When you were a child, summer was synonymous with ice cream; now the season’s siren call belongs to rosé. Just a whiff of that floral, raspberry aroma is enough to transport you to a sunnier place. But this year, elevate your style and graduate to bubbles. Sparkling rosés and pink Champagnes have never been more ubiquitous, or more affordable. And there are anniversaries we need to celebrate. For one, it’s 200 years since Madame Clicquot created the first-ever blended rosé Champagne. Before the good lady began mixing red and white wines, pink Champagne was just regular fizz colored with elderberries. Meanwhile, Moët & Chandon’s flagship Moët Impérial, named for Napoleon, turns 150 next year.
Both houses have steadily increased their output of rosé Champagnes, fueled by demand but also by global warming, which has made for a more consistent yield of pinot noir grapes in the Champagne region. Until recently, rosé Champagnes were only produced in vintage years — roughly three times a decade. It wasn’t until the late 1990s that Moët began making nonvintage rosé, and it now accounts for 10 percent of all Moët’s production, up from around two percent a few decades ago. But even nonvintage Champagne is not for everyday consumption. Sparkling rosé from Italy lacks the subtlety — and sense of occasion — of Moët or Clicquot, but it won’t leave your wallet feeling as light, either. A dry sparkling pinot noir like Contadi Castaldi’s Franciacorta Rosé from Lombardy in northern Italy, for example, is less than $30, while a sparking prosecco like Mionetto Rosé, with its peach pink hue, will get a garden party started for the “we’ll take a third glass” price of $14 a bottle. You can save the Moët for when the guests have gone.
Keep scrolling for five festive, affordable bubblies.
With the largest estate in Champagne (covering some 230 of the 319 wine villages that are certified “Champagne”) Moët can afford to be choosy. The Imperial Rosé bursts with fresh fruit while retaining a crisp, clean body. Benoît Gouez, chief winemaker of Moët & Chandon, describes it as “frank” and “generous.” Sounds like the perfect companion.
Good old widow (veuve in French) Clicquot would be happy to see how her 200-year-old creation fares today. A delicate but lively rosé on the right side of sweet with a nice, almondy finish, its iconic label and consistent quality make it among the most distinctive Champagnes in the world.