Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.
Pink bubbles are one of the classic Valentine’s Day investments. While not as popular as Sweethearts, for instance—those little heart-shaped candies imprinted with slogans like “Be Mine” or “Oh Hell, A Bear Just Ate My Leg” - of which the Necco company produces some 8 billion annually, pink Champagne and sparkling wine are definitely in the romantic top-seller category, regardless.
The hitch, of course, is that as a Valentine’s Day buyer, you’ve basically got one shot (unless you and your sweetheart are robust enough to down two or more bottles of bubbly). And thanks to the boom in rosé sparkling wine sales over the past few years, there are more choices on the market than ever. Valentine’s Day, as we all know, is already charged with mind-bending levels of unreal expectation and absolute panic—some fun, right? So seriously: Do not throw a bad bottle of wine into that mix.
To that end, here are a few sparkling rosés at various prices that, regardless of what else you do or don’t follow through on, won’t disappoint your partner.
Carpenè Malvolti Rosé ($19)
A blend of Pinot Noir and the much less familiar Italian grape Raboso, this sparkling rosé from the Veneto (the same region as Prosecco, which Carpenè Malvolti makes as well) has soft strawberry notes and a lightly lemony finish.
2011 Banfi Rosa Regale ($20)
Transparent, light ruby in hue, with ripe cassis and cherry aromas, this luscious, sweet Italian sparkler comes from the tiny Brachetto d’Acqui zone in Italy’s Piedmont region. It’s great with fruit-based desserts.
JCB by Jean-Charles Boisset No. 69 ($25)
An unusual cremant de Bourgogne - sparkling wine from France’s Burgundy region, just south of Champagne - this pale pink, all-Pinot Noir cuvée is crisp and elegant, with a light wild strawberry note.
Schramsberg Brut Rosé ($42)
This full-bodied rosé sparkling wine from one of America’s oldest wineries (it was founded in 1862 by German immigrant Jacob Schram) has an elegant, spicy depth.
Champagne Ruinart Rosé Brut ($75)
For a splurge (it is Valentine’s Day, after all), go with actual rosé Champagne, from the Champagne region in France. It can be pricey, but for the best versions - like this smoky, exotic one from Ruinart – the complexity and depth of flavor justifies the dramatic jump in price.
More from Food & Wine:
Millionaire Matchmaker’s Favorite Date Restaurants
World’s Most Romantic Cities
Best Top Chef Restaurants
Best Steak in the U.S.
Valentine’s Day Recipes
Drink Your Fill
© 2011 American Express Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved.
Valentine's day is like Christmas, a big waste of $.
Yeah, and they advertise it in such a way that if you don't get a second mortgage on your house on gifts and jewelry, you're an a$$hole boyfriend/husband.
Moderated. Try again.
Yeah, and they advertise it in such a way that if you don't get a second mortgage on your house on gifts and jewelry, you're an az$hol3 boyfriend/husband.
A friend of mine refers to Valentine's Day as Singles Awareness Day, or SAD...
Yeah, forgot about that.
I guess I'm just an optimist at heart. Because celebrating life, love, family and friends is all there really is in life. Yes, I could put money into my checking account and savings account and not spend a dime. But, it will all be for naught as I cannot take it with me when my journey ends. Life is a beautiful gift whether I celebrate it with the most expensive wine or with ice tea.
1. Get some cheap champagne.
2. Get some cranberry juice.
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