Kysela

Tipp Rambler NV Sparkling Rose California ($7) 89 This is an easy drinking Sparkling Rose made of 100% Pinot Noir sourced from Russian River Valley and Carneros. Packaged in an attractive 187 ML screw top bottle, and sold in four packs, it is made for sparkling wine lovers who want a good quality inexpensive wine for service size drinking. Crafted by veteran winemaker, James MacPhail, it displays a light ruby color and offers aromas of ripe cherry and raspeberry. On the palate it reveals a dried red fruit character, not unlike some Italian wines, and has good persistence.

Trump 2014 Sparkling Rosé Monticello VA ($50) 91 The Trump Sparkling Rosé is aromatically fresh and crisp, showing a light confiture of red raspberry. The palate is well-balanced and pure with delicate flavors of red berries and a lingering flavorful finish. A blend of 90% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Noir from estate vineyards in the foothills of Carter Mountain. Partially matured in oak barriques and aged sur lie in the bottle for an additional 3 years with 8 g/l RS. 8 g/L RS 12.5% alc Disgorged April 2018.

William Heritage 2015 Brut Rosé Outer Coastal Plain NJ ($40) 90+ A very dry and refined sparkling rosé with fresh red berries and toasty lees notes and a fine mousse. Richly flavored with a lingering rich impression of raspberries and scones, this is a sparkling wine that compares with the best of the New World. Kudos to winemaker Sean Cominos. A blend of 57% Chardonnay and 43% Pinot Noir.

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