Pink Velvet, If You Please: New World

What is it that makes making sparkling wine tricky in the New World? It comes down to alcohol and acid. Well, that and ripeness. And how much fruit character you want a wine to show versus how much flavor you want to be derived from the magic of autolysis—that is the process that makes sparkling wines get bready, nutty, brioche-y flavors. It isn’t easy being bubbly. The more marginal climates associated with Old World regions like Champagne tend to yield grapes with less sugar and more acid, so there is less alcohol after the first fermentation—which is good because the second fermentation is going to make yet more alcohol, and you don’t want a sparkling wine that burns your nose off when you take a sniff. I mean maybe you do, but I’d suggest investing in a nose hair trimmer if that is the case. It’s reusable and then you can focus on enjoying your wine. Many New World regions, however, are known for wines with higher alcohol levels, so the trick is to find the Goldilocks places that can ripen grapes jusssssst enough, but not too much. For our purposes today we are looking to certain areas of California, Australia, South Africa, and Argentina. My apologies to any areas I’ve missed. If I could, I’d do a part three to this so I could do New World Northern Hemisphere versus New World Southern Hemisphere and go broader, but I figured two sparkling rosé columns in one month was probably already pushing it. Before getting into my picks, I am sure you want to be apprised of my shower wine for New World, and I’m am here for it. I must go with Sosie . I mean, the name is “Bare Necessity” so, how could I not? Words are everything. Well so is wine, but when you can put the joy of both together and take them to the shower, then you know you’re really next level. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ CALIFORNIA I should preface this installment of my judgment of pink to say my California loyalty bias may be at play here. Although, California is a state blessed with quite a few Champagne houses investing in winemaking abroad. So the old school expertise is at play with our new world climate. Roederer Estate Brut Rosé I always and ever am a fan of Roederer Estate—t'would be hard not to given that Roederer is the maker of infamous Cristal in Champagne. But this bubbly will set you back substantially less. Toast with raspberry blackberry jam and candied violets. On the tongue blood orange joins forces. The texture is all I’d want it to be. This is legion. 2018 Sosie Bare Necessity Vivio Vineyard Sparkling Rosé I mentioned this in a previous column, but it bears revisiting. Watermelons and white pepper and flowers and fun. Sosie has always been a pleasure. NV Louis Pommery Brut Rosé And now for something completely different! There is resin going on here over candied orange and...pomegranate? The beer-iness is real. Tis good. And somehow saline. And again with the stony refreshment, like a smooth cool black pebble in my theoretical palm-mouth? Chard/Pinot blend. I dig this, it is like luxe meets hipster-ville. This may be too Los Angeles to say, but it is a total Silver Lake wine. SOUTH AFRICA Ah, how I enjoy South Africa and the Cap Classique! That is what they call wines made in the same method as Champagne there. Graham Beck Méthode Cap Classique Brut Rosé 66 % Pinot Noir, 34% Chardonnay, 100 % quaffable and rich enough to say New World without becoming overly over. What a head of bubs. The nose, though, is a bunch of minerals and strawberries and like peaches—white peaches, donut peaches and beyond. The texture is bomb; the palate is candied strawberries and tangerine peel. AUSTRALIA Australia may be known for Coonawarra Cabs and Penfolds Shiraz , but certain areas in Australia really deliver on rosé. Like Tasmania, with its cooler climes and clouds—it’s killing the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay game. Also featured here is a wine from Adelaide Hills, where the altitude is key to the right amount of ripe. Jansz Tasmania Premium Rosé Originally a French/Aussie collab now purely Australian and family owned—unique style known as “Méthode Tasmanoise”? Also, vegan! From a marginal climate it brings maximum fun. Heavy on the brioche-y notes all laminated in a puree of red fruit and perhaps topped with lightly whipped vanilla cream. Quite a treat. 2019 Bird in Hand Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir Rosé Really pleasantly surprised by how Pinot Noir-y this Pinot pink was. I don’t know why I was surprised, but “cola’ is a note I rarely notice on sparkling rosé, and it stood out in this one. T'was indelibly Pinot Noir. Berries and minerals and parties and aplomb. All in one. ARGENTINA Alma Negra Brut Nature Rosé Mysterious mysterious, this wine likes to appear, what with a very goth mask on the label. What’s behind the mask? They don’t want to tell you but the back of the bottle does promise, “Within its deep ALMA NEGRA (black soul) you’ll find the essence of this wine, only to be revealed in the last glass”. So naturally I finished the bottle. Verily enjoyed it in all its peach melba and mineral with bitter pink grapefruit and vanilla glory? CONCLUSIONS I am realizing the differences between Old and New World sparkling rosés are similar to still wines. Go figure. Ripeness, fruit forwardness, fruit versus mineral etc.—the “New World” unabashedly has that ripeness to it. Get that ripe. It is good. When balanced with minerals and such. And I suppose now I should pick a favorite New World bubbly and pit it against the Old World. Is it cheating to pick a wine from a winery started by a Champagne house? Because Roederer is always going to have my heart as will a lot of wine from Anderson Valley. And so, the conclusion of my conclusion may be anticlimactic but what can I do? Champagne is always going to win my love-struck heart. But California through the lens of a Champagne house is a close runner up. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Want to read more from Ellen? Check out her recent articles: Pink Velvet, If You Please: Old World 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

