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Lapin Rouille Champagne
About Lapin Rouille Champagne
I don’t have much experience with champagne or even sparkling wine, but I was so excited to receive this bottle of Lapin Rouille Champagne as a New Years gift from my mother. And, not only was this a perfect start to the new year, but also a great introduction to an exciting new champagne brand.
Lapin Rouille Champagne is the debut product from Rusty Rabbit International, a business consultancy company based in London. Though not known primarily as a spirits distributor, Rusty Rabbit’s drink division has been slowly expanding under CEO Nicole Johnson, which also gives them the distinction of the first female black-owned champagne in the UK and the second in all of Europe. And now, their expansion to the US makes them the only female black-owned champagne in the country.
Lapin Rouille is produced in collaboration with David Bourdaire, and his vineyard in a small village outside of Reims in northern France. Sparkling wines can only be called champagne if they come the champagne region of France, and Reims sits right in the center.
The cold northern climate can be tough for some variety of grapes, so the vineyard grows the frost resistant Pinot Meunier. Not only do they give champagne a vibrant and acidic flavor, but they ripen and mature quickly, so they’re great for non-vintage Champagnes like Lapin Rouille.
❖ Spirit: Champagne
❖ Distillery: Rusty Rabbit International
❖ ABV: 12%
❖ High Price
My Tasting Notes
❖ Color: Pale Gold
❖ Nose: Apple, Grapes, Slight Citrus
❖ Taste: Crisp, Dry, Tart Citrus, Slight Acidity, Sweet Grape and Fruit Notes
❖ Finish: Long Finish, Slightly Sweet Citrus
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1 oz Gin
3 oz Champagne
❖ Add syrup, lemon and gin to a shaker and shake until chilled.
❖ Strain into a champagne flute and top with champagne
❖ Stir gently to combine then garnish with a lemon peel
Since this is my first time trying an actual champagne and not a sparkling wine, I thought it would be fun to make the infamous French 75. It’s a classic cocktail from 1927 that’s named for the French army’s 75mm field gun, and this particular recipe came from Cocktails Made Simple. I’ve made this cocktail with other sparkling wines before, so I was curious if there was a noticeable difference.
The Lapin Rouille Champagne balances well with the the other ingredients to make a really refreshing cocktail. The citrus notes work well with lemon juice, and gin adds just a hint of juniper. Lapin Rouille is tart, so the sugar helps with the balance. The gin had a much stronger presence the other times I’ve made this cocktail, but this champagne really stood out.
Champagne is a bit outside my usual comfort-zone, but I can at least say Lapin Rouille Champagne is my favorite champagne/sparkling wine. The tart citrus, sweet grape, and fruit notes balanced well, and I loved the slight acidity.
My only reservation is the price. Lapin Rouille is listed at about $70 on the Rusty Rabbit website, and this price range can carry lofty expectations. But, I think the price is justified, as I quite enjoyed Lapin Rouille in cocktails and especially by itself. I’ll probably pick up another bottle in the near future, and I also look forward to checking out other champagnes in this price range for comparison.
It’s also great to see more minority and female owned businesses, and I’m really looking forward to what Rusty Rabbit does next.
As always, drink responsibly.
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