Chandon, Moet et Chandon’s sparkling wine from Napa Valley, has been issuing a limited-edition red, white and blue bottle of its brut sparkling wine for the past six years; a different design each year.
Founded in 1973 by venerable French champagne house Moët & Chandon, Chandon was the first American sparkling wine venture established by a French Champagne house in Napa Valley. Its Napa Valley vineyard holdings, Chandon grows the traditional French champagne grapes: chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier.
They also create limited-edition bottles for New Year’s Eve; but let’s get back to the red, white and blue.
The bottles of Chandon Brut in American flag colors bottle was so popular, that three years ago the winery launched a companion bottle of Chandon Rosé.
If you’re pouring bubbly over Memorial Day and Independence Day weekends, these peak-chic bottles are the ones to pour.
It’s the same delicious Chandon Brut and Rosé, in standard sizes and minis—the latter a festive party favor.
The bottles, officially called the American Summer Limited Edition, are available Memorial Day through Labor Day at select retailers.
If your wine and liquor store doesn’t carry them, they can order them for you by the case. You can purchase them at Chandon.com as well.
Limited Edition Brut Classic Summer 2017 is $26.00/750 ml bottle, $310/case. Minis (quarter bottles) are $8/bottle, $192/case.
Limited Edition Rosé Summer 2017 is $28.00/50 ml bottle, $336/case. Minis are $9/bottle, $262/case.
WHY IS ROSÉ CHAMPAGNE MORE EXPENSIVE?
Whether from Champagne or another region of the world that produces sparkling wines*, sparkling rosé champagne is typically more expensive than sparkling white wine.
That’s because making it is more labor-intensive and time-consuming.
There are two ways to make rosé champagne. We’ll start off with the fact that there are two main wine grapes grown in the Champagne region: chardonnay (white grapes) and pinot noir (black grapes†). Champagne can be made from:
All white grapes, called blanc de blanc (meaning, white wine [champagne] from white grapes), made from chardonnay grapes and possibly some blending grapes. Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs is an example (here are more). “Blanc de blancs” will be on the label.
All red/black grapes, called blanc de noirs, made from pinot noir and/or pinot meunier grapes. The term means literally “white of blacks,” a white wine made from black grapes), These are more limited and more costly. Examples include Bollinger Vieilles Vignes Francaises Blanc de Noirs and Krug Clos d’Ambonnay (here are others). Here are others.
A combination. Most champagnes are a blend of chardonnay and pinot noir.
How Sparkling Rosé Is Made
Making a rosé takes extra steps. The most common method in the Champagne region is to blend still red wine into the champagne. The red wine produces deeper, more robust red fruit aromas.
The other approach, used by the top houses, is more complicated and more costly. During the part of the juice fermentation called maceration, the winemaker allows skin contact of the red grape skins, with the pressed white juice.
 Chandon’s 2017 American Summer Limited Edition sparkling wines (photo courtesy Chandon).  Moet and Chandon, the famed French champagne, planted its grape vines in Napa Valley to produce Chandon.  Rosé bubbly adds even more festiveness (photo Jacek Kadaj | Fotolia).
The process is very carefully monitored to extract the color, tannin and flavor compounds from the skin. It produces a more delicate flavor than blending in red wine.
(Champagne trivia: The coveted pale salmon color known as oeil-de-perdrix, partridge eye, which dates to the Middle Ages in Champagne. It gave its name to a style of rosé wine made in Switzerland. Here’s more information.)
Champagne houses pride themselves a consistent house style. The challenge with either approach to making rosé champagne is to create the same color year after year, even though the blend of grapes changes based on the harvest (i.e., the sweetness and other properties of the harvested grapes).
But…back to summer sipping: A sparkling wine lighter than champagne is best in the outdoor heat. Here are the different types of sparkling wine and sparkling rosé.
*Legally, only sparkling wine produced in the French region of Champagne can be called champagne. Everything else is properly called sparkling wine.
†Red wine grapes are referred to as black in the industry. Depending on varietal, they can range from dark red to purplish black in color.
‡By law, arbane, petit meslier, pinot blanc and pinot gris can also be used in the blend. Some producers use them to round out the flavors; but these grapes comprise just a fraction of the the grapes grown in the region.