Pink Velvet, If You Please: Old World

Summer screams rosé . And the fact that the world is ending-ish also screams “break out the good bubbles, why wait?” I feel rather privileged to make that statement—let us all try and look outside ourselves in the coming…forever? But my purpose I am hired for right here, right now, is to share about wine, and I will share what I can with the full hope that good wines I tell you to drink will inspire you to go forth and make good things happen. Does good wine yield good people? I’d hope. Sorry. Un-classically-serious intro for me, I know. If things weren’t as they were this would be all “let’s get some froth in our glass and party” but for now they are more “let’s rosé against the machine!” Thank you for bearing with me. Thus let us spend some time smelling and tasting and feeling and maybe even listening to sparkling rosés, and how they thrive throughout all corners of the earth. Or any part of the universe, really. Heck, I’d try a sparkling even (especially?) it was from Pluto, which will never not be the ninth planet in my heart. Because My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pinots. That may be too deep a deep planetary cut. Back here on Earth though we will first look at Old World then New. First things first—the sparkling wines I’m discussing here involve two fermentations. Pétillant naturels and the Asti method deserve columns all their own. The wines I am discussing involve a secondary fermentation whether it be in bottle or in tank. I’ll be picking an Old World favorite this week and a New World one the following before pitting them against each other. But, before I go on I’ll tell you my Old World shower wine pick: obviously it has to be Champagne because luxury on luxury is how I roll pandemic-style. Billecart-Salmon ftw. Salmon in the shower. Try it. Quarantine just got extra. We are all worth it, baby. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ FRANCE The GOAT bubbles of France are Champagne. I have to be honest. I thought I didn’t much care for sparkling wine until I tasted Dom Ruinart and Cristal . Could I be bougier? Probably but let’s not give ourselves nightmares. I’m sure I could boug deeper. Champagne is made using the “traditional method” in where still wine, along with yeast, sugar, and a bit o’wine (for good luck?) are bottled. The second fermentation that then occurs in the bottle makes the bubbles. Then comes riddling, the process by which the bottles are slowly rotated and turned upside down to collect the dead yeast cells. Riddle me not, incidentally, I personally prefer to be unfiltered. But I prefer my Champagnes riddled. After riddling comes disgorgement where the necks of the bottle are frozen and opened, the pressure of the wine expelling the plug of dead yeast. The traditional method is kinda violent, y’all. No wonder my goth soul rejoices in it. The various “cremants” of France are made the same way as Champagne, with the second fermentation occurring in the bottle. There are a bunch of them but I narrowed it down to Cremants de: Loire, Alsace, and Limoux. CHAMPAGNE Deutz Brut Rosé Champagne Zesty as a sea breeze and strawberry lemon sorbet on a hot summer afternoon. Mineral streak, balance and fun, equal party and proper. Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé I’m annoyed how good this is. At first—and work with me here—there is toast with just a light earthy swipe of Marmite. The plushness of the bubbles will not be denied. Lemon curd, on brioche with a swathe of raspberry and side of chamomile tea were other images my mind conjured up drinking this. This wine is a goddess. CREMANT DE ALSACE All hail All z’sauce. From Bernaise to Beurre Blanc love them all. Sorry deep pun/sauce-dork cut there. Alsace rosés are typically made of Pinot Noir. Lucien Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé Cherry berry peaches in salt. Plus an herbal hit I like. Give it a whirl. The bubbs are so delicate—the balance of raspberry and blood orange and seashell so poignant. And violets haunt the orchard seascape. CREMANT DE LOIRE Domaine des Varinelles Daheuiller Cremant de Loire Brut Rosé Delight, delish, it is the summer wine we all want by the pool but will welcome in the air conditioning all the same. Not too complex nor too simple, just right. CREMANT DE LIMOUX Limoux is a lesser-known region in the Languedoc, down south in France that—ooh ah—is believed to be the first place sparkling wine was made! Whaddaya know. They also make pétillant natural, but that’s a story for another day. Domaine J Laurens Tête de Cuvée Crémant de Limoux Rosé Blend A touch of salinity, a touch of orange blossom, a whiff of chalk and seashell, all garnishing a profiterole. Decidedly less fruity and more…all the other tastes. Into it. SPAIN Cava is made the same way as Champagne and the