We thought for the 3rd Episode of The Flute Enthusiast, we would talk about some Rosé champagnes and explain a little bit about how they are made. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it seemed like it would be perfect timing. I chose 3 smaller producers to demonstrate some of the variations in style that are found with the different ‘terroirs’.
1. André Clouet Rosé NV
I initially chose this one because I was looking for a Rosé from a small producer that I hadn’t already tasted. There is a new wine shop in Red Hill in Brisbane, called CRAFT, and it has a wonderful selection of boutique wines and champagnes. I noticed the Clouet label on their shelves and saw that it came from a town called Bouzy, which is close to Epernay. I had to try it! The first time I went to Epernay, as we were driving to our friend’s place, I saw a roundabout with road signs pointing to Bouzy, Dizy and Mousy. I couldn’t stop laughing about how appropriate the names of the villages were in Champagne. Unfortunately, my mirth didn’t translate well, and I had to enjoy the joke alone.
The André Clouet family estate was built in the 17th century by their ancestor, a printer to Louis XV’s royal court at Versailles. Their vineyards are right next to other vineyards owned by Bollinger, so one can only assume that the grape quality is superb.
Their Non-vintage rosé is 100% pinot noir, and it has been blended with a small quantity of red wine from the champagne region to achieve a delightful baby pink colour. Champagne is the only wine growing region in France which is allowed by law to blend wines this way.
The fine bubbles rose elegantly to the surface of our glass seemed to want to be tasted straight away! On the nose, and could discern wonderful fresh red berry notes, which made me think of summer when I sipped it. It was smooth and creamy and had a lovely clean finish.
This champagne would be perfect for Aperitif with friends.
2. Tendil et Lombardi Rosé de Saignée NV
We were very excited to have our first taste of the Tendil et Lombardi champagne. They are relative newcomers to the champagne making business and only launched their first cuvée in 2007. Last year everyone of their cuvées was awarded 90 points or more from Wine Spectator magazine. We were very privileged to have been sent a few bottles and were not dissappointed. These guys are Champagne Rockstars!
Rosé de Saignée (from the French word ‘bleeding) is a method of making rosé champagnes by leaving the skins in with the original cuvée for anywhere between 1 – 3 days. It is more labour intensive but produces a beautiful colour to the wine. The Tendil et Lombardi Rosé is made from 100% Pinot Noir and the skins are left in for only 16 – 18 hours. The result is a lovely deep pink colour.
The bubbles are beautifully fine, and the nose was quite an intense mix of red berries, as you would expect from Pinot Noir. The pleasure continued in the mouth, with a lovely fruity sweetness of cherries, raspberries and blueberries. The flavour lingered quite awhile on the palate, and was very satisfying. It was a very full bodied champagne and would pair well with a meal of pigeon and foie gras.
A definite keeper!
3. Paul Dethune Rosé – NV Grand Cru
I chose the Paul Dethune Rosé, imported into Australia by The Truffle Man because it is a Grand Cru. Grand cru grapes are the very best and therefore the champagnes made from them are much sort after. Paul Dethune is situated in Ambonnay – famous for the soil which gives a distinctive quality to it’s pinot noir.
Their Rosé NV is 80% pinot noir, and 20% chardonnay. The lovely salmon pink colour is a result of blending a small amount of red wine to the initial cuvée. The bubbles are extremely delicate, and there is an exquisite cherry flavour on the nose, which is followed through in the mouth with red currants, raspberries and strawberries.
There is also a freshness in the taste, which can be attributed to the small percentage of chardonnay in the blend.
This champagne would be fantastic as an aperitif, or would hold up well with a meal of game. (Which could explain the air rifles going off all around us!)
Listen to the full episode by ‘Clinking’ on the link below.