There’s nothing quite as celebratory as a bottle of sparkling wine. And nothing more evocative of a celebration of love than a bottle of sparkling rosé. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we guide you through a selection of pink bubbles that will make an elegant statement and also work as perfect gifts.
How is rosé sparkling wine made?
Sparkling rosé simply uses a rosé base wine, which then goes through one of the methods of sparkling wine making. That could be ancestral, traditional, charmat or transfer method. The rosé base wine itself is produced through one of the usual rosé winemaking techniques (saignée or direct press), although some regions – such as Champagne – allow the addition of red wine to a white-dominated blend.
Looking beyond Champagne
Champagne might be the region that first springs to mind when thinking of a celebratory fizz. Indeed, some rosé Champagnes have become synonymous with romantic occasions: Billecart-Salmon and Laurent-Perrier rosés are just two of a number of cuvées that are ubiquitous in Valentine’s Day displays and have acquired iconic status among lovers of pink Champagne.
Scroll down for our selection of brilliant sparkling rosés
But it’s well worth looking beyond the French flagship region for sparkling wines, pink or not, that deliver a different character but the same quality. Other regions and appellations producing outstanding traditional method sparkling include:
A peculiar appellation in that it is scattered across multiple regions rather than corresponding to a delimited area. Most Cava is, however, produced in Catalunya, with Sant Sadurni d’Anoia as its historical and spiritual epicentre. Cava Rosado uses the red varieties Garnacha, Monastrell, Pinot Noir and/or Trepat for colour, in addition to the other permitted white varieties. When looking for high-quality Spanish fizz you will also need to explore the wines from producers that have actually decided to leave the Cava DO. Amidst disagreements about viticulture and winemaking standards, leading names such as Raventós i Blanc, Recaredo and Gramona (the latter two being founding members of the Corpinnat group), have left the denomination and produce some of Spain’s finest bubbles under specific regional labels.
A term referring to French traditional method sparkling wines produced outside of Champagne. The regions producing Crémants are Alsace, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Die (in the Rhône), Jura, Loire, Limoux and Savoie.
This northern Italian region, in the hills east of Brescia, has a somewhat short but impressive history producing traditional method sparkling, mostly from Champagne varieties. Its reputation has grown quickly, firmly establishing it as a leading sparkling wine region in Europe and the world, with some of the most renowned producers making highly sought after wines, not least outstanding rosés.
The southern Australia island state produces some of the country’s best sparkling wines, with its cool climate yielding fruit of incredible finesse and balance, particularly suited for elegant, precise, ageworthy fizz.
If you are looking for a proper bottle of pink fizz you don’t need to look further than the British Isles, where sparkling is winning awards the world over with expressive wines marked by a very characteristic freshness. The rosés in particular show beautiful wild berry flavours brought to life by vibrant acidity.
Prosecco only recently made a move into pink territory. In May 2020 the Italian government approved the production of Prosecco DOC Rosé, a move ratified by the EU in November the same year. The crossing of two highly popular categories, Prosecco rosé uses Pinot Noir for colour in addition to Prosecco’s own variety, Glera. Unlike the other regions listed above, Prosecco can be made using either the traditional or Charmat Method.
Sparkling rosé: Taste and food pairing
So does rosé sparkling taste different from white sparkling, or is it just a matter of colour?
Grape varieties, blend and winemaking process all play a role in the eventual flavour of the wine, making it difficult to generalise how a sparkling rosé tastes and how it is different from its white counterpart.
Having said that, there are some general characteristics you might expect from a pink fizz:
- Subtle red berry flavours, sometimes with a hint of red citrus (think pink grapefruit or blood orange) and red orchard fruit.
- A hint of tannin, imparted by mild contact with skins during the production of the base wine, which might give it a pleasant grip and texture.
- The higher degree of phenolic compounds can give it a richer body, especially if the wine has spent more time ageing on its lees prior to disgorgement.