Twenty percent of the grapes in this rosé are vinified as red wine, and the rest as white. These batches are then assembled by the winemaker into the final blend. To assure consistency from year to year, some older wines go into the blend as well, and with 5 million bottles of reserves in its cellar, Taittinger is admirably equipped for this. This one has lovely, earthy Pinot Noir aromas, ripe red-fruit flavors, and a wonderfully persistent bead of fine bubbles.
PACIFIC ECHO CELLARS 1997 BRUT ROSÉ ($26)
Here's a pink bubbly from California that won't send you to the poorhouse. Made by Pacific Echo Cellars in Mendocino County, the Pacific Echo brand is now part of the LVMH group. These people should know sparkling wine: They own Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, and Pommery, among a host of other luxury labels. But don't think of Pacific Echo as the American relation of Dom Pérignon. It's a wonderful wine in its own right, with a label that's geared to emphasize its Left Coast origins.
Winemaker Tex Sawyer crafts this rosé from 60 percent Pinot Noir and 40 percent Chardonnay, creating a base wine that already has a heavy Pinot character. A small amount of still Pinot Noir wine is added to the blend, not so much for color as to enhance its strong Pinot-driven red-fruit flavor. With its full body and rich finish, the 1997 Brut Rosé will especially appeal to red wine lovers.
DEUTZ 1996 BRUT ROSÉ ($59)
If the name looks German, it is. The founders of this firm, Wilhelm Deutz and Pierre Geldermann, were originally from Aachen. But Deutz is no Johann-come-lately to champagne. It's actually one of the oldest of the self-styled grandes marques champagne houses, established in 1838. The name is pronounced in the French fashion to rhyme (roughly) with "nuts."