This Valentine’s Day, Look at the World Through Rosé Colored Glasses
Pink bubbles look gorgeous in the glass and cozy up to whatever dishes you throw at them.
Roses may be red, but pink is where it’s at this Valentine’s Day. Not only do they look, well, pretty, but rosé bubbles have just as much swagger as their lighter-hued counterparts. “Such a myth that rosé doesn’t have the quality of blanc,” muses Brent Kroll, wine director for Neighborhood Restaurant Group in Washington, D.C. “Even Jay-Z in ‘30 Something’ references growing up into rosé: ‘Y’all drink Dom but not Rosé.’” Kroll says for multi-course, tasting dinners on February 14, pink bubbles can hold up with everything from the amuse bouche to dessert. “Rosé can have more tannin and tends to have a more fruit-forward expression,” he notes. Here are 6 bottles from both mainstream and eclectic regions that are guaranteed to taste great and woo your date.
Juvé y Camp Brut Rosé NV ($16)
One look at a glass of this Spanish Cava and you might mistake it for fruit juice instead of wine. It’s produced from 100% Pinot Noir grapes from the estate situated in the Cava region, whose free-run juice undergoes cold-soak maceration before stainless steel fermentation - hence the gorgeous light ruby hue. This soak is also responsible for its notes of fresh strawberry and bitter almond, and its appealing lightly tannic finish.
Food pairings: This is a great main course wine for Valentine’s Day, no matter what you are serving. Its slight grip at the end makes it perfect with baby lamb chops, filet mignon or foie gras.
Vino Spumante Rosé NV ($17)
Everyone seems to love Prosecco; it’s soft, fruity and so easy to sip. When a red grape is used for the Italian crowd-pleasing sparkler (here, it’s local varietal Raboso Veronese), the result is a wine with a confected berry character that’s better than any box of candies. The grapes are harvested from the town of Conegliano in Italy’s Veneto region, and the wine touts a balancing act of approachable drinkability, elegance and a line of acidity to keep your mouth wanting more.
Food pairings: Set out a charcuterie platter and glasses of this wine while you are prepping the main course; it’s fabulous with Italian salume like speck, prosciutto and bresaola.
Szigeti Pinot Noir Rosé Sekt Brut 2011 ($25)
The Germans (and Austrians) love their bubbles. The former is first in the world in the consumption of sparkling wine (not the French as you might suspect), and the country’s local juice is bottled as Sekt (the word means dry.) This bottle is made with 100% Pinot Noir grapes sourced from the country’s Burgenland region, and is made in the traditional method - like Champagne and Cava - where the secondary fermentation takes place in the bottle. Brilliant salmon in the glass, it has notes of cherries and strawberries, vibrant acidity and fine, soft bubbles.
Food pairings: Get the night started with a chilled flute and small nibbles or canapés like smoked salmon mousse or tuna tartare.
François Montand Brut Rosé ($15)
All French sparkling wine is Champagne, right? Not so, actually, but the bubbly made in other regions of France is amazing too. This one hails from the Jura in the eastern part of the country, and is made with Black Grenache and Cinsault, which thrive in the region. Vinification in the traditional method and aging at least 9 months add both structure and complexity. Look for a salmon pink hue, aromas of cherries and strawberries, a clean, crisp palate, and berry-tinged finish.
Food pairings: Its crisp acidity acts as a palate scrubber, so pair this wine with the richest foods you are serving for dinner, like truffle risotto, foie gras, bone marrow or fatty tuna.
Domaine Tournon “Mathilda” Victoria ($16)
Australia’s wine regions are generally warm, but the southeastern Victoria area is a touch cooler, tempering the Grenache grapes used for this effervescent elixir. They are gently pressed in whole clusters to retain their fruit-forward nature, meaning the sparkling wine has the signature strawberry and raspberry overtones that rosés are known for, along with some pomegranate. Still, it really is refreshing and surprisingly light, almost dancing on the palate.
Food pairings: Oysters are believed to be an aphrodisiac; shuck some ice cold ones and serve them with a squirt of lemon, mignonette and a glass of this Down Under beauty.
Dewatsuru Sakura Emaki Sparkling Sake ($18)
Want to really veer off the beaten path and impress your date on Valentine’s Day? Then open up a bottle of this pink sparkling sake. What’s that? You didn’t think sake could ever be described as “pink” or “bubbly”? This bottle is made from an ancient heirloom purple rice strain that lends it a pink hue and elegant aromas of plums and cherry, with hints of apples and berries. The palate is silky smooth with a touch of sweetness balanced by acidity; the finish is ethereal and memorable.
Food pairings: The touch of sweetness in this sake makes it a winner with spicy tuna or salmon roll, duck breast with cherries, or even desserts like cherry clafoutis.