Thursday, April 29, 2010

Debate a Bubble - Rosé Champagne – Why It’s Always That Little Bit More Expensive

Debate a Bubble - Rosé Champagne – Why It’s Always That Little Bit More Expensive

Link to Debate a Bubble - Champagne News and Reviews

Rosé Champagne – Why It’s Always That Little Bit More Expensive

Posted: 28 Apr 2010 08:59 AM PDT

Glass fill level cropped Lots of people, and perhaps you're one of them, love rosé champagne but sometimes ask themselves why it's always that little bit more expensive than normal, white champagne. Some people even suspect it's all a marketing ploy just to get you to pay more.

Well, in fact there is a good reason why rosé costs that little bit extra and here's why...

Apart from the colour and the taste there's something else that's different about rosé champagne and that's the way it's made.

In fact there are two ways to make rosé champagne but by far the most common is simply to take still red wine and add a small proportion, somewhere around 10%,  to still white wine to make a pink blend from the two. After that the blend goes through the normal champagne making process which creates the bubbles and turns the still wine into champagne.

Champagne is the only wine making region in France where they are allowed to make rosé this way.

It sounds so simple and cheap doesn't it, but as with many things, it's easier said than done.

For one thing the red wine must be made in Champagne from grapes grown in Champagne. CC Rosé

On the surface of it you wouldn't think that finding red wine in Champagne would be a problem. 

There's been a wine making heritage in Champagne going back centuries. Even before Champagne became famous for its sparkling wine, still red and white wines from Champagne villages such as Bouzy, Dizy and Aÿ, were despatched by road and river to the royal courts near Paris and enjoyed by the French aristocracy. In fact, back in the 1500s still wine from Champagne was more popular than Burgundy.

These wines go by the appellation 'Coteaux Champenois' to distinguish them from champagne and they're still made today, if you can find them... and that leads us on to the next point

In theory there should be no problem finding red wine in champagne, but despite there being millions and millions of black grapes grown in Champagne every year, very few of them are made into red wine

The reasons for this are simple:

•    It takes time, effort and patience to make red wine, so the final product is costly

•    Champagne vineyards map With the Champagne region being so far north, red wine made here is never really top quality,  nothing that's ever going to rival the great red wine made elsewhere in France

•    The high price coupled with the average quality means that it's not easy to sell red Coteaux Champenois wine, so why make it in the first place?

•    Last and certainly not least, it's more profitable, to press the grapes to make regular white champagne which sells at higher prices that the wine makers can get for still wine.

What this means for lovers of rosé champagne is that it's always going to be more expensive than the equivalent white champagne because of the cost of the red wine.

 If rosé champagne were any cheaper, no one would bother making red wine – the crucial ingredient -  in the first place.

So next time  you're enjoying a lovely glass of rosé just relax in the knowledge that you aren't being ripped off, it genuinely does cost more.

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