Champagne Day: Franck Pascal Tolerance n/v Rose Brut

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I often find Rose Champagnes overly dense and sweet for my tastes. I lean much more towards the lean, precise blanc de blanc style and the no dosage wines of Marie-Courtin and Cedric Bouchard.

However, when tasked with pairing Champagne with a range of courses from seafood to hangar steak for a wonderful meal at Seattle’s Tilth, Rose was my best bet. But how to marry my stylistic preference with diversity?

Biodynamics in Champagne

Taking over his family’s small 4 hectare estate in the Marne in 1994, Pascal aimed for biodynamics from the outset and achieved full biodynamics by 2002. Biodynamics is quite difficult for the Champagne region, given its extreme climate and propensity for rot and mildew.

Pascal’s commitment to biodynamics stems from his experience as an army scientist studying the impact of chemical weapons on humans. He recognized that many of these chemicals were also used for agriculture and, as such, was convinced he had to avoid them.

Density and Focus

Excitingly for me, Pascal makes his wines with low (or sometimes no) dosage – focusing on the quality of the fruit and extract to give the wine balance and character. With a pretty low dosage of 4.5g/l in the Tolerance, the resulting wine works wonderfully and is extremely extracted and flavourful but also dry, harmonious and focused in the finish. This is amongst the very best Rose Champagne’s I’ve had.

The soils are clay, flint and limestone and the wine a mix of 58% Pinot Meunier, 39% Pinot Noir, and 3% Chardonnay.

$65 at Pike and Western, Seattle


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