Have you got a nice bottle of bubbly ready to be chilled for Valentine’s Day? To me, it’s every bit as important as the flowers or chocolates – or dinner out – whatever your traditions are.
And, somehow it seems to me that the bubbly should be pink. It adds that extra special, romantic touch.
Did you know that it’s not just the bubbles that make rosé Champagne different from other rosé wines? The vast majority of non-fizzy rosé or blush wines in the world are made by crushing a dark-skinned variety, such as Zinfandel, and leaving the juice in contact with the skins for a short while – until the winemaker likes the color (the juice is clear regardless of the skin color).
Thereafter, it’s made in pretty much the same way as any fruity white wine is made: The juice is fermented at a low temperature to conserve the fresh, fruity flavors. And no barrel aging, which would take away from the fruitiness and add weight.However – the tradition for bubbly wine is to mix a little red wine – classically, Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier (a clone of Pinot Noir) – with white wine, traditionally Chardonnay. When I say “classically” or “traditionally”, I’m referring to the practices in the Champagne region since that’s the benchmark. Once this cuvée, or blend, is made they set about making it fizz!
Making really lovely bubbly, in the traditional way, is an amazingly laborious process. Every time I visit a bubbly producer I come away wondering why it doesn’t cost even more than it does! If you’re curious there’s more info here.Seems like a great time to talk about this because Rosé Champagne isn’t just a good match for Valentine’s Day in terms of color. It has to be the most romantic wine around – don’t you agree??
TIP! If you want to stay with fizzy wine throughout the evening – from greeting your loved one until dessert – rosé is a great way to go from a practical standpoint. Rosé marries with food easily because it usually has a little bit more weight than most Brut Champagnes. But it certainly isn’t too heavy to be sipping wine. So one bottle and you’re set for your romantic evening!I know we’re all counting our pennies, these days, so I want you to know that purchasing the most romantic beverage around doesn’t have to break the bank. You can buy a perfectly lovely pink Cava (Spanish bubbly) for under $12.00! Or a nice bottle of Pink Prosecco. Or, you can go all out and pop for a Cristal vintage rosé priced at nearly $500.00. Completely outrageous unless someone else is buying 😉 And, of course, there are scads of wines in between.
ANOTHER TIP! So many people think of sparkling wine as something for special occasions, only, but fizzy wine is probably the most food-friendly wine of all, due to the cleansing effect of the acidity and the bubbles. Of course, it goes beautifully with seafood, but if you go with a Blanc de Noirs or a rosé it can see you through almost anything – poultry, pork, game birds – but red meat. And, even then, it won’t clash.
So – you’ve got plenty of time to shop before V-day! Get to work!Send me your wine question I’ll get back to you in a jiffy! For a free email subscription go to home page, right column