What better occasion to drink pink champagne than Valentine’s Day? But which one will it be? If I could have my way, says Reva K Singh, it’s Rosé Champagne from the venerable house of Bollinger that I’d be drinking. Given all the rosé champagnes now available, the nonvintage Bollinger Rosé is in a class apart.
Of late, pink champagne has seen a resurgence in popularity. So great has the demand been in recent years that there is a shortage of the red wine that goes to make it pink, resulting in some rather inferior rosé champagnes on the market. But not Bollinger, which has adhered to its tradition of quality, a tradition that was kept alive even during the difficult war years.
Founded at Aÿ in 1829, the House of Bollinger is still family-owned. During World War II, it came under the charge of the widowed Lily Bollinger. A remarkable woman, Madame Bollinger continued to produce and sell champagne right through the war, touring the family vineyards on foot and bicycle when no petrol was available during the German occupation. She slept in the Bollinger cellars when the Allied forces bombed the area, including the American raid on 10 August 1944 which destroyed a third of Aÿ. Later, after the war, she bought several premium vineyards and increased Bollinger’s vineyard holdings close to the current level of 178ha.
Bollinger is famous for its Pinot Noir and its house style is due primarily to this grape variety. In the 17th century, when the first sparkling champagnes were made, Pinot Noir was the only grape available. Bollinger vinifies many different parcels of pinot noir in the heart of the Grand Cru vineyards for its champagne.
The Special Cuvée combines the previous two years’ grape harvests in equal parts along with the addition of reserve wines from different years, which gives the style of the blend its continuity. Pinot Noir provides complexity and power to the blend, while Chardonnay adds elegance and finesse. The final blend has 5 to 6% red wine added to the Special Cuvée.
The result? A great, full flavoured champagne that combines the structure of a Special Cuvée with the charm of a rosé. Its rich complex palate, irresistible aroma of fresh strawberries and delicate bronze hue, make the Bollinger Rosé NV a favourite with me and perfect for Valentine’s Day.
Brindco Limited is the importer of Champagne Bollinger. Tel: +91 11 41646242. www.brindco.com