Our Score: 93
Unless I have oysters or caviar in front of me, I confess I prefer dry Rosé Champagne over white. This typical blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay (65/35%) starts on the nose with ripe and candied red raspberries and a delicate touch of tropical fruits, followed by fresh carnations. On the palate it is elegant, the yeast is present but not invasive. The bubbles are very fine and persistent, never aggressive.
Its harmonious personality and character never become overwhelming. The style is classical, though, so expect some freshness (in other words, acidity). It is a pure-Brut, with only 8 grams of sugar per liter.
Grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunière
Pairing: It’s a Champagne to be enjoyed by itself or, even better, with raw fish as an appetizer or as the whole dinner. I would like it especially with salmon roe, sea urchin on the spoon, and scallops.
Appellation: Champagne AOC, France
Champagne AOC (Appellation d’Origine Controlée) is an appellation of sparkling wines rigidly defined by three elements:
1. The grapes need to be grown and vinified in the specific geographical area East of Paris, between Reims, Epernay and la Vallée de la Marne.
2. Grapes can only be Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier;
3. The fermentation method is in 2 phases: the wine is first fermented in large tanks then filtered before undergoing a second fermentation in the bottle for as many years as the winemaker decides. The best champagne stays on the yeast in the bottle for as much as 7-10 years before being put on the market.
More than 300 million bottles of Champagne are produced every year in an area of 34,000 hectares (roughly 85,000 acres).
Interesting anecdote: Wines that use the same vinification method (a second fermentation in the bottle) BUT are grown and vinified in French regions other than Champagne (or elsewhere in the world beyond France), cannot be named Champagne. In France they are called Crèmant de… followed by the region of origin; in Italy they are called Metodo Classico (Franciacorta DOCG, Trento DOC); in Spain they are called Cava, from the region of origin.