WORDS BY STEPHANIE AIKINS
It’s hard to deny there is something of a love affair between Australians and French cuisine. It was one of the first foreign foods to land on our shores (thanks to the wave of post-WWII immigrants) and for decades it has been the pinnacle of fine dining in the Australian psyche. The local French restaurant was the place for first dates, marriage proposals, anniversaries, birthdays and important business meetings. Taking your significant other or business partner to eat French meant you had taste, embraced luxury and really cared about their enjoyment.
Vital in fostering this notion of ‘French’ as synonymous with ‘romance’ and ‘indulgence’ was the quality French Champagne’s that flooded our shores. Suddenly, Australians couldn’t get enough of the vivid gold and subtle pink wines with their unique vibrancy and delicate sweetness, and such drops became the ultimate symbol of occasion.
Over 70 years since the end of WWII and our obsession with Champagne has not waned. Alongside the unmatched quality and glorious flavours of many of these wines, it’s the sense of what Champagne means that has earned these wines a special spot in the Australian heart. Serving quality Champagne remains a sign of true respect and affection even after all this time.
Lately it’s been rosé that has delighted our hearts and tastebuds, with one in three regular wine drinkers consuming the pretty pink drink in the past 12 months to July 2018*. A high proportion of those drinkers would have been sipping on Champagne rosé, so as we head towards the warmer months we’ve complied a list of three of our favourite Frenchies. Perfect for gatherings of friends and family, serve these Champagne rosés to celebrate those you love.
In a recent chat with explore DRINKS, Clovis Taittinger, fourth generation family member and export manager for the brand, spoke of the fervent fondness Australians have for fine champagne.
“Australia is a lifestyle country – into food, into culture and into wellbeing. Australians enjoy life and love. You like pleasure, you like to indulge yourselves and you like to have fun, and Champagne is the natural companion for that.”
Namely, his own champagne is the perfect companion. This family business has grown into one of the biggest Champagne houses in the world through its focus on craftsmanship and the subsequent delicious champagnes it produces.
Keeping with the signature house style, the Prestige Rosé has a high proportion of chardonnay, giving the wine an elegance and delicacy. The still red wine (15%) used in the final blend comes from the best pinot noirs of Montagne de Reims and Les Riceys and is responsible for the wines unique bright pink hue and vibrancy on the palate. On the nose, this wine has aromas of red fruits, such as crushed wild raspberry, cherry and blackcurrant. A fine bead and flavours of crisp red fruits result in a fresh, fruity and sophisticated sparkling rosé.
This rosé is considered a benchmark of the category, with renowned sparkling wine critic Tyson Stelzer once calling the label the ‘grandfather of rosé champagne’. Made in the traditional saignee method, this wine has flavours of berry fruits, redcurrant and blood orange. The palate is lifted with a distinct wine character, which comes from the 100% pinot noir grapes used in the wine. Laurent-Perrier use only the best pinot noir from the grand cru vineyards of Ambonnay, Bouzy, Louvois and Tours-Sur-Marne, hence it is no wonder that this wine is still extremely popular in its 50th anniversary year.
To celebrate this milestone anniversary, the brand has collaborated with Australian artist and illustrator to create a limited edition Cuvée Rosé Gift Box. The whimsical artwork reflects the Parisian joy de vivre, depicting an elegant woman drinking the soft pink champagne in front of the city’s landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower and The Pont Alexandre III Bridge. With only 500 boxes released nationally, this is the perfect gift to snap up before the Christmas season.
Since its resurrection in 2008 by Alexandre Cornot, Brimoncourt has established itself as a pinnacle of excellent craftsmanship. This Champagne rosé is an elegant blend of 35% chardonnay, 40% pinot noir and 25% pinot meunier. The pinot noir gives the stunning porcelain pink colour, while the meunier offers a delicate fruity aroma. On the nose, aromas of rose and raspberry are followed by subtle citrus and bergamot scents. Bold, smooth and fruity notes of melon and raspberry lead to flavours of rose, honey and cinnamon. With a fine bead, this Champagne rosé is ideal for aperitif or with cheeses such as chaource, brie, salers.
*Data from Wine Intelligence Australia Rosé and Pink Moscato in the Australia Market 2018 Report