Crémants—although I should iterate aging requirements and grapes vary. I have a real sweet spot for, oh, all Cava? It technically can be made in quite a few different areas in Spain but most of them are made in Penedes. Consider it sort of like the Bourbon of Spain. It can be made more than one place but adheres to standards and most come from the one place. Xarel-lo, Parellada and Macabeo, and increasingly, Chardonnay, are the white grapes; Pinot Noir tends to be the red. Juvé & Camps Cava Brut Rosé 100% Pinot, baby. Noir. Pinot Noir. It is somewhere between river stone and watermelon Jolly Rancher on the nose (the river freshens the Jolly), and then the palate pulls in cooked raspberry and strawberry, and flowers I haven’t put my thumb (my tongue-thumb?) on. I need to smell more flowers. Anna de Codorníu Brut Rosé Straight up Luxardo cherry vibes on this fuchsia baby. Is there a hint of sweetness to it maybe? Get in the cocktail, there’s more: Luxardos dance with limoncello on the roof by sparkly sparkly starlight. There is an herbal garnish to this party-on beverage. To be clear, I am still describing wine it just feels cocktail-esque to me. At 70% Pinot Noir/30% Chardonnay I guess it is at least a grape cocktail. Oh oh and who is Anna? An heiress who married Josep Raventós, the Codorníu descendent who made the first Cava using the traditional method. ITALY I zoomed in on my already known favorites: Trentodoc and Lambrusco. Yes, Prosecco can make rosé bubbles now, but I believe we are still waiting on them. And Franciacorta is OG, but I decided to focus on my two favorite regions for Italian bubbles. TRENTODOC “Trentodoc” is actually a trademark. It is traditional method (in Italy they say Metodo Classico) sparkling wine made of Champagne varieties made in Trentino, one of the most northerly regions of Italy. It’s a mash-up name, y’all, which makes sense as it was created in 2007 to combine the name of the chief town of the region with DOC. I’m not sure why they thought “Trento DOC” wouldn’t sell, but whatevs, it is well-priced and scrumptious. And the trademarked label (look next time you get a bottle) has unique swirly ‘O’s, meant to signify riddling. 2014 Rotari Trentodoc Rosé 75% Pinot and the balance is Chardonnay, it spends 24 months hanging out with its lees before disgorgement. I really like this, it has all the elements: salinity and seashells (water), lilacs, strawberries, and white pepper (earth), the effervescence of bubbles in your mouth (air), and it is straight up fire (fire, duh). I’ve had Rotari quite a bit actually it always engages me. LAMBRUSCO To the Emilia-Romagna we go! Venturini Baldini Ca’del Vento Lambrusco Rosé Lambru-perfection declared to be so by all I shared it with. Somewhat floral blackberries and then some sort of spice. On ye nose. On ye olde palate great acid to tango with more flowers and black cherries and…cardamom? A nest of plucked honeysuckle blossoms under all. GERMANY In Germany we find ‘Sekt’, and some subcategories thereof. These are usually tank method bubbles, and I could get into the nuances of German wine label law but do you really want that now? I surmise no, although I do wish I could find more tech notes on the one that wowed me—I suspect it may have been made in the traditional way. Love those straight-up Spätburgunder (aka Pinot Noir) rosé dahlings. Lothar Kettern Spätburgunder Rosé Sekt Vibrant yet with downplayed surprises as the journey of a glass of this goes down. It lead with bravado then demurely stepped back and each sip had something new and interesting to say. This wine gets a second date. TO SUM IT UP To summarize the biggest differences in the Old World sparklings, I’ve noticed Cava tends to be juicier but also earthier, and less mineral and deeper hued than Champagne. Germany takes a more restrained and less ripe tack. Italy is somewhat of a mixed bag although Lambrusco remains idiosyncratic. Champagne, the really good Champagne, is a still river with multitudes of currents in it bringing the thunder which is a metaphor that makes little sense but that might just make it appropriate for the magic of Champagne. Who will win this old world battle? I will always love Cava for its affordable luxury. Oh, and also the taste. Lambrusco is another darling. But let’s be real. Champagne is my number one. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Want to read more from Ellen? Check out her recent articles: Old World vs. New World: Sauvignon Blanc Fast Food Slow Wine: Let’s Support Local Pizza! Old World vs. New World: Pinot Noir Part Deux Old World vs. New World: Pinot Noir Part One You can also listen to Ellen's podcast , The Wine Situation here . Check out her recent transcripts of the Final Five questions: Wine Situation Final Five! With Julia Coney Wine Situation Final Five! With Victoria James

