Sometimes, you just have to indulge yourself. And when you do, reaching for Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé will provide a sensual and satisfying experience.
Laurent-Perrier is the third largest-selling Champagne brand in the world, as well as the biggest family-owned brand. Founded in 1812, it was purchased in 1939 by Marie-Louise Lanson de Nonancourt, a tough woman who hid her entire inventory from the Nazis while her sons fought in World War II. One of those sons, Bernard, ran the company until his death in 2010, and his two daughters are currently in charge. The Laurent-Perrier group owns other prestigious labels such as Delamotte and Salon.
The hallmarks of Laurent-Perrier are freshness, lightness, balance and elegance. For more than two centuries, it has been a connoisseur’s Champagne which has set an epicurean example for others to follow. It has also been a trailblazer, as evidenced by their 1968 release of Cuvée Rosé at a time when Rosé Champagne had a negative image in both Europe and America.
Those days are long gone, and Rosé Champagne now is regarded as a treat for special occasions. Part of that image is rarity, which is not accidental: the major houses keep their output purposely low. Part of it is price, which is kept high by insufficient demand. And of course, the current mania for rosé in all its forms doesn’t hurt either.
Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé NV Brut ($75) is produced in a winery solely dedicated to its production, and the Champagne is packaged in an ancient bottle said to have been inspired by King Henri IV, the French monarch assassinated in 1610. It has a pale salmon color, tightly packed streams of tiny bubbles, and a nose accented with whiffs of wild strawberries and brioche. In the mouth, it explodes with a profusion of red fruit flavors, nicely balanced by good acidity and framed by considerable depth and grip. The acidity carries the red berry notes onto the finish, where it combines with toast and currants.
In the years when I did a wine show on NPR, I used to conclude interviews by asking guests about their favorite wine to drink in a hot tub. Combined with the right person, this one would do it for me.
Mark Spivak specializes in wine, spirits, food, restaurants and culinary travel. He is the author of several books on distilled spirits and the cocktail culture. Friend of the Devil, his first novel, was released in 2016; his second novel, The American Crusade, a political thriller set during the invasion of Iraq, is now available for pre-order on Amazon.