A new aura of glamour now surrounds rosé champagnes, as growers create more secretive style while outstanding brands’ older bottlings reach an intricate and exquisite maturity that are just perfect for this season writes ADEDOYIN AMOLE.
Guests were streaming in for what could be called the exclusive party of the year. Everyone knew each other. Very soon, it would be time to get on the boat. Before long, everyone was in and the captain announced the boat was about to start sailing. Some servings from the bottles of champagne on the table got everyone in the mood for a deserving champagne party.
In Nigeria, it seems everyone loves rosé champagne. From Dom Pérignon, Charles Heidsieck, Cristal, to Moet Chandon, the rose champagne tops the list for avid consumers. The rosé champagne is frivolous and sweet, only fit for spraying around on yachts.
But the bias runs much deeper than that. Historically, rosé champagne was more commonly known as ‘stained’ an unwanted wine not fit for the king. In the court of the King of France Louis XIV, who lived from 1638 to 1715, most Champagne vineyard were planted with black grapes. When bubbly was made the normal way, the grapes got shaken up on the way to the press, resulting in rosé rather than the white champagne the court wanted. Basically, it was a sign of poor workmanship not fit for a king.
In Europe, the contempt for rosé succeeded until about 15 years ago. Until now, the best wines didn’t go into most wine house as rosés. Most times, they were extras. Today, more wine houses are growing duplicates of Pinot Noir to make rosé champagne.
It would be impossible to talk about rosé’s reintegration without recognising the work of market leaders Laurent-Perrier and Billecart-Salmon, two houses that have done much in recent years to give this sparkling a new air of glamour. However, Moet & Chandon happens to be leading the pack in Nigeria.
Pascal Pecriaux, a former Moet & Chandon ambassador, world’s most popular wine ambassador who has an impressive record of 100 trips to 60 countries in 10 years, and some 15,000-people trained, said Moët Impérial is the flagship variant of Moët & Chandon, which reflects the diversity of the three champagne grapes and the richness of the region’s best vineyards and reveals the magic of the world’s most loved champagne. It is known for its exotic fruitiness, a generous palate and a confident maturity that continually seduces and delights.
It is a combination of crus in Champagne, with a predominance of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier plus Chardonnay for freshness. The colour is an elegant golden straw yellow with amber highlights. “Its aroma reveal an exotic fruitiness of yellow peach, plum, pineapple and honey with floral nuances like lime blossom and elegant brioche, and fresh nuts. The palate is seductive and generous, combining intensity with roundness, fullness with suppleness, followed by a lively crisp finish to reveal the magical balance of champagne. Moët Impérial can be served as an overture to dinner and all the way through to dessert. It is perfect with snails, shellfish and stewed fish, barbeque, goat meat or fish pepper soup and fresh fruit salads.
On the other hand, the Rosé Impérial, another variant, the beloved one, is the most extrovert and seductive expression of the Moët & Chandon style. Lively and generous, Rosé Impérial distinguishes itself by a radiant colour, an intense fruitiness and flamboyance on the palate, that instantly seduces and delights. Rosé Impérial is built on the intensity of Pinot Noir, the fruitiness of Pinot Meunier, and the finesse of Chardonnay. The colour is a glowing pink with dominant red tones and purple highlights.
The aromas are intense and irresistible, a lively bouquet of fresh red summer berries such as strawberry, raspberry and red currant with floral nuances like rose, hawthorn and a light peppery touch. The palate is flamboyant and combines intensity and roundness: fleshy and juicy at first, then firm, with a subtle herbal mint finish.
To push the rose further, the grower champagnes are also taking a more serious approach. Corney & Barrow’s fine wine buyer, Guy Seddon said in a report that many of the new rosés are around half as sweet as the market leader. “There is definitely a move towards a more Burgundian/vinous style that’s drier and more terroir-based,” he explained making reference to the Anthologie rosé from newcomer Champagne JM Labruyère, owned by the same family as Burgundy’s Domaine Jacques Prieur.
These fresher rosés have deep colour and a tannic fruitiness closer to a light red wine as their trademarks. Often, they bear the legend ‘rosé de saignée’ meaning Macerated Pink champagne to show that they are made by macerating the grape with the black grape skins, rather than by blending red and white wine like most rosé champagnes.
One of the most popular rosé de saignée is Olivier Horiot Sève rosé, a highbrow wine. A saignée the colour of Kir Royale, with a mouth-watering sweet-and- savoury character akin to pickled Japanese plum.
For Valentine’s Day, you may want to try the rosé by Ambonnay’s Egly-Ouriet, a grand cru non-vintage that has a very light acidity, very little oak, which makes it so, so delicate and it tastes better when paired with oysters and fish. Another fine rosé to share with your loved ones this season is the house cuvée, a joyously sherbetty brut created exceptionally for house cuvée by Sillery growers Collin-Guillaume.
5 Quick Steps To Wine Tasting
- In wine tasting, you are not supposed to be right or wrong.
- The first question to ask is: do you like it or not?
- While tasting wine, taste for the bright fruitiness to tell the kind of fruit it is made of, for example grape, blackcurrant, etc.
- The other thing to taste for is the seductive palate – for the sharp, precise, refreshing taste when the champagne spreads all over the mouth.
- Wine tasting is a taste of elegant maturity. It is very thin, smooth with fruity aroma that is slightly acidic.
How To Serve Champagne
- Wine tasting is a quite different from serving; yet they kind of complement each other.
- Respect for the wine by making space for it in the glass, and consumer is core while serving.
- Champagne should be served chilled. Cooling it down in the fridge will take more than 16 hours because it is contained in a thick glass. Hence, it is better to cool it in an ice bucket which takes one and a half hours to cool.
- To serve champagne, take a napkin, place the bottle on it with the head titled backwards towards you to show the guest the name.
- Mention the name of the product and then the vintage. Before you do any service, study the label, tear the black tab with care.
- Remove the top of the foil, twist the iron and place your fore finger on the cork to open.
- Pour a little in the glass so that the guest can taste it first;
- While serving, serve the host first and then serve from the right with the lady first.
- Put your thumb in the hole at the bottom to serve.