Stateside, we like to think of rosé as the summer wine that fuels our #roséallday fantasies. Yet, the pale pink wine of our summer days, has long been the drink of choice for southern France and Mediterranean beach-goers. And, for the most awarded cellar master in the world, Chef de Cave Régis Camus, rosé has long held a unique place on his production radar.
“I created the first Rare Champagne rosé ever in 2007. The following year I took the liberty of creating a sequel. I didn’t decide it, nature did,” says the humble Camus, who just debuted the brand’s 2008 Rare Rosé in June 2019. “2007 is sensual and refined. 2008 is precisely gracious.”
Tracing back to 1785, Rare Champagne received its first accolades under the Heidsieck & Cie name, when owner Florens-Louis Heidsieck presented a rare vintage to Marie-Antoinette; “a cuvee worthy of a queen.” The brand quickly became celebrated for creating exceptional vintages of limited production, which today, Camus now spearheads as Rare Champagne; ensuring the brand’s standards remain of the utmost luxury and distinction.
For Camus, this includes constantly evolving the brand’s offerings and transcending pre-existing boundaries, which is why he followed his intuition in 2007 to create a rosé champagne, and once again in 2008. “It was a real challenge, so I decided to carry on anyway,” he shares.
Though releasing two vintage rosé champagnes from two consecutive years may present an illusion that this is an easy feat, Camus ensures otherwise, “Creating rosé is a massive challenge for a Chef de Cave.” So much so, that his predecessors at Rare Champagne discouraged him from even attempting it. He tells me, “As you might have noticed, I don’t follow the rules!”
Camus’ rebel attitude embraced the hurdles he had to overcome for the rosé vintage to succeed. He explains, “One of the main concerns is the color, as it is the first thing customers will see. You need to find the perfect balance between the color you target and the taste you actually want in the wine—and, you have to create the color you want a decade after the vintage has been declared.”
On June 25, Camus revealed the subtle blush achieved with his Rare Rosé Millésime 2008 as he raised a glass to launch the vintage (which he advises can be enjoyed until 2030). The 70% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir rosé is an attest to Camus’ skill as a cellar master, and commitment to pridefully embodying the Rare Champagne standard.
This standard is furthered through brand recognition and partnerships with luxury, French companies including Mellerio to individually decorate Rare Champagne’s bottles, Petrossian to promote caviar and champagne pairings, and the all-business class airline La Compagnie. “We share the same values of excellence with La Compagnie,” says Camus explaining why Rare Rosé was originally previewed on La Compagnie’s new Airbus A321, giving flyers an exclusive first taste prior to the rosé’s launch. “We have partnered with them since the birth of the company [five years ago].”
So what’s next for Camus and Rare Champagne? The somewhat secretive Chef de Cave can’t explicitly share, but he is able to share his thoughts on what may be a common misconception about his rosy bubbles. “Rosé is [not] only for the ladies,” he shares. “I personally love rosé; it’s a specific and unique type of champagne that has its own codes and personality.” And just what should we be enjoying it with to compliment these unique codes? Firstly, Camus advises that Rare Rosé must be served chilled. Secondly, he recommends his favorite pairings of prawn risotto, red meat, and mozzarella di bufala—though he adds, “It really is the ideal accompaniment from appetizer to dessert.”