Posted by: wineatlunch | July 28, 2010

Sparkling Rosés!

Sparkling rosés exhibit different types and size of bubbles depending on the fermentation process they went through. There are three methods to create bubbles; natural fermentation in a bottle (Champenoise or traditional method), in a large tanks (Charmat method), or as a result of carbon dioxide injection (we do not want to speak about this one). The classic example of a sparkling rosé is Champagne where rosés are considered the nicest champagnes and are rare and more expensive on average than white champagne. But many other great rosé sparklers are produced in other countries and regions at much more affordable price points.

Champagne is responsible for only about 8% of worldwide sparkling wine production and rosés represent just a fraction of that. Many other regions emulating the “Champagne style” in both grapes used (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier) and production methods-sometimes referred to as the “Champenoise method”. Blending is the hallmark of Champagne wine, with most Champagnes being the assembled product of several vineyards and vintages. Rosé Champagnes are no exception.

Sparkling rosés designated Crémant are produced using the traditional method, and have to fulfill strict production criteria. In France, there are seven appellations for sparkling wine (white or rosés) which include the designation Crémant in their name, including Crémant d’Alsace and Crémant de Bourgogne. French appellation laws dictate that a Crémant must be harvested by hand with yields not exceeding a set amount for their AOC. The wines must also be aged for a minimum of one year. The Loire Valley is France’s largest producer of rosé sparkling wines outside of the Champagne region, called Crémant de Loire.  Other fun names in France to describe sparkling wines include Roussette(from Savoie and Bugey) and Clairette (from Die or from Bellegarde), Blanquette(from Limoux) and of course the almost generic Mousseux name (as in Saumur, Tourraine and Anjou)

Cava is the name of a type of Catalan sparkling wine both in white and rose style and is typically made out of.  Austria has great roses made out of the Zweigelt grape.  Other interesting rose sparklers include blend of Gamay and Pinot Noir (and sometime Poulsard) and can be found in the Bugeyarea under the appellation of Cerdon and Bugey.

Sparkling rosés produced in the United States can be made in both the méthode champenoise and the charmat method. The overall quality of Californian sparklers increased with the introduction of the more traditional Champagne grapes into the production. As the sparkling wine industry in California grew, foreign investments from some of the Champagne region’s most noted Champagne houses came to set up wineries in the area. These include Moët et Chandon’s Domaine Chandon, Louis Roederer’s Roederer Estate, and Taittinger’s Domaine Carneros. You can also find sparkling rosés in place like New Mexico where the French family Gruet emigrated to establish a well respected winery specializing on sparkling wines and propose great value for the price, including on their rosé sparkler.

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