This past Friday (October, 23rd) was International Champagne Day (I am generally a bit “against” the numerous wine days throughout the year, but I make an exception, of course, for champagne). Since we have been drinking quite a bit of rosé champagne as of late, I decided to amass a few of the more widely available pink champagnes and taste them blind (I added in one of our favorite domestic sparklers, Mumm Napa to see how it would hold up). Here are the results:
NV Gosset Champagne Petite Douceur Rosé, France: Retail $85. 60% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir (including 7% red wine). 17 grams/liter of sugar. This is a new addition to the Gosset line and confusingly, this wine is considered “Extra Dry” which is sweeter than Brut, which means “dry.” Yeah. Confusing. Regardless, Gosset is perhaps my favorite house in Champagne and this oozes the house-style. More orange than pink with heavy caramel on the nose with some faint fruit (pear) eventually coming out. The palate is quite vibrant with wonderful acidity, plenty of fruit and a creaminess on the midpalate and a solid yeastiness on the finish. Fantastic. This appears to have some age on it, the extra sugar is subtle, and this is simply fantastic. Outstanding. 94 Points.
NV Billecart-Salmon Champagne Brut Rosé, France: Retail $75. 40% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier. As I have said before, this is one of the two (or three) standard-bearers when it comes to big-house rosé champagnes. I tasted this blind and it turns out that it was a bad glass–it threw off fairly big bubbles and a rather off-putting nose. Glass matters. Once I switched to a different stem? Different ball game. Quite fruity on the nose with cherry and strawberry. Pale pink with a slight orange tint. Tart and fruity on the palate, even really tart. While this was not the “best” wine in the flight, it was wonderful. Excellent. 91 Points.
NV G. H. Mumm & Cie Champagne Grand Cordon Brut Rosé, France: Retail $60. 60% Pinot Noir, 22% Chardonnay, 18% Pinot Meunier, 14% red wine. A solid pink here, brilliant color in the glass. Gorgeous color. A bit flinty and yeasty on the nose, little fruit coming through. More of the same on the palate, this is screaming for food as it is fairly austere but still tasty. This is a solid wine, even excellent, but there are better wines at this price-point, perhaps. Excellent. 90 Points.
NV Mailly Champagne Grand Cru Brut Rosé, France: Retail $50. 90% Pinot Noir, 10% Chardonnay. Of the eight wines in the lineup, this was the one that I had tried more than any of the others. I figured I would pick it out with nary a pause. Well, a funny thing happened. I guessed wrong. Regardless, rich pink color, and plenty of fruit: cherry and peach. The palate is also fruity (but not as much as on the nose). Vibrant sparkle on the palate, really active. Fantastic. Excellent. 93 Points.
NV Mumm Napa Brut Rosé, Napa Valley, CA: Retail $24. 80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay. We have had a ton of this wine (it is pretty much our go-to when the in-laws come over) and while we can often find it at below $15, it punches well above its weight. I thought I would be able to pick this out fairly easily when I inserted it among seven other rosés from Champagne, but, honestly, I couldn’t. Good pink color with a bit of orange. A bit closed on the nose, but fruity on the palate and a tad sweet. Very Good. 89 Points.
NV Moët & Chandon Champagne Brut Imperial Rosé, France: Retail $60. 40-50% Pinot Noir, 30-40% Pinot Meunier, 10-20% Chardonnay. This rosé is much-maligned but it fared quite well, thank you very much. An orange-ish cotton candy color with watermelon and cherry aromas on the nose. The palate is a tad on the sweet side, but it works as it is balanced with a zingy acidity and a crushed rock aspect. I guessed that it was Veuve, which I consider a bit of a win since the two giants are owned by the same conglomerate (yeah, I can justify just about anything). Excellent. 91 Points.
NV Laurent-Perrier Champagne Cuvée Rosé Brut, France: Retail $85. 100% Pinot Noir. Perhaps the standard-bearer when it comes to rosé champagne, which boasts a rich pink-reddish color, almost a light red. A bit yeasty and flinty on the palate but surprisingly low on fruit on both the nose and palate. A lively sparkle and intense tartness and, again, heavy on minerality and yeast. I was surprised upon the reveal as I usually gravitate to those champagnes that are heavy on the Pinot Noir. It was fine, but I would have anticipated a better showing in this lineup. Still, Very Good. 89 Points.
NV Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne Brut Rosé, France: Retail $60. 44 to 48 % Pinot Noir, 25 to 29 % Chardonnay, 13 to 18 % Meunier. This was the last of a blind tasting of eight rosé champagnes on Champagne Day 2020. I have had quite a few bottles of this wine recently and I would have thought that I would have been able to identify it almost immediately. Nope. Brilliant pink, but lacking fruit on the nose. The palate is another story: fruity, rich, a bit of sweetness, but it works. A lovely wine. Excellent. 91 Points.