James Bond strode briskly into the Le Louis XV Restaurant of Monte Carlo’s Hotel de Paris. Once his eye caught sight of chef Alain Ducasse, Bond called for his attention.
“Yes, Monsieur Bond,” he flashed a quick nod. “How may I be of service?”
“Alain, am I correct when I say that a friend of mine, Monsieur Gregory Alonzo is a guest of the hotel, and will be dining in this evening?” Bond queried.
“That is correct, Monsieur,” he paused to collect his thoughts. “Monsieur Alonzo is expecting a young lady at 8 PM.”
“What did he order as a main course?” Bond was quick to inquire.
“The quail, sir.”
“But of course,” Bond smiled as he paused to collect his thoughts. “Alain, please send my friend, along with my compliments, a bottle of 2004 Grande Annee Rosé.”
“Bill it to your suite?”
Bond flashed an even grin as he tipped his favorite chef a100 Euro note. “But of course.”
If you don’t have a friend like 007, and you are not comfortable with the $200 bottle price of the 2004 Grande Annee Rosé, or have my imagination; today we will cover four exceptional Rose Champagnes and all with a bottle price under $50.
One of the beauties of RoséChampagne is its versatility. Due to its depth of flavor, along with plenty of acidity, RoséChampagne has a definite affinity for food. This style of wine can also be served as an aperitif, or paired with most fruit, cheeses, and all desserts. RoséChampagne brings to the table its own special allure. Romance quickly comes to mind upon first sight of a bottle of this pinkish-red wine, but of that, you are already aware.
RoséChampagnes are produced in one of two methods. The traditional method calls for the addition of a small amount of Pinot Noir to be added to the cuvee prior to the second fermentation. The skin contact method (maceration), is a viable alternative. This method involves the pressing of grape skins as they soak in their juices prior to fermentation.
Up first, NV Jean Vesselle Rosédes Saignee Brut. In the glass, this Champagne is much darker than most Roséwines. The dark coloring also adds an air of mystery as the wine’s stream of beads beckon you to have a taste. On the nose, there are aromas of lush red berries, filling the bouquet with cranberry and strawberry. The palate is most pleasant. There are noticeable flavors of raspberry and strawberry, followed by ever so subtle hints of mushroom, and a tad of earthiness. Over all the wine is well balanced and elegant, yet not losing any of its intensity. The finish is very long and memorable. Since RoséChampagnes tend to be more full-bodied as they are predominantly Pinot Noir, and this makes this style of wine more food friendly. The alcohol content is 12% with a bottle price of $25.
Up next, Paul Louis Martin Bouzy Rouge. This fine RoséChampagne is 100% Pinot Noir. In the glass, the wine is a brilliant red striated by copper colored hues. Though dark in color, the Bouzy Rouge is in fact lighter than a typical red wine. The nose is filled with an array of dense fruit that is accented by violets, and a wisp of earthiness. The palate is well structured with good tannins. The wine is fresh with flavors of blackberry evident. To add to the allure of this elegant wine, there are notes of licorice and spice. The finish is long, clean, and seductive. The alcohol content is 12% with a bottle price of $26.
For our next wine, we are going to swing the pendulum. Alain Bailly Brut Roséis a very different style Roséfrom the first two reviewed. This Champagne is a blend of 80% Pinot Meunier and only 20% Pinot Noir. In the glass, the wine is lively and sparkles with a steady flow of beads. The nose is fresh and filled with the lush aromas of raspberry and strawberry which carry onto the palate. Fruity and lively, this charming sparkling wine is an excellent choice for parties or when friends drop by for a visit. Elena always ensures that we have a bottle on hand just for those occasions. It is also a particular favorite of her girlfriends. The alcohol content is 12% with a bottle price of $28.
Our last wine, NV Collet Brut Roséis one of my favorites. It is a blend of 60% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay, and 10% Pinot Meunier from 15 different crus. From the heart of the Champagne region, Collet has been producing Champagne since 1921. In the glass, the wine is an enticing raspberry-pink in color. The wine’s beads are fine and persistent. On the nose, the Collet is fruity and fresh, with soft aromas of honey, cinnamon, and followed by the delightful scent roses. On the palate, this elegant wine truly comes to life. It is well rounded, creamy, with delicious notes of light strawberry and spice. The finish is clean with a delightful light strawberry aftertaste. Overall, its unique flavor is indicative of Collet’s select winemakers. This Brut Roséis fine to cellar for the next 2-3 years. The alcohol content is 12.5% with a bottle price of $45.
Speaking dessert, I just heard Elena come in. She went to the bakery for pasties and now I need to check if our RoséChampagne has been properly chilled.
“But that my friends, is a different story … “