What Does Rosé de Saignée Taste Like?
28th April 2022
Don’t we all love rosé sparkling wine? Well, I hope you nodded in agreement with me and especially since we have such a wide choice today that now includes Prosecco (DOC rosé)! Rosé labels are available globally and offer such a rich red berry fruity tasting experience from Champagne to Method Cap Classique. Most sparkling wine producers will have a rosé or two up their sleeve, though sometimes you might get really lucky and spot a Rosé de Saignée on the list.
So, what is Rosé de Saignée? A less common process is the saignée method which translates to English as ‘bleeding’ method. A more labour intensive way to produce rosé Champagne in that the colour from the skins of the red grapes during the pressing is released into the blend. The longer the skin contact is the darker the Champagne will become. Usually, a rosé de saignée Champagne will be a darker shade over the assemblage options. source Glass of Bubbly
For me, the extra bonus with regards to a rosé de saignée is its far better adaptability towards pairing with fine gastronomic dishes – Its richer and more in-depth flavours lends itself well to a broad selection of foods and styles of cooking. It holds something a touch more intriguing and dare I say, sexy, over standard rosé which though a fine style of wine itself it can sometimes be a touch on the weaker side and for show more so over tasting experience.
I decided to ask one of our greatest sparkling wine experts and author, Michael Edwards, for his thoughts towards rosé de saignée and how it sets itself apart from rosé:
“The essential difference between Champagne Rosé and Rosé de Saignée is that a large number of houses (maisons) have traditionally blended white wine into the Rosé cuvée in order to achieve the essential elegance of Champagne and consistency of colour. By contrast, Rosé de Saignée (Saignée meaning bled in English) is a more artisanal way of making rosé in which colour is extracted by bleeding colour from the fermenting grape skins; its boon that the taste of the wine’s origin, its terroir, is fully expressed, though as a natural product the wine’s colour may differ release by release. Saignée is favoured by leading grower domaines and the House of Laurent-Perrier. Also more enlightened bijou maisons nowadays -eg Lallier- put more focus and praise on the base wine in a NV blend. ”
Rosé de saignée / saignée can be found both in the still and sparkling sections with many countries producing labels from the old world to the new world. The process of making rosé de saignée is quite simple in that black grapes (for producing red wines) are picked, crushed and put into the fermentation vat where after a fairly short period of time (2 hours to 48 hours) a whole / small portion is drained off when it hits the perfect colour as decided by the winemaker. This juice / must is then allowed to ferment on its own and then goes on to be aged / bottled / served.
The best way to discover what rosé de saignée tastes like is of course to open up a bottle and experience the aromas and flavours! For this article I wanted to take a look at two rosé de saignée one from the Champagne region of France and the other an English sparkling wine:
Champagne Laurent Lequart (Rosé de) Saignée de Meunier Extra Dry – Winner of the ‘Michael Edwards’ Trophy 2021 – Tasting notes: “Creamy red berries / raspberry, crushed strawberry, touch of burnt pastry on the nose. Wonderful red berry fruity style in the palate with natural sweetness is coming through to delight you – added strawberry, creamy, watermelon, pink candy sweets. Excellent!”
Fox & Fox Expression Saignée Rosé 2014 Brut £42 per bottle – Gold Medal Winner ‘Meditation‘ 2021 – Tasting notes: “Rhubarb, red pears, soft sweet spices, fresh dough, pink rose petals on the nose. Dry flavours, bold. Crisp crushed red berries and garden strawberries, touch of garden nettles, near ripe red apple skins and so much more.“
Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.