Bubbles are the spot-on match for Valentine's Day, and not just the holiday: Champagne and sparkling wine have the ability to elevate even the most ordinary moment. Kick that special moment up notches (Thanks Emeril!) with a rosé. From pale pink to rubyesque, rosé's signature light red color seems a perfect fit for the love-themed day.
As sparkling rosés and Champagnes tend to have a richer, more robust flavor than their non-rosé counterparts, they are more appropriate with food. "All rosé is the hottest thing in the wine industry right now," says The Tasting Panel magazine editor Anthony Dias Blue. "Rosé makes sparkling wine more interesting," he adds.
There's a heart-healthy angle, too: Like the red grapes they are partially sourced from, most commonly rosés are a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir; rosé wines are filled with antioxidants. "Things that are good for your heart are good for your libido, too," says author Amy Reilly of the just-published Romancing the Stove cookbook, the unabridged guide to aphrodisiac foods.
Turn the page for some sparkly suggestions and their suggested retail prices.
Although effervescent rosés are great with food, one Valentine's Day traditional treat is exempt: chocolate. Reilly recommends a red fruit tart like raspberry or lemon tart as an alternate dessert choice. "In general, a sparkling rosé is a wonderful beginning, middle or end to a meal," Café Pinot's general manager Kevin Welby says. He, too, notes that because it has more body, depth and a richer feel overall than non-rosé, it can be paired with bolder flavors such as a salmon or even a meat course.
Prices, flavor and color vary within rosé as with any other wine type. Go all out with a bottle of 2000 Dom Perignon Rosé at Nobu ($700) or pick up a bottle of New Mexico's Gruet Rosé for $16 at West Los Angeles' Wine House (a reliable source for Champagne and sparkling wine). Here are a few more that will rock the day.
5. Jacques Pelvas Brut Rosé ($12). From a small family winery in the South of France, this French sparkling wine is made from 100% Grenache grapes; it's quite lively with a rose-petal softness and a strawberry finish. As it comes from Provence, it is a sparkling wine: To be officially designated Champagne, a wine must come from grapes grown in Champagne, France, and be bottled there as well.
4. Veuve-Cliquot NV Brut Rosé Ponsardin ($59). Critics might say that Veuve-Cliquot is a boring choice, but this well-balanced, slightly minty rosé has a consistent flavor profile. And there are some people who really need to be wooed by a major brand name.
3. Moet & Chandon NV Brut Rosé Imperial ($59). A classic, this elegant rosé is reasonably full-bodied, refined with berry notes and a faintly floral note. Always tied into and served at Hollywood's glossiest events, Moet & Chandon is the official Champagne of the Academy Awards.
2. Piper-Heidsieck NV Brut Rosé Sauvage ($55). Awesome for the price, another classic rosé Champagne, well balanced with blackberry and jammy notes and a hint of spice. Refined but robust enough (hence sauvage, which means wild) to pair with wild game at a meal.
And, for No. 1, turn the page...
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1. Nicolas Feuillate NV Brut Rosé ($48). Bold, with a beautiful pink sand color, there's a trace of strawberry to the taste. While not the best-known Champagne house, Nicolas Feuillate delivers the most delicate bubbles.
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