What's more romantic than Champagne? ￂﾠPink Champagne or sparkling wine. ￂﾠI've been pitched all sorts of wines to recommend for Valentine Day celebrations, but most of the wines are still wines. ￂﾠNone of those will do. ￂﾠFor me, it's bubbles or nothing. ￂﾠAnd they should be pink.
The traditional choice is Champagne, and my go-to wine is the Billecart-Salmon NV Rosￃﾩ, with its delicate bubbles and salmon pink hue. ￂﾠThis is a brut sparkler, very dry, with a subdued floral and fruity aroma, a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. ￂﾠAt around $75 it is a splurge -- but believe it or not, it's available on Amazon.com
I'm a big fan of California sparkling wine, and some of the best bubbly is produced by Domaine Carneros.ￂﾠ This house is in the Carneros region of Napa, which is a fantastic region for growing sparkling wine grapes.ￂﾠ For Valentine's Day, the exceptional Cuvￃﾩe de la Pompadourￂﾠ($36) perfectly fits the bill, with a romantic story behind the label. ￂﾠMadame de la Pompadour, Louis XV's mistress, is said to have introduced Champagne to the French court at Versailles in the 1700's. ￂﾠShe is known for saying, "Champagne is the only wine a woman can drink and remain beautiful." ￂﾠThe Cuvￃﾩe de la Pompadour is a beautiful sparkling wine, light rose in color, with tiny, persistant bubbles. ￂﾠIt has a bouquet of strawberries, stone fruit and white flowers. ￂﾠThis brut style wine is a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. [Sample from winery]
Spain's sparkling wines offer great value. ￂﾠCalled Cava, it's also made in the traditional method of Champagne. ￂﾠI find the wines of Seguras Viudas to be exceptional values, and at $10 you can't go wrong with the Brut Rosￃﾩ, a non-vintage sparkler. ￂﾠFull of red berries like cherry, it's an easy drinking wine. ￂﾠThe grapes in this bottle are Garnacha (a.k.a Grenache) and Trepat, both in the Penedￃﾨs region of Spain outside of Barcelona.
From Italy, I like the Berlucchi Cuvￃﾩe 61 Rosￃﾩ ($24) ￂﾠThis comes from the Franciacorta region, which is in Lombardy. ￂﾠThis non-vintage bubbly is not a Prosecco, but a wine made in the metodo classico, which means it is made in the same way a Champagne is made, with the secondary fermentation happening in the bottle. ￂﾠBut it doesn't carry the hefty price tag of Champagne. Berlucchi's Cuvￃﾩe 61 is a Rosￃﾩ of Pinot Noir blended with Chardonnay. ￂﾠFresh and bright, with strawberry and red plum fruit. [Sample from winery]
If I had to pick my one favorite of sparkling Rosￃﾩ, it has to be Mionetto's "MO" Cuvￃﾩe Rosￃﾩ 1887 NV. ￂﾠThis sparkling wine comes from the Valdobbiadene region in Italy. ￂﾠIt is fresh and lively, with bright red fruit and zesty acidity. I love the red berries and rose aroma on this wine. ￂﾠIn other words, it's just delicious. ￂﾠThe price of $18 is also much more affordable than many other sparklers. The date 1887 on the label is for the year that the house of Mionetto was established.