Rosé Champagne Report – Liz Palmer Wine Picker Magazine, Milan, Italy

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The Champagne production zone (AOC) is defined and delimited by a law since 1927, stretching over 34,286 hectares of vineyards. It lies 150 kilometres East / North-East of Paris, and is made-up of plots from 320 villages in five departments: Marne (66%), Aube (23%), Aisne (10%) – also shared by Haute-Marne and Seine-et-Marne. The vineyards are also divided by “crus”, a qualitative division of the appellation. Of the 320 villages, 17 are Grand Cru and 42 are Premier Cru.

Champagne terroir has two major distinguishing features: northerly latitude and a dual climate that is subject to oceanic and continental influences. The Champagne region is located near the northern limits of the wine world along the 49th parallel, with the coordinates of 49°5 and 49° North – this means cold climate and harsh weather conditions. The oceanic influence brings steady rainfall and the continental influence ensures ideal levels of summer sunlight, but often causes devastating winter frosts.
The average annual temperature in Reims and Epernay) is 11°C. This complex weather pattern distinguishes the Champagne viticultural zone from the other terroirs in the same group.

The subsoil in Champagne is predominantly limestone –including the outcrops, which consist of sedimentary rock (75% limestone), chalk, marl and limestone proper. This type of subsoil provides good drainage and also imparts that particular mineral flavour found in certain Champagne wines.

These regional differences lead to different styles of wines, different and aromas developing in the fruits.

On 4 July 2015, in Bonn, Germany the UNESCO World Heritage Committee delivered a decision to include the “Champagne hillsides, houses and cellars” on its World Heritage list.
“The property encompasses sites where the method of producing sparkling wines was developed on the principle of secondary fermentation in the bottle since the early 17th century to its early industrialization in the 19th century. The property is made up of three distinct ensembles: the historic vineyards of Hautvilliers, Aÿ and Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, Saint-Nicaise Hill in Reims, and the Avenue de Champagne and Fort Chabrol in Epernay. These three components – the supply basin formed by the historic hillsides, the production sites (with their underground cellars) and the sales and distribution centres (the Champagne Houses) – illustrate the entire champagne production process. The property bears clear testimony to the development of a very specialized artisan activity that has become an agro-industrial enterprise.”

R O S É C H A M P A G N E

Rosé Champagnes are distinct from brut and blanc de noirs in that they are noticeably and intentionally colored, with hues that span from light pink to copper salmon. There are two main methods of creating this style:

Blended or Rosé d’assemblage

This method is most common – it allows the producer to obtain colour and density identical year to year. It consists of blending still white wine (before its second fermentation) with 5 – 20% of red wine, vinified to be non tannic.

Macerated or Rosé de saignée

This process consists of allowing the grape must to remain in contact with the skins of black grapes (Pinot noir and Pinot Meunier) for a few hours. The natural pigments in the skins begin to colour the juice and at the same time enrich the juice with their aromatic components. Rosé de saignée champagnes are generally richer in taste and have a vinous character, which makes them particularly suitable to be served with food.

Rosé Champagne is produced in both vintage/millesimé and non-vintage versions. Although there is variation in the sweetness levels, the wines are most often dry (brut or sec) in style.
Rosé Champagne account for 3-5% of Champagne’s yearly production. Most of the Champagne houses have this style their portfolios, including: Krug, Laurent-Perrier, Billecart-Salmon, Dom Pérignon, Cristal Veuve-Clicquot. With Billecart-Salmon and Laurent-Perrier’s leading the pack in making Rosé champagne a speciality.
UK is Champagne’s largest export market – sales increased by 6.1% in 2014 reaching 32,675,232 bottles. While US is the second largest export market – sales grew slightly, up 7.3% to 19,152,709 bottles, with rose up 14.4% to 2,758,364 bottles.

US figures 2010-2014

Total Export Rosés % export
2010 134,364,880 11,437,497 8.51%
2011 141,328,649 12,699,146 8.99%
2012 137,349,432 13,004,384 9.47%
2013 137,639,340 13,371,939 9.72%
2014 144,870,262 13,731,634 9.48%

Rosé Top Ten Markets 2014

2014 Country

1 ETATS-UNIS
2 ROYAUME-UNI
3 ALLEMAGNE
4 JAPON
5 SUISSE
6 ITALIE
7 BELGIQUE
8 ESPAGNE
9 NIGÉRIA
10 RUSSIE

Some salient characteristics of our favourite Rosé Champagnes:

