Most people believe that rosé is made by blending both red and white wine together. They’re not incorrect, however, today’s rosé is a result of either skin contact or the Saignée bleeding process. It is champagne rosé that is made by blending both red and white wine. As champagne rosé doesn’t come by as easily as regular rosé wine, we were inclined to ask Chef Darren Chin of DC Restaurant how one should pair the former with food.

Chef Darren Chin is the newly-appointed Dom Perignon ambassador in Malaysia.

It was just as well, because Dom Perignon recently released the Dom Perignon Rosé 2006 and as the recently appointed ambassador for the brand, he crafted a degustation dinner menu where the champagne rosé in mention was paired with a rack of lamb. However, the lamb is all but part of the bigger picture. “Part of the dish are the garnishes and the sauce…I played around with the beetroot and apple compote to give the dish a bit of refreshment,” he says. “Otherwise, there would be too much meat texture and flavours going on.”

On the new rosé by Dom Perignon

The Dom Perignon Rosé 2006 is the fifth consecutive rosé debuted by the famed champagne house. On the nose, the rosé is ripe and complex with hints of dark spices, cocoa, which morph into a fruity aroma of roasted figs, apricot, and candied orange. On the palate, the rosé is intense and crisp. The mouthfeel is silky with a grainy touch of effervescent bubbles, sweet, yet with a pleasantly bitter edge.   

Chef Darren Chin
The Dom Perignon Rosé 2006 is the fifth consecutive champagne rosé from the brand.

Naturally, you can’t even begin to compare the likeness of this champagne rosé to regular rosé wine. The latter is fun, sweet, and is synonymous with languid summer days. Champagne rosé, on the other hand, speaks to a more refined crowd with a deeper appreciation for the complexity of flavours that it has achieved throughout the years. Dom Perignon Chef de Cave Vincent Chaperon says of the Rosé 2006: “A veritable ode to Pinot Noir, Dom Pérignon Rosé perfectly reveals the character of the grape – demanding, unpredictable and vivacious, and at the same time playful and spiritual.”

On the pairing of champagne rosé

The rules behind pairing food with champagne rosé can be very different compared to champagne blanc. The latter is more delicate and poses a risk of being overwhelmed if paired with heavier tasting food. However, the former is much more versatile. A simple rule of thumb to follow is to determine the grape varietal used to make the champagne rosé. “When you know the grape varietal and percentage of the grapes used, it’s easier to pick what food to pair it with,” says Chin.

The latest Vintage Blanc 2008 is released.
The Dom Perignon Rosé 2006 is paired with a rack of lamb.

In the case of the Dom Perignon Rosé 2006, it’s a good balance of pinot noir and chardonnay grapes. This, says the chef, gives you a lot of versatility to play around with food pairing. “You can pair it with oily dishes, maybe to a certain extent lightly spiced dishes,” suggests Chin. The key word here being “lightly spiced”, because stronger-flavoured ones including the likes of sambal and belachan can overwhelm and drown out the flavours of the champagne rosé. Chin suggests trying a very light coconut curry with kaffir lime and other coconut-based dishes.

If you prefer to not go down the spice road, try oilier and slightly heavy dishes. “Similarly, barbecue would work very well with this champagne rosé. You can draw the oil from the protein fat on the grill. If I may, even ayam percik would be great, minus the sweetness of the sauce,” he concludes.

(All images: Moët Hennessy Diageo Malaysia)

PohNee Chin
Editor, Kuala Lumpur
Poh Nee is the editor and writes about travel and drinks. When she's not living out her holiday dreams via Google Earth and sipping on an Old Fashioned down at the local bars, you can find her snug at home bingeing on Netflix and mystery fiction.