Much like its still wine cousin (rose), sparkling rose and rose Champagne strike a soft and delectable balance between sweet, dry and earthiness that sets it apart. And of course the color only adds to the allure—especially on a certain day in Mid-February when the red and pink color spectrum reigns supreme.
Here are five rose sparklers I love this Valentines Day:
Roederer Estate Brut Rose, NV—$28
This 56% Pinot Noir, 44% Chardonnay blend, produced by the renowned French Champagne house Louis Roederer but in California (Anderson Valley), has been a favorite value wine of mine for years. In fact, I actually used to sell it when I briefly worked for a wine distributor many moons ago. It was so popular it had to be allocated, or bundled with the higher-end offerings that Roederer produced—a little trick that distributors and suppliers (in this case Maisons Marques and Domains) like to use when they know they have a winner. Mouth filling, elegant and sweet—but not too sweet—this festive sparkler has a beautiful red hue and comes in at a great price point considering the producer (Louis Roederer also produces Cristal).
Schramsberg Brut Rosé, 2017—$45
Another great value from Northern California, driven by bright, flavorful Pinot Noir grown in Carneros, Anderson Valley, and the Sonoma and Marin coastal areas (a few small lots of Pinot Noir are fermented in contact with their skins to add depth and subtle color to this unique sparkling wine). Aromas of strawberry and orange peel dominate the nose while grapefruit, darker berries and a little toast lead to good structure on the palette. This versatile sparkling wine has a bright, clean finish and can be enjoyed any time of year with a variety of foods.
Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Rosé—$45
Blended with 90% red grapes (45% pinot noir /45% meunier) and 10% chardonnay, this sparkler is on the sweeter side for a Brut yet very well balanced. Think strawberries and cream; this light, salmon colored rose is perfect with desert—or as desert.
Frank Family Brut Rose, 2016—$55
Frank Family quietly has four sparkling wines offerings. And while it may not be a core competency I think it’s a testament to the diversity and willingness to experiment with new ideas that is prevalent in Napa and Sonoma today. While all four of their sparkling wines—Blanc de Blancs, Rose, Rouge and the Lady Edythe Reserve Brut—are all delicious, the Brut Rose is my favorite. Made in the traditional French method where the secondary fermentation occurs in the bottle, the wine then rests on the spent yeast cells for two and a half years before disgorgement. The 2014 Brut Rosé is lively yet balanced, with alluring flavors of strawberry and orange creamsicle and framed with just enough toasty oak notes. Side note: Frank Family has been recognized in national publications for leading the effort of “grower-champagnes” in the United States—Marylin Monroe used visit the winery from time to time to get her fill of bubbles.
Veuve Clicquot Brut Rosé—$60
Madame Clicquot created the first blended Rosé in 1818 by adding some red wine to Yellow Label champagne. The result was Veuve Clicquot Rosé, a fruity and full-bodied expression of the Veuve Clicquot style. If you love their yellow label it’s time to try the Rosé. Made using 50 to 60 different crus, the cuvee is based on Brut Yellow Label’s traditional blend, 44-48% Pinot Noir, 13-1 % Meunier, 25-29 % Chardonnay. This wine has classic Rosé Champagne aromas of ripe strawberries integrated with more vibrant notes of grapefruit and lemon singer. Perfectly quaffable with desert it is also a great wine to have as a cocktail or aperitif before dinner.