Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday Night Bubbles

NV René Geoffroy Cuvée Rosé de Saigné, $30 (375 ml), Terry Theise Selections/Michael Skurnik Wines. I must admit, rosé of Champagne is something that still perplexes me. I find very few to be truly compelling, maybe one in five. The same grower/producers who make wines that I love, I often find their rosés to be uninspiring, and they're more expensive than the regular non-vintage wines too. I definitely need more time with the wines in order to understand them, but it's also possible that as a style of wine, rosé of Champagne might not be my thing.

But wait, it's not so simple. There are two distinct styles of
rosé of Champagne, and I've been drinking only one of them, as it happens.

Broadly speaking, rosé of Champagne is made in two ways. The more common method involves blending still red wine with the white base wines. This method allows the producer a greater degree of control over the finished wine, and therefore, consistency. For whatever reason, I've not found these wines to be as lively and exciting as other Champagne.

With the
saigné method, the producer allows the red grape skins to stay in contact with the juice for a short while, and then bleeds (saigné means bled off- sang=blood...think sangria, sang-froid, etc.) off the now red-tinted juice. It is more difficult to control the finished product here - the natural variations of the growing season play a more prominent role. This is why each bottling of one producer's rosés de saigné can be quite different in color, aroma, and flavor.

I'
ve been drinking rosés made by blending still wines. There are a few that I've really liked, wines by Billiot in particular. Time to try some wines made with the saigné method.

As it turns out, Geoffroy makes a rosé de saigné that I really like. Not a big surprise for me - I like every single Geoffroy wine that I've tasted. At this point, if I could take one Champagne producer's lineup to a desert island, it would be me and René out there under the palm trees. The version currently on the shelves is almost electric orange - the photo doesn't do it justice. The nose is deeply perfumed with luscious dark Pinot fruit with a stabilizing chalky base. Such richness and perfume on the nose! The palate is super lively with fruit and acidity. Smooth and creamy in texture with a broad mouth filling feeling. The finish is deeply mineral and leaves a floral fragrance in the mouth. This wine is just delicious, and plenty bold enough to partner with our late summer meal of broiled bonito and Italian-style braised green beans.

More
rosé de saigné is in my future, I can tell. I know Boulard makes one. Any others that you'd care to recommend?

6 comments:

Aaron said...

The rose of Larmandier-Bernier in Vertus immediately springs to mind. If the Goeffroy is orange, the most recent disgorgement of this wine is very deep salmon-pink, almost red, with body to match. Also, the Jean Vesselle "Oeuil de Perdrix." Named for the color, which supposedly is akin the to that of a partridge's eye. Whether true or not, it's a brilliant rose.

Peter Liem said...

I love Geoffroy's rosé too. Have you had Jacquesson's Dizy Terres Rouges? Not easy to find, I admit, but fascinating. The 2002 was a saignée of 100% meunier! The 2003 blends meunier with a little pinot noir. Both are terrific, although I haven't tasted the 2003 yet with dosage, which should only be a couple of grams or so. (I tasted it à la volée back at the beginning of the year.) If you ever have the good fortune to purchase Vouette et Sorbée's Saignée de Sorbée, it's right up your alley. Awesome wine. There are several wines I like that are saignées blended with a little chardonnay for extra finesse -- Vilmart's Grand Cellier Rubis, for example, is one of my favorite rosés in all of Champagne (saignée + 40% chard). Do you like Aubry's Sablé Rosé? I love that stuff: it's actually both a saignée and a blend. About 60% of a very light saignée, plus one to two percent red wine and then the rest chardonnay, bottled with four bars of pressure instead of six. Utterly weird and completely delicious.

genevelyn said...

ditto Jean Vesselle-- rose champagnes are like cherry pie crust, and the magnum bottles are even better

Roland said...

yes.. maybe that it..

good post

Marty said...

I second Aaron. L-B's is vinous and an extremely compelling wine (like all of their Champers to me), and Vesselle's is a little more lacy and delicate, but very delicious and far from an afterthought like many roses--I far prefer their Oeuil de Perdrix to their Brut Reserve.

I'm thirsty. Time to find my L-B Blanc de Blancs.

Brooklynguy said...

these are great suggestions, thanks!

i love whatever larmandier-bernier i've had thusfar, so no surprise that the rose is good. i used to know where to find it, but it's gone now. i actually went looking at lunch today. no dice.

Vesselle i have never had, so hopefully i can find that wine.

peter- never tried (or seen) jacquesson's rose wines. one day, hopefully. and i don't think Vouette et Sorbée's Saignée de Sorbée makes it over here yet. aubry i will have to try again.

thanks again for all the suggestions.