Rosé Champagne Masterclass – Champagne Bureau UK
Would any lover of champagne, turn down the chance to attend a masterclass on rosé champagne run by the Champagne Bureau UK? Definitely not me!
The event I was invited to attend was held at VIVI restaurant, situated in the Centre Point building in London, a stunning location for our champagne tasting with delicate canapes from the kitchen there.
To start, our expert Françoise Peretti, director at the Champagne Bureau UK, gave us some information on the background of champagne. Rosé champagne is steadily growing in popularity in this country. And, the UK market is the largest export market in terms of the overall volume of champagne sold.
Champagne can only be produced from grapes grown in France in the Champagne region. There are around 300 champagne houses in the region, each producing their own champagne. The pink colouring found in rosé champagne results from two production methods; either the colour comes from the skin of the grapes during maceration or by adding red wine made in Champagne to give the pink hue. Pink champagne is definitely a fun drink and gives a special sense of occasion.
Vintage champagne is a blend of champagnes from the harvest of the same year. Non-vintage champagnes are a blend of more than one year. All the champagnes we tasted were made from combinations of Chardonnay, Pinot Nééoir and Meunier grapes
In the UK we often drink champagne as an aperitif or as a toast at celebrations so it was fascinating to learn how champagne can be paired with different food.
We started with Ruinart Rosé, Castlenau Cuvee Brut Rosé and Rene Jolly Rosé champagnes. The main ingredients of the accompanying canapés were crab, cured salmon and goats’ cheese. I was amazed at how well the Rene Jolly went with the salmon and would not have thought of pairing champagne with cheese. It definitely works well though with the cheeses we tried, with the champagne complementing Parmesan, goats’ cheese and Comte.
For the hot canapés, the flavour focus was on mushrooms, pork belly and lamb. The tasting rosé champagnes were Drappier Rosé de Saignée, Louis Roederer Rosé 2013 and Palmer & co Rosé Reserve. Everyone has slightly different palates so the choice of best accompanying champagne can differ from person to person. Personally, I thought the Louis Roederer was an excellent match for the pork belly canapé. I was amazed to hear that rosé champagne goes well with Chinese food and meat, and even fish and chips!
For the dessert canapés of a tiny Battenberg, chocolate éclair and blackberry macaroon, I chose Ruinart, Louis Roederer and Castelnau. Ruinart was, without doubt, the best fit though none of them went well with chocolate.
Rene Jolly Rosé is strong in colour, with fruity freshness. It’s stocked in Waitrose, online and in selected stores.
Castelnau Cuvee Brut Rosé, has a gentle pink colour, with a crisp, fresh taste and is available on Amazon.
Louis Roederer Rosé 2013 is a light, bright and clear rosé, it is soft and smooth yet also has a freshness. It can be found at Harrods, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and Fortnum & Mason.
Ruinart Rosé is a bright pomegranate pink with a distinct and full flavour and Drappier Rosé de Saignée is a vibrant pink colour with a satiny freshness.
You’ll find most of the champagnes available online from The Finest Bubble.
Looking to pair a specific dish with the ‘right’ rosé champagne? We suggest asking a good independent wine retailer for advice before you buy.