17th June, 2013 by Rupert Millar
Benoît Gouez, chef de cave at Moët & Chandon, has stated his belief that there is still room to grow the rosé Champagne category – though at a slower rate than before.
At a recent tasting of rosé base wines in London, Gouez declared that Moët was, “seriously dedicated to making rosé.”
Speaking to the drinks business Gouez explained that rosé now accounted for 20% of Moët’s production and that total production in the region has risen from 3% to over 10% since 1998.
But, he added, despite such rapid growth there was, “still some margin for growth but not at the same pace as in previous years.
“In the last few years growth was in double digits but that can’t continue. Can we push our production to 25%? Why not?
“There will be a limit,” he warned, “there will be a limit because of the quality of the grapes.”
Earlier, Gouez had begun his talk by explaining that rosé was not a new addition to Champagne.
He said that the house had a letter from Napoleon Bonaparte in 1801 which specifically asks for “rozé” to be disgorged from the 1799 vintage – the fact it had to be disgorged being proof, said Gouez, that it was a sparkling rosé and not a still wine.
“Rosé has always existed,” he continued, “but it was always less visible than white because of the difficulty of producing red wines.
“For good red wines you need ripe tannins, which requires sun and warmth, something we don’t always get in Champagne.
“Vintage rosé in particular needs exceptional conditions and so historically there was always a limited amount of it.”
Nonetheless, Moët is investing in new facilities to help bolster its rosé production, with a winery in the Aube region planned.