Champagne is great, but if you really want to get in the Valentine's Day spirit (and avoid being a cliché), sparkling red wines are the way to go. Served slightly chilled, they're versatile enough to go with food, dessert, or just on their own -- and they tend to be incredibly affordable, too. We hit up our favorite local wine shop and asked our buddies there for their top five recommendations, because we want to save you from trial and error. After all, we wouldn't want you to get dumped on Valentine's Day for choosing a lousy wine.
Great news: The two sparkling red wines that topped our taste test are the cheapest ones. While logic may tell you to buy twice as much of it, we don't recommend getting wasted on Valentine's Day, so maybe just spend the extra cash on flowers instead.
Check out the results of our tasting below!
As always, this taste test is in no way influenced or sponsored by the products included.
This story appears in Issue 47 of our weekly iPad magazine, Huffington, in the iTunes App store, available Friday, May 3.
Comments: "Tart, juicy and pomegranatey." "Inoffensive, and can hold up to stronger dishes." "Very light and would go well with a leaner meal." "Lightly carbonated. Not sweet and not acidic. Has a complex flavor." "Very effervescent, less sweet. Dry enough for a big, braised piece of meat."
Comments: "Mild." "A little bland -- maybe better with meats." "Smooth, all around pleasant." "Sweet, but not overpoweringly so. Nicely carbonated, kind of strawberryish."
Comments: "Pleasant though a little bitter." "Very drinkable and simple." "Very complex! It's a little heavier." "A little rougher, more of a mouthfeel." "This is really bitter and very lightly carbonated."
Comments: "Very punchy -- good for non-wine drinkers." "Great for a spring picnic, it's quite sweet." "Very light and pleasant. Noticeably fruity -- maybe good with a light meal, or without food at all." "Perfect for those who like sweet wine." "Quite sweet, almost sparkling grape juice. Wine for people who hate wine."
Comments: "SO SO bitter. No." "Barely sparkling, the vinho verde of red sparkling wine." "Very bitter and acidic. Not sure WHAT this would go well with." "Bitter. Not as easy to drink as the rest." "Really dry. Kind of oaky. Strange chemical aftertaste."