Graham Beck

Méthode Cap Classique Brut Rosé

Plush peaches and strawberries and stones and white pepper, and it goes down with greenery. Quite good. New World ripe but not overly so. Refreshing fun I wish I saw more Cap Classique around.. — 24 days ago

Eric, Bob and 15 others liked this
Trixie

Trixie

You posh lady!🎀 Fun pink champagne reviews!🍾
Ellen Clifford

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@Trixie thanks m’lady! It has been a bubbly month lol

Weingut Lothar Kettern

Spatburgunder Rose Brut

This wine leapt out of the bottle at me in a way that made me think ‘crud this wine has something to say and I don’t know if I’ll like it’. Whatever it was—almost some beer notes? makes some sense being from a country with a month devoted to beer— bounded out of the bottle. On the palate a more restrained refresher. For some reason when I drink this wine I close my eyes and see sea turqoise waves made of cardboard—like the ones in old-time plays that stagehands pull back and forth to emulate ocean waves. Cool and a touch of salinity. Ooh and it just pulled out a bouquet of roses. A little old-school, a little surprising, and always the gentleman this wine is a catch. — a month ago

Trixie, Paul and 12 others liked this
Eric S

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I find it a little rude to Spat at Burgunders.
Ellen Clifford

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@Eric S I know, I know 🤣🤣🤣

Juvé y Camps

Brut Cava Pinot Noir Rosé

If you don’t want to think about this wine, no problem, you’ll have fun. If you do there’s a lot to cogitate on. The Animaniacs of wine. It has complexity (intriguing watermelon/river stone/candied watermelon/underripe strawberry/strawberry leaf) but also is just so pleasant in a way that I think: oh a non-wine snob would adore this too. Bubs are plush albeit don’t last so long as I might yearn for but then is that what I got for pouring into a syrah glass? You tell me Riedel lovers. — a month ago

Severn, Paul and 14 others liked this

Daheuiller (Domaine des Varinelles)

Crémant de Loire Brut Rosé Champagne Blend

100 percent Pinot Noir this wine neither whispers nor screams but it is not boring to listen to. Is it Ira Glass? I don’t know but it is a bit strawberry and freshness and a smidge of pleasant salinity. The toasty notes are downplayed. Good for fun and for more august wine thoughts. Especially august in August. — 24 days ago

Eric, Paul and 17 others liked this

Billecart-Salmon

Brut Rosé Champagne Blend

Oh my goodness gracious. I have too many words. I’ll keep it short. This is good. Very very good. — a month ago

Paul, S.S. and 20 others liked this
Ellen Clifford

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@Paul T- Huntington Beach oh is this your casual Friday sparkler? Lol, but also if it is you are doing life right
Ellen Clifford

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@Paul T- Huntington Beach oh my sounds like there is a story there. If I could drink this weekly I would.
David T

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@Paul T- Huntington Beach Any day is the right day.

Orlana

Vinho Verde Rosé Blend

Spritzy rich and wtf...overdelivering. Ripe peach Melba covered with a sweet (not actually but the flavors of sweet) reduced grapefruit coulis. My sweet spot for Vinho Verde lives on. — a month ago

Paul, Eric and 14 others liked this
Ellen Clifford

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@Severn Goodwin an undersung delight! Although being less renowned makes it a serious steal
Matt Perlman

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Portugal ftw once again

Jean Albrecht

Crémant d'Alsace Brut Rosé Blend

I might not know it was rosé if blind tasted and I might not mind. But it DOES have that berry thing. Barely but just enough. It is cherry-berry it is mineral it is just fun. And white peaches and salt. And thyme. Hmm. It’s someone to hang out with when you need a friend also when that friend needs to...be food friendly and if your friends don’t like food I’d be concerned. — a month ago

Chris, Severn and 26 others liked this
Shawn Thompson

Shawn Thompson

Nice review Ellen! Cheers 🍷
Ellen Clifford

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Thanks @Shawn Thompson ! Cheers to you too 🥂

Roederer Estate

Estate Bottled Anderson Valley Brut Rosé Blend

How I adore this. Roederer is legion, and this wine rocks. It’s toast with raspberry jam and a glass of blood orange juice. All sprinkled with candied violets and love. I can’t prove the love part but someone raised this wine right. Take it wine in hand take it in glass take it in. — 24 days ago

Paul, Eric and 18 others liked this
Trixie

Trixie

🍾Cheers!
Ellen Clifford

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@Trixie cheers! 🥂

Rotari

Brut Trento Rosé Blend 2014

Pale salmon all seashell and saltwater on the nose. So we have both river and ocean in one glass, boom. Jumpy but fine bubbles and same as nose but add in lilacs and raspberries so we are moving from water to land. Then the bubbles burst upon the tongue and we have sky. Am I missing any element? Nah, this is fire.
Well-priced fire to boot. Trentodoc I see you.

Update: just realized I reviewed this before but that was in relation to pairing with pizza. Which is fabulous at. But love it solo too!
— a month ago

Paul, Eric and 14 others liked this
Ellen Clifford

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@Paul T- Huntington Beach no! Just a normal bottle! Hmmm wish it were tho...
Paul T- Huntington Beach

Paul T- Huntington Beach

Okay,
Must be camera perspective.
I still have a 3 liter of Bradgalina juice I need to open before it turns brown.

Deutz

Brut Rosé Champagne Blend

So many seashells and I feel like if I were a I dunno, professional (I am! But my morale)I would get a ...-mineral core. When have I ever spoken of a mineral core? Except this bubbly has one. Run along the ocean, taste the rainbow and smell the sea spray. Party like an upscale wine lover who wants something they can think about...if they want. So very mineral and so much underripe to ripe strawberry just like my bestie on his-sage but old at heart. But then that mineral cut. This is equal parts fun and a disciplinarian — a month ago

Serge, Eric and 17 others liked this