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Dom Pérignon Metamorphosis Rose 2003
Exquisite soft rose-colour with nose of cherry and soft citrus; creamy textured and precise with flavours that are complex and rich; focused and elegant with subtlety and depth; graceful and well balanced with a long echoing finish.
96 Points

Roederer Cristal Rosé 2002
Medium pink hue with lively effervescence; soft aromas of strawberry, cherry and blood orange with some notes of butter and dried flowers; crisp Chardonnay -underlay pinot fruit on the palate with a very silky, long finish.
93 Points

Krug Rosé – NV
Pale salmon colour (with some subtle hint of pink) and fine bubbles; aromas of rose hips, ham, mulberries, redcurrant, peony, pepper & pink grapefruit; mouthfilling but refilled and elegant layers of honey, citrus and dried fruit with long finish.
96 Points

Delamotte Brut Rosé NV
Very pale, delicate rose hue; fresh berry fruit and blood orange come through on the nose and palate, with some chalky mineral notes – medium finish.
92 Points

Pascal Doquet Brut Rosé Premier Cru NV
Pale salmon colour; aromas of red fruit, flowers, and minerals lead to a palate with hints of strawberry, toast, and minerals – fresh and ample mouthfeel.
92 Points

Perrier-Jouet Rose Belle Epoque 2004
Light salmon pink; with delicate aromas of floral, strawberry, raspberry, orange and pink grapefruit; fresh, refined attack with subtly crisp notes of pomegranate and pink grapefruit; full-bodied with a long, silky finish.
94 Points

Charles Heidsieck, Brut Rosé Réserve
Very pale pink, rich toasty aromas with creamy texture; finely honed acidity lending a mouthwatering impression to flavors of crème de cassis, toasted brioche, lemon curd and roasted almond; long, spicey finish.
93 Points

Liz Palmer

The Region of Champagne Takes the Lead on Climate Change

tiffany 053At a time when Paris is hosting the COP 21 talks that could pave the way for an agreement on combating climate change, the Champagne Region is contributing to the international effort through its pioneering commitment to sustainable and responsible wine-growing.

Global warming in the region is a fact: temperatures have increased by close to 1.2°C in 30 years and the blossoming and grape harvest dates have moved forward by a fortnight. “The Champagne Region very quickly grasped that climate change was a priority issue and we were duty-bound to plan ahead”, explains Vincent Perrin, the director general of the Comité Champagne.
The whole Champagne Region began to get involved in the 1980s, implementing solutions to protect the environment (technical specifications, decision-making tools, advice and support).

In 2003, Champagne was the world’s first wine-growing region to calculate its carbon footprint and implement a carbon plan which enabled several focus areas to be selected (sustainable wine-growing, transport and freight, building energy efficiency, responsible procurement and fostering active involvement) and led to truly innovative solutions being developed, such as reducing the weight of Champagne bottles by 7%.

In a decade, the region has managed to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 15% per bottle shipped, making it one of the few industries to have reduced its emissions in absolute terms.
All of the region’s professionnals are now involved in the initiative.

Moreover, UNESCO’s decision to include the Champagne Slopes, Houses and Cellars on its World Heritage List is a source of encouragement for the efforts made and demonstrates the industry’s ability to preserve its heritage.

“The Champagne houses and growers are more united than ever before around a sustainable wine-growing strategy. Promoting our wines means constantly innovating so that we can pass on our economic and environmental heritage to future generations”, conclude Pascal Férat and Jean-Marie Barillère.

Source: CIVC, France

Arouse All Your Senses — Champagne Tasting Tips For the Holidays

UnknownDon’t let the word ‘taste’ fool you. Tasting Champagne should be an assault on all the senses, not just your mouth. Take for instance, the POP of the cork as you open the bottle. Then there is the cool touch of the glass to your fingertips as you pour your glass half-full (the perfect amount for you to be able to swirl the wine around and release more aromas and flavors). As you pour, note the Champagne’s bubbly effervescence, and take a closer look at its color. To help the shade really pop, try placing a piece of white paper behind it. Is it pale gold, or is there a touch of green or gray mixed in? Is it more of a coral or a salmon pink? Generally speaking, the older the wine becomes, the more golden it will be. Is it bright and shiny, or is it dull? Dull wine is often faulty, so look for champagne that lives up to the promise of sparkling. And don’t forget about texture. Watch the bubbles—are they light or plentiful, lively or slow? Imagine how they will dance on your tongue, slide down your throat.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Once the initial effervescence subsides, before you bring the flute to your mouth, put it to your nose. Since you’ve allowed the champagne time to open up, the wine will be ready to reveal its mysteries. Inhale the glass slowly, at length, and then inhale again. Depending on the variety of the wine, you can be in for any number of scented delights:

