OK, Phase 1 of the Rosé Revolution is complete. Over the past three years, Twin Citians have evolved from mild interest to unbridled, unconditional love for these wines.
Time for Phase 2: pink bubbles.
As with the table wines, we have been seeing a marked increase in the types and sources of sparkling wines with hues ranging from pale to maroon. They emanate not only from France’s Champagne region, but also Austria and Australia, New Mexico and South Africa. And of course, California and the rest of France.
The categories range from seemingly old (Lambusco, but in exciting drier iterations) to seemingly new (pétillant naturel, or pét-nat, a light and fizzy style of wine that actually has been around forever but only recently came to the fore).
The most exciting, energetic wine I’ve tasted in recent months was Bourgeois-Diaz 3C, a newly arrived, relatively inexpensive Champagne, enjoyed during a lunch at St. Genevieve in Minneapolis.
Not only did it combine superb flavor, a sexy mouthfeel and a boundless finish, but it reminded me why these wines are such a great option for a midday repast: low alcohol (12 percent in this — and most — cases), food friendliness and the kind of lift that makes the afternoon something to look forward to rather than a post-lunch slog.
It also brought to mind how important St. Genevieve’s Brie Roland has been in continuously stocking swell sparklers, pale and pink, for by-the-glass consumption. Soon after opening late in 2015, there were nights when, Roland said, “I swear every table had a glass of the Marc Hebrart Brut Rosé.” Since then she has rotated several superb rosy-colored bubble-licious offerings from France.
The really good news is that while pink Champagnes are more popular and prevalent than ever here, so too are less spendy options from elsewhere in France. Alsace, a region that continues to be ignored by most consumers, provides stellar stuff from the likes of Pierre Sparr and Lucien Albrecht.
Burgundy also produces several strong cremants, and sparkling rosés from the Loire such as Perles Fines Cabernet Franc Brut have been hot items at France 44 and Sunfish Cellars, according to the wine buyers there.
Still, said France 44’s Dustin Harkins, “the biggest surprise has been the unfiltered rosé Prosecco from Terre di Marca. We have sold over 50 bottles in a matter of weeks.”
Other options faring well, Harkins added, include Gruet (New Mexico), Mumm and Roederer (California), Ameztoi Hijo de Rubentis Extra Brut and Raventos I Blanc De Nit Brut (Spain), Szigeti Pinot Noir Brut Rosé (Austria), and what he calls “my personal favorite,” Longridge MCC Brut from South Africa.
Interestingly, another South African offering, Graham Beck Brut Rosé, “is a rock star” at North Loop Wine & Spirits, said owner Lisa Impagliazzo. “We cannot keep it in stock.”
One of my favorites for the money, Juvé y Camps Pinot Noir Cava Brut Rosé, is probably North Loop’s No. 2 seller, Impagliazzo added, followed by Argyle from Oregon and some pét-nat bottles.
The latter have gained hipster status along both coasts — including Lilydale.
“Rose-colored pét-nats are huge” at Sunfish Cellars, said manager Mike Dombrow of the wines that are made by bottling before they complete their first fermentation. (I’ll have more on “natural” wines in a column next month.)
Also gaining cachet of late are dry Lambruscos from the likes of Puianello and Cantina di Carpi e Sorbara. These are fabulous picnic wines and play beautifully with good salumi.
Truth be told, pink bubbles might have no peers when it comes to food pairings. Just for starters: Sushi, French fries (or anything fried), strawberries, egg dishes, pastas and risottos and such usually challenging vegetables as mushrooms and artichokes all rock with sparkling rosés.
They’re none too shabby by themselves, either.
Bill Ward writes at decant-this.com. Follow him on Twitter: @billward4.