Pop Cul­ture

For this year’s Christ­mas toast, reac­quaint your­self with the bub­bly per­son­al­ity of French rosé Cham­pagne, writes Toni Pater­son.

Australian House & Garden - - THE CHRISTMAS ISSUE DECEMBER -

Raise a glass of good cheer with French rosé Cham­pagne.

“Cham­pagne – the word alone brings into ev­ery­body’s mind fes­tiv­i­ties, cel­e­bra­tions and hap­pi­ness.” Well, it seems noth­ing much has changed since these words were writ­ten in Bri­tain’s Guardian news­pa­per more than 60 years ago.

Cham­pagne has a nat­u­ral affin­ity with the fes­tive sea­son. This year, I rec­om­mend seek­ing out one of the many ex­cel­lent rosé Cham­pagnes, which are not only fash­ion­able but also de­li­cious, com­plex and sat­is­fy­ing.

Rosé Cham­pagne has had a long his­tory. Records at the Ruinart Cham­pagne house show that its first batch was shipped in 1764. Only small vol­umes were pro­duced, despatched to wealthy Euro­pean aris­to­crats. This early ver­sion was de­scribed as ‘ oeil de per­drix’ (eye of the par­tridge) in ref­er­ence to its pale pink colour and cop­pery sheen, which was likened to the eye of the bird. This colour was thought

to have come from a brief mac­er­a­tion of red grapes, re­sult­ing in a pink-hued juice. There is also a ref­er­ence to el­der­ber­ries be­ing used as a col­orant.

‘Pink’ or ‘rose’ Cham­pagne was also be­ing sold in Lon­don in the early 19th cen­tury, though the ref­er­ences are scant, and once again it seems to have been a niche prod­uct for the wealthy.

Veuve Clic­quot is thought to have been the first Cham­pagne house to pro­duce a mod­ern rosé Cham­pagne, which in­volves the ad­di­tion of red wine, back in 1818. To­day, there is an ex­cel­lent range avail­able in Aus­tralia, vary­ing in style from del­i­cate, pale ex­am­ples to deeply coloured, as­sertive wines.

I’m a firm be­liever that the right food can bring out the best in Cham­pagne. Dishes with a dis­tinct umami el­e­ment, such as a savoury pas­try made with ham, parme­san and mush­room, will draw out the flavours in the most mag­nif­i­cent way.

Try these NV DEUTZ ROSÉ, $110 Pale pink, stylish and re­fined, with a fine bead, gen­tle savouri­ness and ex­cel­lent palate ten­sion. NV CHARLES HEI­D­SIECK ROSÉ RÉSERVE, $160 A glo­ri­ously rich and ex­pres­sive Cham­pagne, with great style and depth. NV RUINART ROSÉ, $120 In­cred­i­bly fresh and racy, with im­pres­sive palate weight, har­mony and in­ten­sity. NV HENRI ABELÉ BRUT ROSÉ, $95 This is a highly com­plex Cham­pagne, with nu­ances of savoury pas­try, cream and meringue. Out­stand­ing length and fi­nesse. PIPER-HEI­D­SIECK ROSÉ SAUVAGE, $75 A pow­er­ful rosé Cham­pagne with a deep pink colour and as­sertive na­ture. Its weighty mid-palate and gen­tle tan­nins make it fab­u­lous with food.

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