Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Rosé Champagne ... A brief biography!

Someone asked me yesterday in a brief phone call about Rosé Champagne. Before we go into the production level discussion, its first important to state that all grapes are white on the inside, its the red skin that gives red wine it color. The skins in white wines or champagnes are removed so a Blancs de Noir is basically the white of the Pinot Noir grapes. Producers looking to make Rosé, include the skins of the grapes in the tanks or barrells for around 3-5 days, and then bleed the systems to flush out larger particles of skin or tannins, leaving a small amount of skin causing the wine to appear pinkish. Rosé Wines are produced with Rhone grapes like Syrah, Grenache and Carignan and develop well in hotter regions such as Provence, the Languedoc and Australia. In France, Rosé has now exceeded white wines in sales. In the United States many farmers who did well with the 2005 crop decided to increase the production of Rosé wines and champagnes instead of dumping crop. While historically its not my favorite, I recently attended a wine tasting by the Moet Hennessy. These guys produce the best champagnes in my opinion (my b-day is coming up...hint) and their portfolio includes the top three sellers: Veuve Clicquot ($50), Dom Perignon ($110) and Moet ($45). FYI, the best value in Rosé Champagne is produced by Moet. Its supple, perfectly dry with a hint of residual fruit sugars. Another fantastic champagne is the Moet Nectar Imperial.

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