Best Brut Rosé Champagnes

By Dirk Smits

The Top Rosé Champagnes on the Market

Rosé Champagne is made by either maceration (saignée method – saigner in French means “to bleed”) or by the blending of red and white wines.

For the maceration method, destemmed black-skinned grapes are left to macerate in a tank until the desired color has leached out of the skins and into the juice (24-72 hours). After that, the juice is bled off (‘saignée’) and the fermentation is started.

For the blending method, the winemaker will add red wine (made of local Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier grapes) to white wine before starting the second fermentation in the bottle. Champagne is the only appellation in France that allows making rosé by blending white and red wine, all other rosé wine in France must be made with the maceration method.

The coloration brings tannins that are bitter and astringent to the wine. While it can add, it can also detract. This makes crafting rosé Champagne a tedious act, balancing flavor, color and texture without losing the elegance that makes great Champagne.

GAYOT’s Best Rosé Champagnes range in price from $50 to $150 to suit a variety of budgets. The below selection of Champagnes is listed in alphabetical order.

> For more of GAYOT’s finest bubbly options, check out GAYOT’s Best Demi-Sec Champagnes list.

1. Champagne Billecart-Salmon, Rosé

Champagne Billecart-Salmon rosé

Origin: Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, France
Varietals: 40% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier (with 40% reserve wines)
Price: $90.00
ABV: 12%

The wine was made by adding red wine to the cuvée, went through malolactic fermentation and remained three years on the yeast before disgorgement. Finally, it was given a dosage of 9 grams of cane sugar per liter.

A beautiful pale pink color shows as background for the very fine, energetic bubbles. The nose is very subtle and fine, displaying red berries, citrus zest and creamy apple. The palate is round, boasting fresh acidity and ripe wild strawberries finishing with pinpoint precision and elegance.

> For more information, visit the Champagne Billecart-Salmon official website.

> Watch Sophie Gayot sabering a bottle of Champagne Billecart-Salmon, Rosé with Antoine Billecart.

2. Champagne Charles Heidsieck, Brut Rosé Réserve

Charles Heidsieck Brut Rosé Champagne 2013

Origin: Reims, France
Varietals: 37% Pinot Noir, 37% Chardonnay, 26% Pinot Meunier
Price: $75.00
ABV: 12%

The Brut Rosé Réserve is a blend of 80% of wine obtained from the latest harvest and 20% aged reserve wines, including 5% to 6% of red wine. The wine was aged a little over three years on the lees before disgorgement.

Tiny bubbles energetically dance around in this powdery pink wine displaying a subtle bouquet of strawberries, orchard blossom and iodine. The palate shows intense red fruit, a touch of almond and orange zest. It closes with an elegant, long finish, carried on by lively acidity and a touch of spiciness.

> For more information, visit the Charles Heidsieck official website.

3. Champagne Chartogne-Taillet, Le Rosé

Origin: Merfy, France
Varietal: 60% Chardonnay, 32% Pinot Noir, 8% Pinot Noir – red wine
Price: $73.00
ABV: 12.5%

This rosé was made by adding 8% of Pinot Noir to the white blend and spent three years on the yeast before disgorging. The wine was finished off with a dosage of 5.5 grams per liter.

A light rosé color along with a fine effervescence appear in the glass. Aromas of raspberry, almond and sour cherries emerge in the nose. Flavors of pink grapefruit, anise, cherries and a touch of rose petals unfold on the palate framed in by a creamy texture, chalky minerality and great freshness.

> For more information, visit the Champagne Chartogne-Taillet official website.

4. Champagne Doyard, Oeil de Perdrix, Grand Cru, Extra Brut

Origin: Vertus, France
Varietals: 25% Chardonnay, 75% Pinot Noir
Price: $107.00
ABV: 12%

This wine was made by maceration, did not go through the malolactic fermentation, remained three years on the yeast and was given a dosage of 3 grams of sugar after disgorgement. Oeil de Perdrix (a partridge’s eye) was used to name the color of rosé wine in the 18th and early 19th century.

The wine shows a copper hue, shaded with light orange highlights. In the nose, there is a first impression of red berries and hazelnut before the appearance of floral nuances and fine spices. The palate is clean and dynamic with fine perfumes of cherries and a chalky minerality. This is a very structured rosé with intensity and persistence.

> For more information, visit the Champagne Doyard official website.

5. Champagne Louis Roederer, Brut Rosé 2013

Origin: Reims, France
Varietals: 63% Pinot Noir, 37% Chardonnay
Price: $76.00
ABV: 12%

A great rosé Champagne must be made from very ripe grapes, which are sometimes difficult to obtain in the Champagne climate. As a result, Louis Roederer has chosen to invest in one of the earliest Champagne crus, Cumières, for which the steeply-sloping, shallow clay and limestone soils face south and benefit from the additional light reflected from the river Marne, enabling phenolic maturity to be achieved. In these select terroirs, Louis Roederer applies the precise winemaking methods required for the production of a saignée rosé. Brut Rosé is 100% estate-bottled from the grapes of the historic family-owned vineyards.

The wine shows a subtle pink color and a lively, fine mousse. The nose unfolds an intense bouquet of strawberry, black currant, orchard blossom, vanilla and candied orange. The well-rounded palate repeats some of the red fruit and finishes with a hint of roasted hazelnuts and a fresh, chalky minerality. Due to the decision not to carry out the malolactic fermentation, it has retained a remarkable freshness which lightens and elongates the palate.

> For more information, visit the Champagne Louis Roederer official website.

6. Champagne Marc Hébrart, Rosé, Premier Cru

Origin: Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, France
Varietals: 60% Chardonnay, 33.5% Pinot Noir and 6.5% Mareuil rouge (red wine)
Price: $60.00
ABV: 12%

Marc Hébrart Rosé is made by adding 6.5% of red wine from Mareuil to the white cuvée. The wine goes through malolactic fermentation.

The wine shows a light rosé color with fine bubbles. A light, fragile nose unfolds a hint of strawberries and minerality. More minerals show up on the palate as well as ripe red berries and almonds. It is creamy with a tangy acidity and will perform admirably over the next few years.

> For more information, visit the Champagne Marc Hebrart official Facebook page.

7. Champagne Ployez-Jacquemart, Rosé, Extra Brut

Origin: Ludes, France
Varietals: 50% Chardonnay, 37% Pinot Noir, 13% Pinot Meunier
Price: $56.0
ABV: 12%

This rosé was produced by adding red wine from Avenay or Mailly to the cuvée. The wine has 4 grams of dosage.

The wine has a light salmon color and shows persistent fine bubbles. The nose displays red fruit aromas of cherry and raspberry with a touch of buttered toast. The palate is light with fine cherry flavors and a noticeable presence of yeast carried by racy acidity.

> For more information, visit the Champagne Ployez-Jacquemart official website.

8. Champagne René Geoffroy, Brut Rosé de Saignée 2015

Origin: Aÿ, France
Varietals: 100% Pinot Noir
Price: $72.00
ABV: 12.5%

This wine was made following the “saignée” or maceration method. It did not go through malolactic fermentation and was given a dosage of 7 grams of sugar per liter.

The wine shows off its bright, light ruby red color – a pleasure for the eyes. The nose exhibits a bouquet of rose petals, wild strawberry, raspberry and blackberry. The flavors repeat the aromatics and thanks to the 100% Pinot Noir, the wine is structured and quite vinous. This champagne is best enjoyed young to capture its fruity flavors and aromas.

> For more information, visit Champagne René Geoffroy official website.