Making Champagne Pink

I hate the term “pink Champagne,” because pink is a fluffy, fun color and to me, Champagne — for all its festive overtones — represents serious sipping.

“Champagne rosé“  sounds much more sophisticated and is, of course, the only true form of  “pink champagne.”  Accept no imitations.

Yet there are, unfortunately, other ways to make champagne pink. One that is used and abused, especially in rural France, is  “Kir Royal,” where a splash of crème de cassis is mixed with champagne. A true aberration, and if it is ever offered to you, this is the proper response:

“Non merci…nature, s’il vous plaît.”

One can also try to make champagne pink by pouring it into pretty pink flutes like these that I saw at Harrod’s last week. I’d certainly be pleased to drink any champagne in them, rosé or otherwise. But it would almost be a shame to hide rosé Champagne’s color — often more peach or pale amber than pink – in tinted glasses.

Rosé champagne is made by adding 10-15% of still red wine (Pinot Noir) to white champagne. This process can take place outside of the vat, but the most respected fabrication method is to let the Pinot Noir grapes float around in the vat a bit, giving the Champagne a richer color and fuller body.

So next time you drink “pink champagne,” remind yourself that you are actually drinking “champagne rosé,” which is a high-class, expensive sparkler. This knowledge may help some male drinkers with “real men don’t…” issues appreciate the drink, too.

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