The beginnings of rosé champagne
The achievements of Ruinart and Veuve Clicquot
In recent years, the popularity of rosé champagne has only kept rising. Much of the credit goes to its stylish color and its versatility for pairing with any type of food. But while it is considered a contemporary drink just right for modern times, rosé champagne was actually born some 200 years ago. The early pioneers of rosé are Ruinart and Veuve Clicquot, two houses based in Reims, France.
Ruinart, established in 1729, is the world’s oldest champagne house. Records indicate that it sent bottles of rosé to Strelitz (now Neustrelitz) in Germany as early as 1764. Today Ruinart makes a blended style of rosé with red wine added to champagne, but back then it was made using the Saignée method, which keeps the grape skins in contact with the wine during fermentation. Its color was described as Oeil de Perdrix, or “partridge’s eye.”
On the other hand, Veuve Clicquot, founded in 1772, is the pioneer of the blend style. The maison made great strides under Madame Clicquot, the widow of its second generation owner, creating a taste loved not only in France but also in the Tsar Court of Russia. Veuve Clicquot’s rosé made its debut in 1818. The new style of rosé champagne blended with red wine that Madame Clicquot created became a huge topic at the time.
For Veuve Clicquot, this year marks the 200th anniversary of its rosé champagne. Recently its winemaker Pierre Casenave visited Japan and offered his thoughts (translated here from Japanese).
“Madame Clicquot had great foresight. By creating a rosé blended with red wine, she discovered new possibilities in champagne. Rosé offers a plethora of pleasures, enhancing a festive mood and broadening the options for pairings. Madame Clicquot also excelled at tending the vineyard. Vineyards were not ranked at that time, but many of the vineyards she purchased are now grand cru. All we can do is admire her taste.”
For over 200 years, rosé champagne has been loved the world over. The flavor that has made this history possible also inspires intellectual curiosity among wine lovers.
(Photo: Winemaker Pierre Casenave)
(Text: Kimiko Anzai)
Contact: MHD Moët Hennessy Diageo
Tel: 03-5217-9738 (Veuve Clicquot) Tel : 03-5217-9736 (Ruinart)