Originally published on: Forbes.com
Written by: Jeanne O'Brien Coffey
Few things are more indulgent than rosé Champagne - from the pretty pink hue to the oftentimes ripe and generous palate, it exudes a casual elegance, in addition to being a welcome companion with everything from eggs Benedict to smoked salmon canapés or fresh strawberries. Generally speaking, Champagne houses craft rosé by adding a small percentage of still red wine to the blend. Because the process is more involved, the wine comes with a higher price tag than classic cuvées. But mom is worth it, right?
For the label-conscious mom, Dom Perignon Rosé Vintage 2008 delivers everything you'd want from the high price tag and storied moniker - just ask Lady Gaga, who collaborated on the art for an earlier release. Having spent nearly 12 years in the cellar, some age means you are rewarded if you want to think about each sip. The finish, is redolent with subtle bursts of raspberries, wild strawberries and some white flowers. It's a silky, well-structured sip that offers a long finish.
For the environmentally conscious mom, seek out Telmont - it's made from a pretty nearly 100 percent chardonnay base, giving it a zippy profile, rounded with the touch of red wine that yields that lovely color. But this Champagne house is just as focused on environmental concerns as beautiful juice - they've eliminated gift boxes to cut down on packaging, the vineyard will be entirely organic by 2031, all electricity comes from renewable sources, and they transport their product only by boat. To further reduce environmental impact, the brand has launched a pioneering experiment to reduce the weight of its glass bottles, working with French glassmaker Verallia, to decrease the current weight of 835 grams to an even lighter bottle, weighing 800 grams. If successful, the brand will roll out with the first bottles of 'Telmont Réserve Brut’ (aged a minimum of three years) in 2025 - an initiative that could help all of Champagne reduce its carbon footprint.
For the mom who starts trends rather than following them, get this gorgeous deep-pink Jean Baillette-Prudhomme. Made from 100 percent old vine pinot noir, it sings of its terroir rather than following a more traditional flavor profile, with toasty notes followed by bright cherries. It is a brut nature style, meaning the vintner doesn’t add the sugar mix called a “dosage” that many houses use to balance acidity. This “grower Champagne” (the person who grew the grapes also made the wine) was exclusively made for fatcork, a company that specializes in small production grower Champagne. If your mom appreciates unique tipples, consider ordering La Vie en Rosé ($199), which includes a bottle of the Jean Baillette-Prudhomme, the more traditionally made Mathieu Gandon Rose ($65), which is luscious with summery raspberries, and a bottle of Hervieux-Dumez Rosé Extra Brut, a jammy, jewel-toned Champagne with a tart finish.
For the mom who prefers red wine, consider Alfred Gratien (SRP: $70) —its lovely yeasty nose gives way to an intense bright raspberry palate, a firm structure and a round finish. This is definitely elegant, but with a backbone that invites pairing with a spicy sausage or a multi-course brunch rather than a triple-crème cheese. Established in 1864, Alfred Gratien’s cellars are more than 100 years old – where this lovely wine spends at least four years before release.
For the mom who likes big California chardonnay, track down Ayala Rose Majeur (SRP: $72) – with a dosage of 7 grams per liter, it is not a sweet wine, but it sits at the rounder side of the Champagne spectrum. For reference, brut has a dosage of less than 2 grams per liter, while demi-sec is ranked as under 8.3 g/l. Rosé Majeur is a generous wine, made with about 50 percent chardonnay, making it lovely for just sipping, perhaps with some tea sandwiches.
For the mom who prizes traditional elegance, try this lovely minerally offering from Maison Henriot—the Champagne house introduced it in the early 1980s, when the 7th generation of the family was at the helm. Subsequently, the house has focused on replicating that graceful flavor profile, achieving those singular aromas by blending specific vintages and years. Always a multi-vintage mix containing the three main grape varieties in Champagne: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Meunier, each year, the cuvée is produced from a selection of grapes with distinctive aromatic freshness and minerality. The cuvée is blended with still red wine (produced from maceration of the skins and pulp of the grapes) from a parcel nestled in the heart of the Aÿ Cru. Depending on the year, it represents 8 percent to 10 percent in the blend.
Okay, so this Gloria Ferrer is not Champagne, coming as it does from Sonoma, but it shares an elegant Champagne profile (although lusher and riper, with kiwi and blood orange reflecting that California sunshine) and offers a unique gift idea. Whether you want to bond with your mom from far away – or she just wants you to call sometimes, you can organize a virtual tasting experience led by a trusted wine educator and drink together. Choose anything from pairing bubbles with chocolate to a sparkling wine 101 class and invite far-flung relative