Sparkling Rosé: excluding Champagne

2014: Gold: 3; Silver: 8; Bronze: 6; Commended: 5
2013: Gold: 2; Silver: 2; Bronze: 3
Must-list index: 45%
Overall performance SWA 2014: A-


Eight years ago we were lucky to get any pink fizz Golds at all from outside Champagne, but on this evidence, the revolution is so well advanced that, in true Hollywood style, the pupil has now become the master. All of the pink fizz on our 2014 Gold List came from outside Champagne, and the feedback was positive from the start.

‘There were plenty of different styles, and lots of diversity,’ said Riccardo Marcon of Hakkasan Mayfair. ‘Personally I found some elegance in the wines I tasted and at these prices that was remarkable.’

Just take a look at the wines opposite. They go from cheap to expensive; from light and frothy to serious and food-friendly; from the windswept elegance of the South Downs to Penedès and the Adelaide Hills. It’s as if all the excitement that was lacking in the Champagne Rosé category was bottled up and added to this section of the competition.

‘It was a very good flight,’ said Nick Chiu of Hotel du Vin Tunbridge Wells. ‘And they were very good value for money.’

The only question, as so often, is customer prejudice. ‘They will go for Champagne when they see it on the list instead of sparkling wine,’ sighed Nicolá Gomes De Jesus from Baku. ‘At the end of the day, you’re running a business and you have to be sure that you can sell them on.’

The key is in having a sommelier team that believes strongly enough in the wines to be able to hand- sell them. And these were simply so good for the money that they completely justified such optimism. Sommeliers of Britain, start your engines…

FOOTNOTE: Includes other sparkling rosés other than Champagne, except those that are frizzante, semi-sweet or have a lower abv.

From the Tasting Teams

‘I think it was a nice flight. Even if we’re not in Champagne, we’re trying to find balance in terms of acidity, complexity of flavour, and for the best wines here it’s a really high standard and really good value for money.’ Lionel Periner, The Lucky Onion

‘There’s an overlap with Champagne only if you list the low-end Champagnes. If you don’t, you don’t have that barrier on the list.’ Maxwell Allwood, Alimentum