A bottle of fizz is always a nice gift, but when it comes to special occasions like marriage proposals, anniversaries or Valentine’s Day, nothing shouts romance quite like pink Champagne. That said, pink Champagne isn’t only for loved-up couples – it’s a lovely way to add some sparkle to all manner of celebratory events from birthday parties to hen dos, baby showers and summer garden parties. In fact, here at SquareMeal we feel that pink Champagne should be considered far more often than it tends to be.
You might be tempted by a regular bottle of expensive Champagne which is always a worthy choice as far as we’re concerned. However, the quality of rose Champagne is better than ever at the moment, thanks to warmer summers and riper fruit, so we think it’s well worth mixing things up a little. Also, there’s no doubt that something a little bit special about glasses full of pink bubbly.
With so many brands to choose from though, how do you know which bottle of pink Champagne will strike the right note? These days most premium Champagne houses produce at least one pink Champagne so it really can be a bit of a lucky dip when choosing, if you don’t know what you’re looking for. To give you a hand we’ve hand-picked a selection of our favourite rose Champagnes in ascending price order below, so that next time it comes to buying a bottle of pink fizz you know which bottle to go for.
Not only does our guide explain why we like each bottle, it also helps to match the right rose Champagne to the occasion thanks to tasting notes and prices, so that you know you're buying the best bottle, whatever the celebration. And remember: it might be better to give than to receive, but make sure you’re there when the bottle is opened.
Nicolas Feuillatte Rosé
Nicolas Feuillatte, the biggest brand in France but also one of the most youthful (founded in 1972), produces a larger number of different pink styles than almost any other house in Champagne. Réserve Exclusive is the flagship, with the emphasis firmly on a fruit-driven mainly black grape palate. Clean-cut, exuberant and refreshing, this is a canny buy. We note there’s also an attractive half bottle but, why buy half the amount of something this good?
Buy it: £35, John Lewis
Ayala Rose Majeur Champagne
Winemaker Caroline Latrive’s beautiful, pink-tinged wine has intrinsic elegance on account of the Chardonnay grapes that go into the blend, but it’s also generous owing to a decent glug of top cru Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims. Fresh herbs and strawberries on the nose lead into a restrained palate hinting at red berries and freshly picked peaches on the palate, with a persistent mousse and a generous finish gilding the lily.
Buy it: £36.25, The Whisky Exchange
Piper Heidsieck Rosé Sauvage
No shrinking violet, this! The label’s shocking pink colour screams party, and the same could be said of the exuberant colour in the glass. This wine is unusual for being made by mixing red wine into the Brut NV blend in a ratio of around three parts white to one of red (most Champagne rosés use under a fifth red wine). The result is a hit of juicy black fruit – think cherries and blackberries – plus a dash of blood orange. Try it with fish and chips for a surprising, but winning combination.
Buy it: £38.95, The Whisky Exchange
Lanson Brut Rosé
This popular and widely available Champagne is a Pinot Noir-based blend displaying Lanson’s trademark zip and energy, tempered by a soft and creamy smoothness and accentuated by extra time on its lees. Its delicate pink colour and red berry nose adds appeal. Perfect with salmon, cheese or even turkey.
Buy it: £39.99 (£29.99 if you buy six bottles at once), Majestic
Pommery Brut Royal Rosé
If you’re gifting this fizz as a romantic gesture for Valentine's Day, the fabulously floral and decidedly feminine box is bound to appeal. But it’s not just the packaging - the contents are good too. A subtle floral and red fruit nose gives way to a lipsmackingly dry palate of red berries, soft tropical fruits, brioche and a touch of spice, which is balanced with good minerality and a creamy finish. A fitting tribute to much-loved Madame Pommery, nick-named the Lady of the Roses! Pair it with white meats, charcuterie or red fruity puddings.
Buy it: £45, Waitrose
Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé
The flagship brand for rosé Champagne always delivers with its red-fruit nose and fruity, elegant palate, held together with a firm structure that is the result of four years of ageing before release. Its stylish bottle only adds to the class of this Champagne and makes it a wonderful choice if you're looking for an extra-special gift for someone.
Buy it: £46.49, The Bottle Club
Drappier Rose Brut Nature Champagne
Small and classy, this producer’s wines are expressive, elegant and aromatic, and well worth seeking out. Based amidst the Pinot Noir grapes of Urville, it is the gentle macerating of the Pinot Noir skins which gives this rosé its pretty salmon pink colour, while the winemaking is all about precision. This reveals itself in spicy minerality and a hint of brioche balanced by strawberry fruit. Dry and delightfully racy.
