Meet the Rosémaker: Rita Jammet
You can tell a lot about someone by their Instagram feed. What La Caravelle owner Rita Jammet’s tells us is that–along with her friends and family–her life is filled with beautiful moments revolving around exquisite food and drink. Wherever Rita goes is instantly added to our must-try list and there’s good reason to trust she’s in the right place: she and her husband André owned one of New York’s most iconic haute cuisine restaurants, La Caravelle, where they were known for introducing innovative new chefs and cuisine until the James Beard-nominated restaurant closed in 2004. The restaurant’s name lives on with the Champagne company she and André now own. We’re ecstatic she shared with us more about their rich history with wine, their bubblé, and where everyone must go eat. (Plus a hot tip: Tetsu–Masa’s upcoming restaurant–has created a raspberry and pink peppercorn sorbet with their Rosé Champagne. Peep the pic.)
What’s your backstoré with Rosé bubblé? André’s family participated in the blending of wines for years when they owned one of Paris’ finest hotels: Le Bristol. The blending of proprietary wines is actually a process that dates back to the late 1700s, when Le Boeuf à la Mode was one of only a few restaurants in Paris, or all of France, for that matter (Le Boeuf à la Mode was established by André’s ancestors in 1792). Anectodalé, at Le Bristol, the House wines were selected and shipped by the prestigious Bordeaux First Growth Cru Classé Château La Mission Haut-Brion, in part because André’s father was the godchild of the then owner, Mrs. Woltner.
As André and I carry on a proud family tradition of creating proprietary wines, we honor the spirit of our former La Caravelle New York restaurant, which was founded in 1960. Both of us are passionate about Champagne, and we had the opportunity to have our own Champagne and introduce it in early 1998. André and I, when creating our wines, were making sure the wines reflect the image of La Caravelle: timeless classic and great quality for the price.
When did you first make your Rosé Champagne? I was obsessed with Rosé Champagne, and urged André and our Champagne producer to create our own. This was in the late 90’s. I kept insisting that Rosé Champagne was IT, only to fall on deaf ears (I was told “this will never catch on, men will not drink a pink beverage” etc.). I remember saying “Mark my words, Rosé Champagne is going to be BIG!” Anyway, my dream came true in 2008, when we started working with another producer, De Castellane, who agreed to produce our Rosé! And now, guess what our biggest seller is?
Tell us all everything we need to know about La Caravelle Rosé Champagne. Our producer De Castellane in Epernay, is part of the Laurent-Perrier Group, and the Winemaker for the group, Michel Fauconnet, and his team, are responsible for La Caravelle Rosé.
La Caravelle Rosé Champagne is non-vintage. The white base blend of our Rosé is 40% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir and 30% Pinot Meunier, all grapes originating from 70 selected Champagne villages, and composed of 3 vintages. Ours is a blended Rosé (as opposed to the bleeding Rosé also called Saignée, where the red grapes are left longer so the skin color bleeds in to the wine), therefore, some still Pinot Noir wine (from the villages of Aÿ and Bouzy) is blended in to the clear base blend, and that’s how the beautiful delicate salmon pink color is obtained. Then it’s aged for 2 years on the lees. Fun fact: Only Champagne (or sparkling wines) can be made by blending white and red grapes wines. There is a rich blend of floral and red berry notes evoking hits of cherry, almond, red currant, pomegranate and fennel. It’s ideal as an apéritif that will perfectly accompany an entire menu from salmon to white meats, as well as pairing particularly well with desserts that feature red berries.
What is your favorite thing to pair with your Rosé Champagne? Pizza, sushi, even burgers, barbecue! Such a versatile wine…
When you aren’t sipping bubbly, what’s your go-to drink? Leo Robitchek’s Hot Lips Margarita, the Negroni from Marta, Burgundy (d’Angerville Volnay Les Champans) or Burgundy Rosé Pierre-Yves Colin Morey.
Who would you most like to share a glass with? Has to be someone who appreciates good wine: My Somm friends Pascaline Lepeltier, Dustin Wilson, Bobby Stuckey.
What have been some of your favorite recent meals in NYC? Incredibly hard for me to pick just one, so here we go: Le Bernardin, Jean-Georges, Le Coucou, Loring Place, Gabriel Kreuther, Flora Bar, Daniel, Batard, Ilili, Union Square Café, Momofuku Ssam Bar, David’s Café, and soon again Eleven Madison Park. Oh and very recently I loved The Pool!