·      Floral  ~ rose, lime blossom, orange blossom, violet
·      Fruity ~ grapefruit, apple, pear, quince, peach, apricot,
nectarine, mango, banana, lychee, coconut, cherry, currant
·      Veggie ~ almond, grass, fern, truffle
·      Dried fruit ~ hazelnut, raisin, fig
·      Other ~ butter, brioche, toast, honey, candied fruit,
vanilla, spices

To enjoy this sensation to its fullest, avoid any perfumes or room fragrances as these will interfere with the aromas.

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Now that you have fully teased all of your other senses, it’s time to bring the flute to your mouth. Sip slowly. As the wine seeps over your lips, allow it to luxuriate on your tongue. Roll it around your mouth, savoring each sensation. Does a dominant taste emerge? Is it comforting or powerful, smooth or solid, light or opulent? Is the texture creamy or complex? What is the weight of it on your tongue?

When it becomes time to swallow, pay close attention to the imprint of the wine on your palate. This aftertaste, or finish, will tell you much about the wine’s quality; much like the men in our lives, the longer it lasts, the better the sensation.

Liz Palmer
Author of The Ultimate Guide To Champagne
www.liz-palmer.com
@Champagnehouses


DUVAL-LEROY becomes the first “100% Vegan” Champagne House

champagne-spaThe Duval-Leroy family has just announced that their entire range is now 100% vegan friendly.

The Vertus-based producer reportedly made the move as part of a wider environmental plan it has been working towards for many years. Widely recognized today for its strong commitment to working in total harmony with nature, the Duval-Leroy has now passed a major new milestone in its history which dates back to 1859.



Charles Duval-Leroy explains: “To become 100% Vegan, we needed 20 years’ experience. A colossal project was mounted to arrive at a method of natural clarification, mainly through the lengthening of time spent in vat or in barrel. In this way the wines retain all their taste, giving champagnes which are both rich and concentrated. It’s the perfect culmination and complement to all the work that precedes it in the vineyard, in harmony with nature. With an effervescence that is even more refined, more delicate… more dynamic!”


Laboring the soils and the vines with the greatest respect for the environment, Duval-Leroy has invested in this 100% vegan approach in order to preserve and highlight the quality of the freshly picked grapes. 

Since its production is entirely in-house, Duval-Leroy can guarantee a perfect level of traceability for its “100% Vegan” wines. A natural final filtering allows the wines to retain all their proteins and polysaccharides, thus adding richness to the wines and creating an effervescence of even greater finesse.

The Duval-Leroy family are convinced that this more natural approach is a guarantee of increased quality for the years to come.

Champagne Duval-Leroy
www.Champagne Duval-Leroy
69, avenue de Bammental
CS 20037 – 51130 VERTUS – France

CHAMPAGNE PROVES TO BE A GOOD INVESTMENT

imagesChampagne put in a strong performance on Liv-ex for 2015; it has accounted for 6.1% of trade on Liv-ex so far this year, up from 2.8% in 2014. The activity on the wine exchange has been driven by a flurry of new releases, including Dom Pérignon 2006, Pol Roger 2004 and Cristal 2007.

Antonio Galloni scored Cristal 2007 97+ points in July, describing it as “without question one of the very finest releases of the year”.

With its high score, at £1,040 a case, Cristal 2007 is currently cheaper than all other vintages on the market, so may prove an attractive investment for Champagne lovers given that it’s value is likely to rise in time.

Produced in large quantities, Champagne prices plateau when the wine enters the market but rise again after several years as the fizz becomes scarce.

Dom Pérignon’s chef de cave, Richard Geoffroy, defended multiple vintage Champagne releases at the launch of Dom Pérignon 2006 in London last month. “There is more latitude in playing the vintage game than ever. Some people might think we’re playing it safe via the status of the brand but every vintage has its story. In an ideal world I’d make a vintage wine every year. “There’s a debate in Champagne about reserving vintage releases for the best years but there shouldn’t be any artificial limitations put on it,” he said. “The first half of the last decade was fantastic – we should witness how remarkable those vintages were. When the quality is that spectacular you have to put the wines forward for release,” he added.

Geoffroy believes it is now normal to release seven to eight vintages per decade.