Rosé Champagne in a Class of its Own
Whether you prefer the classic, Old World grandeur at La Tour d’Argent and The Ritz London, or the refined, simple elegance at Nobu, you can savour Laurent-Perrier’s Cuvée Rosé. Why? When it comes to Rosé Champagne, the iconic Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé is in a class of its own. Securing this very special allocation wasn’t easy, as the lion’s share was slated for top sommeliers who had heard that in January of this year Laurent-Perrier newly disgorged the latest “Cuvée Rosé” — and a shipment of those just-disgorged bottles just hit U.S. shores. These bottles are as fresh and vibrant as can be, direct from the cellars in the Tours-sur-Marne Grand Cru just east of Épernay. A mainstay at the world’s gastronomic palaces. 96 points from The Connoisseurs’ Guide, for the DEFINITIVE Rosé Champagne.
The release of the first “Cuvée Rosé” in 1968 was a turning point for Laurent-Perrier. The rounded, iconic bottles — modeled after those from the time of King Henry IV — leapt onto the world stage, catapulting the brand to stardom. Reviews poured in, sommeliers came knocking, demand skyrocketed.
But before the hoopla, before the accolades, there was visionary owner Bernard de Nonancourt. A legend in his own right, de Nonancourt was a member of the French Resistance during World War II. In 1945, Sergeant de Nonancourt stormed Hitler’s private cellar in Bavaria, blowing the steel doors off their hinges to uncover 500,000 bottles of wine. Following the war, de Nonancourt embarked on a four-year apprenticeship to learn everything he could about Champagne.
In 1948, after working on every side of the wine business, de Nonancourt was handed the keys to Laurent-Perrier, owned by his family since 1939. Bernard took off like a rocket, immersing himself in the business, compelled to move it forward. His first major move came in 1959 with the release of the “Grand Siècle” cuvée. Until then, a high-end champagne made across different vintages was unheard of, but to de Nonancourt it made perfect sense — “the best of the best, with the best,” as he would describe it.
The brilliant “Cuvée Rosé” was an extension of this idea, and more. Made across three vintages, de Nonancourt’s Rosé was, and still is, produced with 100% Pinot Noir, whose Grand Cru vineyards in Montagne de Reims include Ambonnay, Verzenay, and the illustrious Bouzy. De Nonancourt chose the ancient saignée method of vinification, opting to “bleed” the juice from the must after limited contact with the skins, resulting in the champagne’s radiant color.
The critical acclaim following the wine’s initial release in 1968 propelled de Nonancourt and Laurent-Perrier into the rarefied air of Champagne royalty. Today, the Cuvée Rosé remains the benchmark for pink Champagne. At Michelin-starred gastronomic palaces — Paris’ La Tour d’Argent, London’s Ritz, NYC’s Nobu — the Cuvée Rosé is paired with foie gras canapes and bigeye tuna sashimi alike, a testament to the heroics of one Bernard de Nonancourt. Or, as he’s known in the industry, “Le Grand Bernard.”