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New Pink Fizz on Our Drinking List

Blimey. I retasted, last night, the first pink champagne that we've ever shown on our drinking wine list and, boy, it's a goodie: one of those wines that provokes a further thought or observation with each new sip. Far from being frivolous, pink champagne can offer up something of a transcendental experience. I have only ever known two wines render a packed room speechless. On both occasions the room contained a mix of wine trade and "laymen" and both times it was the same cuvée, just different vintages: Dom Pérignon rosé. Don't knock it!

This rather makes me think of my early experiences in the wine trade. As an oily newbie, I didn't get invited to the sort of tastings I am now privileged to attend, yet I was determined to educate myself in the ways of the classics. To that end, I used to spend my measly pay packet on expensive bottles of wine. What, after all, are you going to learn about white burgundy by drinking a £3.99 bottle of white Macon? What I am trying to say is that I don't mind people being rude about pink champagne as long as they've tried some of the really good examples. Thereafter, I'll simply consider them out-and-out wrong, rather than simply misguided!

Anyhoo...back to this pink fizz: non-vintage Réserve Rosée, Philipponnat. I selected it having tasted it in London, at which time I thought it was quite the best pink wine in the room. At the time, the room in question held the biggest champagne tasting in the UK's calendar, so this was no mean feat.

I grovelled and a sample was sent down to the office. How could I expect Victoria to sell the stuff if she hadn't tasted it?! And Victoria being pregnant, a small tasting was all she required. And the bottle being opened...

I relished every mouthful. I cogitated and sipped; I sipped and sighed. I wrote a new tasting note and here it is:

"There are rich aromas of red fruit - plum and raspberry - alongside hints of coffee and chocolate to the delicious nose. There are slightly meaty, Pinot notes and a definite smell of crab-apples. Chocolate orange. The fizz is lively in the glass and very fine in the mouth, brushing the tongue with cashmere bubbles. The palate is rich and fresh at the same time. There are more mocha notes, as well as a profound minerality that becomes crumbly/chalky with aeration. Great length."

It's a good sign when one cannot put down the glass! If web-hopping's your thing, here's Philipponnat's site:

Almost forgot to mention...this wine is available on our website It is priced at £354 inc. VAT per dozen, which is quite a bit, but not for fluid of this class.
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