Buy it: £48.95, The Whisky Exchange
Veuve Clicquot Rosé
This crowd-pleasing brand has clearly got its sights set on the art world with this beautiful artist gift box. Like artists who blend colours, Veuve Clicquot blends a unique collection of more than 400 reserve wines to make its non-vintage Champagne. In 2018, Clicquot celebrated 200 years of performing this art, which started when Madame Clicquot took the then radical step of using fine Bouzy-sourced red wine instead of an elderberry infusion to make her pink fizz.
Buy it: £51.45, The Whisky Exchange
This is a gift that demands to be cracked open immediately. To paraphrase Lily Bollinger, “I drink it when I’m happy. I drink it when I’m sad. Otherwise I never touch it… unless I’m thirsty.” Bollinger is a brand that has become synonymous with James Bond and its aphrodisiacal qualities have been on regular display throughout the novels and films. Bollinger Rosé is a superb new addition to the portfolio, demonstrating flavour, finesse and fullness on account of a weighty dose of reserve wines.
Buy it: £52, Waitrose; £105 (La Grande Année Brut Rosé Vintage), Waitrose
A favourite of sommeliers, Henriot oozes understated class with its classic, elegant wines. Pretty and pale in colour, it’s a rosé with bags of best-quality Côte des Blancs Chardonnay in the blend, emphasising fresh fruitiness with a seductive silky palate and rose-petal aromas. A gift of class that speaks volumes for the giver.
Buy it: £55.96, The Drink Shop
Moët & Chandon Rosé Impérial
Moët Rosé Impérial sends a celebratory message like no other brand. But the wine’s upfront fruitiness and approachability, together with its moreish textured palate and hint of spice on the finish, deserves thoughtful consideration as well as easy drinking.
Buy it: £54.99 (£36.99 if you buy six bottles at once), Majestic
Billecart-Salmon is a renowned producer of high-quality pink Champagne, and the Brut style is delicate with beautifully defined red-fruit aromas, lovely freshness and creamy texture. It’s easy on the eye, too, with its classic pale hue. And in Cuvée Elisabeth Salmon 2007, one of its three ‘founders’ cuvées’, it makes one of the top pink prestige lines around. Sophisticated stuff, sure to melt the recipient’s heart.
Buy it: £60 (Brut Rosé), Laithwaites; £160 (Cuvée Elisabeth Salmon 2007), The Whisky Exchange
Pol Roger 2012 Rose Vintage Champagne
As this Champagne maker is known for being popular among dignitaries and prime ministers, including the late, great Winston Churchill, it should come as no surprise that its Rosé Vintage is as impressive as its regular brut Champagne. Aged for at least seven years before release, this pink Champagne possesses a distinctly fruity flavour that pairs well with oily fish, sushi and fruity desserts.
Buy it: £80, Waitrose Cellar
Dom Perignon 2006 Rose Champagne
If you’re looking to impress, you’re almost certain to succeed with this particular rose Champagne. Presented in a stylish gift box, this highly-respected Champagne house’s rose Champagne is smoky and intense, with hints of dark spices, cocoa and candied orange. It’s pricey, but perfect for a Christmas Day toast before tucking into a five-bird roast with cranberry sauce.
Buy it: £275, The Whisky Exchange
Louis Roederer Cristal Rosé
Beautifully presented with rose gold labels and packaged in a smart gold box, this blush Champagne is the ultimate gift for someone you love (a lot). Matured for seven years, this 2005 Cristal rose Champagne possesses delicate notes of white peach, buttery pastry and roasted hazelnuts that are perfect for summer sipping with or without food.
Buy it: £615, The Whisky Exchange
How to serve Champagne
Best Temperature: 10- 12°C
Chill in the fridge for 3 hours, the freezer for 10 minutes or an ice bucket for 15 minutes
Vintage and prestige cuvée Champagne is best served slightly warmer
Drinking Champagne at around 10 to 12°C will allow the aromas to be released. On the palate the often delicate flavours will be ‘numbed’ if served too cold, while at warmer temperatures the flavours will be better absorbed into the palate.
Try serving Champagne chilled and then letting it warm up in the glass. You will see how the character changes and the flavours evolve.
Words: Mark de Wesselow, Giles Fallowfield and Deborah Reda
Looking for more imbibing inspiration? Check out our round-up of London Restaurants with the best Champagne lists.