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Billecart-Salmon Cuvée Elisabeth Salmon Brut Rosé 2000

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Sink the pink.
Sink the pink.

Yesterday started with brunch at Waterfront hotel The Cape Grace to celebrate a decade of Ken Forrester Wines importing Champagne Billecart-Salmon into South Africa. How much of an impact has the recession affected local sales? Forrester is discreet about quite how much he sells but says “Volumes pretty much plateaued last year and I’m determined to do better in 2011.”

Respected French wine magazine La Revue du Vin de France tasted all the great names of Champagne in December 2010 and Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve came top of the non-vintage wines, while the Brut Rosé won its category too

Locally, the Brut Rosé Non-Vintage (R850 a bottle retail) outsells anything else in the range, popular with the “don’t hate because I’m beautiful” patrons of establishments like The Grand Café in Granger Bay.

At brunch, I thought it would be silly to pass up on the vintage Rosé Elisabeth Salmon 2000 (R1 599 a bottle). This bubbly consists of equal parts Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vinified as a white wine to which a tiny portion of Pinot Noir vinified as a red wine is added at dosage stage.  It  impressed with intense red fruit as well as some spicy secondary character on nose and palate. Rich and full with gentle acidity, I found it complex and quite vinous. A Champagne of contemplation, if a little beyond my budget.

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