Bernard Rémy, Champagne Brut Rosé
Folks, it’s a Friday evening in the early fall and we don’t know about you, but we are feeling the crisp, cool air and it is electrifying. The season of celebration is fast approaching, and honestly we don’t want to wait, so let's get it started right now with an exuberant, throwback rosé Champagne that is sure to lift spirits and get everyone into the party groove. Our kickstarter comes from Bernard Rémy, an excellent, boutique estate that owns most of its own vineyards and farms everything themselves. Their classic Brut Rosé has a high percentage of still Pinot from the Grand Cru of Bouzy, which makes for a beautiful, carnation pink moving towards cerise hue that is almost as fun to look at as it is to drink. Richly textured, and elegantly balanced with a soft, persistent mousse, this bottle is bursting with red and pink berries, yet finishes perfectly clean and dry. It’s a fête, or fiesta, or festa in the glass and on the palette, so don’t wait, let's get this party started now!
Founded in 1968, Champagne Bernard Rémy is still quite young by the region’s standards, at just 55 years old, but this small estate has quietly gained an excellent reputation for producing classic Champagnes that offer excellent value. Though technically a Négociant Manipulant, or maison that purchases grapes from other farmers, Bernard Rémy actually owns 11 hectares of land, which is the bulk of their production. The small amount of purchased fruit comes from vineyards that are farmed entirely by the Rémy team, using organic methods, so that every berry that goes into their wines is of the utmost quality. The bulk of their holdings are in the Côte de Blancs, but they also have some excellent parcels of Pinot Noir in the Aube, and farm a Grand Cru parcel in Bouzy as well. These Pinot vineyards are what their classically styled rosé is built around, with Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier acting as the supporting cast.
In 2008 Bernard’s son Rudy took the helm, but his father is still very much active at the winery and very little has changed. The Brut Rosé is made of 60% Pinot Noir, 12% of which is still wine from the aforementioned Bouzy Grand Cru. All the wines are fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks prior to assemblage, after which they’re bottled under crown cap to undergo secondary fermentation. The rosé then spends an astonishing five years aging in bottle on the fine lees before disgorgement, which is a good two to three years longer than most of the big houses or small growers use for their rosé. It is that extended lees aging that leads to a super elegant, soft, and tickly mousse with almost microscopic bubbles.
I would serve the Rémy rosé at around 45 degrees in an all-purpose stem, though I wouldn’t be mad at a coup if that is what the party atmosphere called for, and either vessel will showcase the brilliant, deep pink hue. On the palette an explosion of raspberry, red currant, crushed strawberry, pomegranate, white plum, blood orange, citrus zest, and brioche all emerge in layers of textured, mineral driven magic that culminates in a bright, saline finish. With the added structure of the Bouzy Pinot, this bottle could certainly stand up to richer dishes like duck a l’orange, bouillabaisse, or classic fried chicken. But since we’re in party mode let’s serve it up with some elegant passed canapés, including smoked salmon and caviar. So grab a few bottles, chill them down, turn on some tunes, and start dancing into the holidays!