Lately, I’ve been revisiting rosé champagnes. As I am a blanc de blancs girl at heart, I entered this journey convinced that I was enamored with the pale, subtle, elegant style of this category; even in a rosé, I prefer racy over fruity, poised over flashy, intriguing over upfront. In short, I know my rosé style, though a few surprising examples have taught me to always stay open-minded.
Benoit Marguet’s 2009 grand cru rosé ($3,600 N.T.) was one of the surprises. For a winery based in Ambonnay, Marguet’s rosé is a predominately Chardonnay-based wine (84%), unexpected for a grand cru Pinot Noir village house. The high percentage of Chardonnay initially tricked me into believing I was well in my style comfort zone. Little did I know, it would be the 16% Pinot Noir and the Montagne de Reims Chardonnay from Ambonnay that would take me for a ride.
The wine started off quite tame and innocent, a parallel of its pale onionskin appearance. But then, mid-palate, I experienced a slow release of spices, white and black pepper, licorice, sherry, pickled plums and sour cherries. The bursts of flavor captured my attention and took me on a wild ride, one that continued and continued… The touch of powerful old-vine Ambonnay Pinot in this rosé packed a punch despite its low percentage, but the integration was so seamless, I was left speechless.