Champagne Palmer & Co. Rosé Réserve NV

Lovely, bright rose-pink color; red berries, strawberry, flowers, bread, cut grass on the nose; vivid red fruit, red berries on the palate.

Dry with good acidity; fresh, round and lush in the mouth; persistent, tiny bubbles. In no way is this a candified bubbly rosé. Quality rosé Champagne is a transcendent experience not cherry pop, and this clearly is a quality rosé Champagne.

Champagne Palmer & Co. Rosé Réserve is a blend of 40-45% chardonnay, 40-45% pinot noir, and 10-15% pinot meunier; 25-35% of the juice comes from reserve wines with 50% sourced from grand cru or premier cru vineyards. In addition, 10-12% of the red wine is vinified in oak using the labor-intensive solera process where vintages are blended year after year, with some of the wine always is left in the barrel to blend with the next vintage; quality sherry is made using the solera process. In theory, some of the red wine used to make this bottle was made 30 years ago. The resulting meticulously crafted red wine is used to create the delightful color. That’s how you achieve transcendence.

Attention to such detail is a reason Champagne is pricey. Making Champagne is one of the most complicated efforts in the wine world, with multiple steps, two fermentations, blending and aging, not to mention the solera process to bring the rosé to this rosé. Blending is problematic because the winemaker does not blend based on how the wine tastes at the moment, but how he believes it will taste years later after a small amount of sweetened wine is added, after the second fermentation causes bubbles to appear. You certainly can find cheaper sparkling that is good wine, but Champagne takes it to a higher level, and that is why “entry level” prices in Champagne are in the $40-$70 universe—and worth it.

Champagne Palmer is a cooperative founded in 1947 as Producteurs des Grands Crus de Champagne by seven growers in Avize. The company moved to its present home in Reims in 1959. Today, the co-op sources its grapes from more than 350 growers farming some 1,000 acres in virtually every sub-region in Champagne. Constant growth of the business is a characteristic of the company. In the 1990s, Palmer acquired a “vast network of cellars and fermenting rooms from a neighbouring Champagne house” to expand its presence in Reims and, now, to move into the massive and challenging America market.

Palmer sometimes is called “the best Champagne house you have never heard of” because they are relatively new to the U.S. Thankfully, Palmer now is increasingly marketed and available in the U.S. It is uplifting to get a Champagne of this quality at what is a value price for this level of the art. Champagne Palmer & Co. Rosé Réserve NV is superb, savory, sophisticated; you should experience it. $68

Champagne Palmer website

Other photos: Champagne Palmer & Co. chalk cellar, Champagne Palmer & Co. vineyard