07 February 2014

Sparkling Rosé for Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is coming up, and what says romance more than pink bubbles?

There was a time in my life when I thought such a bottle would be cheesy, some sort of artificially colored Champale with a plastic "cork" sold for $5 next to the box of chocolates that contain more wax than cacao. Over time, the concept of the dry rosé became one of my favorite wine styles, and the sparkling versions are just as fascinating. The pink color can come in many different shades, but what you're really getting is something made like a white wine with some of the depth of a red wine, a combination that makes such bottles inherently food-friendly.

Don't save these for dessert, but rather open them up early in the meal with appetizers--salted nuts, cheeses, salumi, olives. The acidity will play well against the salt and the whole experience will open up your palate for the meal to follow. Plus both of these are very affordable, although the second one comes in a half bottle size (which is ideal for two people during an appetizer course).

NV Juvé y Camps Brut Rosé
Cava DO
100% Pinot Noir
$13, 12% abv.

I've had several Cavas made from Pinot Noir, but I believe this is the deepest rosé. Classic aromas of wild strawberry and a touch of earth way in the background. On the palate there are big bubbles with a tart and acidic finish. While great on its own, the aforementioned salty snacks will really bring out the bold berry flavors.

NV Ferrari Rosé
Trento DOC
60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay
$17/375mL, 12.5% abv.

The Italian bottle is also heavy on the Pinot Noir, though made in a lighter style. It pours a lovely pale salmon color with a nutty and toasty nose. The Champagne-style grape combination produces a more classic French flavor. Medium bubbles and firm acidity. Long lemony finish. This one is going to work a little better with some fresh oysters, marinated calamari, or grilled baby octopus.

Note: These wines were provided as samples for review.

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