Jansz Wine Company

Premium Vintage Rosé Blend

Extroverted elegance! Quite a bit of white nectarine/strawberry purée softly spread on toast and dipped in cream. Or mayhaps that it just feels like cream. Really the texture on this is exquisite. It is wearing elbow length gloves with a fuchsia satin dress and pearls. This wine is. Or maybe that’s what I feel like I’m wearing drinking it. — 3 years ago

Paul, Bob and 15 others liked this
MaJ CappS

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Is this the sparkling? I really like that - and most wines from Tasmania. Yummmmm
Ellen Clifford

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@MaJ CappS yup! Tis sparkling rosé. Tasmania is doing some great stuff with Pinot Noir these days!


Louis Pommery Brut Methode Champenoise

Another (few days belated) write up of previously taken notes. This one was quite unique—a thing with beeriness and salinity but smoothness—there is flavor galore notes here—candied orange and pomegranate but my enjoyment of it is so texture based. Just super cool and a bit off the beaten path. — 3 years ago

Serge, Severn and 17 others liked this


Bare Necessity Vivio Vineyard Sparkling Rosé 2018

Love the Sosie! Watermelons and white peppercorns that almost feel floral all dance. Beautifully rich pink with an herbal undertow and hint of bitter. Pretty perfect pink one. — 4 years ago

Severn, Sharon and 13 others liked this

Bird in Hand

Sparkling Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir Rose 2019

Rather delish! Heavy on the cola notes with lots fresh strawberry but a nice bit of minerality to boot. Could be a party person. Could be wearing a tiara. Could be the type of person who wears a tiara to party. Totally worth it. — 3 years ago

Paul, Jason and 18 others liked this
Scott Rowe

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This winery is in our town of Woodside, Adelaide Hills.
This sparkling sells well for the company. it’s hard having delicious wine only a light stroll from our place 👌🏽
Ellen Clifford

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@Scott Rowe sounds like a delightful problem 🥂

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. — 3 years ago

Paul, Eric and 18 others liked this


Ellen Clifford

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@Trixie cheers! 🥂

Alma Negra

Brut Nature Malbec Pinot Noir Rosé

Because every so oft I’m sure you want to see someone besides me behind the bottle, behold Ziggy.
Thoroughly dig this Argentinian bubbly, it had zip and verve but a bit of vanilla depth that made it a cross between pool time fun and what I’d deem a wintertime rosé. Try it, you’ll like it.
— 3 years ago

Ron, Paul and 18 others liked this
Ellen Clifford

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@Eric S He’s not mine but he’s a sweet dog!


Ziggy is adorable! Cheers!🐶🍷
Ellen Clifford

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@Trixie yah, I am more a cat person but Ziggy is a pup I like to visit!

Graham Beck

Méthode Cap Classique Brut Pinot Noir - Chardonnay Rosé Blend

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.. — 3 years ago

Eric, Bob and 15 others liked this


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

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