100 Greatest Rakes / August 2019

CANNY CHAMPAGNE PART 2: THE BEST ROSÉ FOR YOUR MONNAIE

Kyle Ridington, sartorially stupendous sommelier par excellence, rates the greatest value rosé champagnes on the market.

The world’s dandiest decanterer, Manhattan’s dapperest decorker, the sharpest-dressed sommelier in the game, vino aficionado Kyle Ridington returns with another selection of outstanding bang-for-buck champagnes, all priced under $100 a bottle. This time around, we asked Kyle for his choice of rosés, perfect to enjoy in the last days of summer (the northern hemisphere has three weeks left — make ’em count, gentlemen).

Though he’s too modest to mention it himself, we’re pleased to report that this month, Kyle will be launching his very own cuvée, created in collaboration with Champagne Frerejean Frères, a maison located in Avize, a Grand Cru-classed village southeast of Épernay. The first bottling of Ridington Selection, says Kyle, is “A blend of 50 percent chardonnay and 50 percent pinot noir, which comes from Premier Cru and Grand Cru vineyards. The champagne ages for six years in the cellars before it is released.”

A limited 3,000-bottle production, explains Kyle, “Los Angeles artist Jessalyn Brooks has done the artwork for my first bottling. Each year I will choose a different artist to celebrate a new bottling or blend.” Pleasing to the eye and to the palate, we strongly urge you to sample Ridington Selection. You’ll need little encouragement to sup the wonderfully frugal rosés below.

House: Champagne Bruno Paillard

Cuvée Name: Rosé Première Cuvée

Style: 90% pinot noir, 10% chardonnay

Village Ranking: n/a

Vintage: Non-Vintage

Dosage: Brut

Price: around $50 per bottle

Kyle says: The champagne house Bruno Paillard was founded in 1981, when the then-twentysomething Bruno sold his Jaguar for enough cash to pursue his dream of making a champagne. Now world renowned, he makes a superlative rosé champagne with some of the juice in the blend dating way back to 1985! It drinks suave with notes of strawberry, roasted nuts, and fresh dough. Its light copper color shows the character of maturity and sophistication equaling the allure of a vintage Omega Speedmaster’s patina.

House: Champagne Doyard

Cuvée Name: Oeil de Perdrix

Style: 75% pinot noir, 25% chardonnay

Village Ranking: Grand Cru

Vintage: 2013

Dosage: Extra-Brut

Price: around $85 per bottle

Kyle says: Champagne Doyard, extant since is the 17th century, is an O.G. when it comes to small producer champagnes. While their entire range of champagnes is enough to arouse amusement for days, their vintage-dated rosé is made in a method that pays homage to champagne vinification in the Middle Ages. This champagne is outspoken with flavour and aroma, yet it is haunting in its presence. The colour is a pristine, pale pink with reflections of copper.

 

 

House: Champagne Dehours et Fils

Cuvée Name: Oeil de Perdrix “La Croix Joly”

Style: 100% meunier

Village Ranking: n/a

Vintage: 2015

Dosage: Extra-Brut

Price: around $65

Kyle says: Jérôme Dehours, owner of Champagne Dehours et Fils, looks like he could have been one the three antagonists in Superman II. However, rather than attempting to rule the world, he uses his supernatural powers to make a rare and compelling rosé so good that if you are able to find it, you’d be advised to purchase the store’s entire stock. This rosé is a single vineyard — virtually unheard of in the world of rosé. If you yearn for a rosé with calibre and originality, this is where you should start. Just 1,200 bottles produced.

 

 

House: Champagne Eric Rodez

Cuvée Name: Les Beurys Rosé

Style: 100% pinot noir

Village Ranking: Grand Cru

Vintage: 2009

Dosage: Extra-Brut

Price: around $55

Kyle says: One of the most profound estates in Champagne. Eric Rodez, the founder, cut his teeth at a house called Krug (perhaps you’ve heard of them?) as their cellar master for years before founding his self-titled estate, and becoming the Mayor of his village, Ambonnay. Eric speaks strictly in metaphors, and relates his champagnes to music, which can get tricky if you weren’t a music major. This rosé is carefully aged in old, oak barrels to impart texture and grace. Utterly symphonic, it’s almost too good to be a rosé.

 

 

House: Vilmart et Cie

Cuvée Name: Cuvée Rubis

Style: 90% pinot noir/ 10% chardonnay

Village Ranking: Premier Cru

Vintage: Non-Vintage

Dosage: Brut

Price: around $80

Kyle says: These are highly regarded champagnes that will make a champagne nay-sayer seriously reconsider ever passing on a glass again. The color is a lively ruby, hence the name ‘Cuvée Rubis’. There is an allure to their fruit-forward, upfront style of rosé that pulls no punches. This is pure class, my friends.

 

 

Contributor

Christian Barker

Christian Barker is The Rake's Asia editor-at-large, a frequent contributor to this site, and an enthusiastic consumer of fine whiskies, sashimi and classic disco music - ideally in unison.