The days are long gone when a birthday or an anniversary was needed to pop open a bottle of bubbles. Some days, just reaching 5:00 p.m. calls for a celebration. Luckily, producers worldwide have espoused the Champagne method (a.k.a. méthode traditionnelle) as their own—utilizing Champagne’s signature second fermentation in the bottle. The second fermentation and then the aging in bottle is the key to the style of these wines, providing the toasty aromas and the silky mouthfeel, not to mention the tiny and persistent bubbles. This bottle of rosé is crafted by Dr. Tony Jordan—one of the preeminent sparkling winemakers in the world, whose CV includes long stints at Moet Hennessy’s Domaine Chandon, Cape Mentelle and Cloudy Bay. Is there any wonder why this wine tasted in a blind setting could easily be mistaken for Champagne? The vivid pink color instantly charms, followed by alluring aromas of rose petal, raspberry, and brioche. While it is an ideal glass unaccompanied, it is also a consummate pairing with BBQ, roasted salmon, and salty snacks. Monday night? Who cares. Pop it and it instantly feels like Friday.
Given that Champagne is one of the northernmost wine regions on the planet, it follows that the southernmost region would also have such success as well. The secret is the cool climate, with ample sunlight hours during the growing season. During the summer months, the sun often doesn’t set until well after 10:00 p.m., and rises before 6:00 a.m, while maintaining cool daytime temperatures. The Akarua Rosé NV takes full advantage of this, maintaining ripe, powerful fruit with vibrant acids and lower alcohols necessary for great sparkling wine.
Under Dr. Jordan’s direction, the lots of sustainably-farmed, estate-grown grapes are hand harvested and vinified separately. The final blend of 38% Pinot Noir and 62% Chardonnay is composed of current vintage wines, as well as 15% of mature vintages. The exact years are a house secret, but given the complexity of this cuvée, expect significant development, à la Krug. Whether you're looking for the hippest in southern hemisphere wine, or for a new supply of Champagne-quality bubbles, the Akarua Rosé NV is the sparkler for you. The ambition of this wine is clear in every glass, and you’d likely be paying well north of $50 a bottle for Champagne of this caliber, if not more.