Although my favourite rosés are often Champagnes, my favourite Champagnes aren’t often rosés. If you followed this then you will realise that it takes a very good pink fizz to get my recommendation – and here are TWO stunners I tasted chez Tindals earlier this year:
Champagne Gremillet Brut Rosé NV (12.0%, RRP €50.00 at Searsons)
Champagne Gremillet is situated in the Côte des Bar, the most southerly of Champagne’s subregions which lends itself to Pinot Noir dominated wines. It was founded by Jean-Michel Gremillet in 1979, now joined by his children Anne and Jean-Christophe. They have 33 hectares of their own vines, split 85% Pinot Noir and 15% Chardonnay, and purchase grapes from around 80 other growers each harvest.
This rosé is from their “entry level” range, if there is such a thing in Champagne. As you’d expect it is Pinot dominant, with the blend being 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay. The colour comes from the addition of 10% red wine, and 20% of the total is from reserve wines of several prior vintages. The blend spends at least 22 months on the lees and dosage is fairly standard at 9g/L. This is a lovely, soft rosé that is neither too acidic nor too sweet, but shows bright red and black fruit in a very approachable Champagne. For the quality in the bottle this is a real bargain.
Champagne Henriot Brut Rosé NV (12.0%, RRP €80.00 at Searsons)
Champagne Henriot are more than a Champagne house – they also own Bouchard Père et Fils (Côte de Beaune), William Fèvre (Chablis) and Villa Ponciago (Beaujolais). Based in Reims, Henriot are known for their Chardonnay-dominant wines (their Blanc de Blancs is fantastic) mainly sourced from chalk soils.
The Brut Rosé is a blend of Montagne de Reims Pinot Noir (50%) and Meunier (10%) with the balance (40%) Chardonnay; around 12% of red wine is included. 70% of the grapes are from Grand or Premier Cru villages, and reserve wines make up 35% of the blend. Maturation on the lees is for three years with dosage at 9g/L or less.
The nose shows abundant lifted aromas of citrus and red fruits. On the palate it is very gentle, perhaps not as immediate as the Gremillet, but instead elegance personified. Juicy grapefruit and lemon are joined by fresh raspberries and strawberries – very delicious indeed!
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