Now that New Year’s and Valentine’s Day have come and gone it seems as though discussions on sparkling wines have come to a screeching halt. Sure it is nice to celebrate those two occasions with bubbly, and I’ve said it to dozens of people “I absolutely support any holiday that encourages people to drink more bubbles”.
But I also wholeheartedly believe that you should not limit your sparkling wine consumption to only two celebratory holidays and the occasional wedding or graduation. I also believe in thinking outside the box when it comes to gift giving and celebrating.
When it comes to Valentine’s Day, for example, we have actually come to expect certain things – chocolate, flowers, and sparkling wine to name a few. To sell myself out, I have actually banned the purchase of flowers on Feb 14th each year. Not that I don’t love flowers. I do. But if you (and by “you” I am obviously referring to my wonderful husband) want to really surprise me, try buying me flowers any of the other 364 days a year. It’s the element of surprise that makes it romantic and special, not because of duty or expectation.
The same goes for bubbles. If you really want to surprise your loved one, why not show up on a Tuesday night with a bottle of bubbles? Or if that’s considered a “school night” for you, pick a casual weekend when he or she is least expecting it and show up with a bottle of sparkling joy. They need not be expensive to show someone he or she is special. The sheer idea of a bottle of sparkling and two flutes is special and (dare I say) romantic!
Below are 5 examples of bubbles, all priced under $30, that I have enjoyed in just the last few weeks that would be great wines to surprise someone with any time of the year. And they are all pink, so the cheesy “love” theme can be present year round.
Santa Margherita Brut Rosé NV
11.5% | $25 (media sample)
Perhaps better known for their world famous Pinot Grigio this Santa Margherita sparkler is both elegant and refreshing. Made from three different grape varieties — 50% Chardonnay, 45% Glera (formerly known as Prosecco) and 5% Malbec — this wine is lightly floral with aromas of strawberry, raspberry, and lemon zest. Refreshing and zesty with fine, elegant, bubbles and a crisp dry finish. It also has a nice body and weight without being heavy, making it a versatile food wine (in fact I even tested it with smoked chicken wings!).
Langlois-Chateau Brut Rosé Crémant de Loire Rosé NV
12% | $29 (media sample)
100% Cabernet Franc. I was first intrigued by the very bright vibrant peach color of this wine. But the nice mellow strawberry and cranberry aromas on the nose held my attention. The body however, holds some power with bright crisp bursts of strawberry and cranberry on the palate. The bold color suggests that this is not a subtle wine, and that is consistent on the palate. The stronger bolder flavors will allow for some experimentation with bolder food choices.
Berlucchi Cuveé ’61 Rosé NV
11.5% abv | $24 (media sample)
A 50/50 blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. I love the color right off — very pale salmon pink (perhaps even lighter than that!). The nose is mild with delicate aromas of raspberry, strawberry, and fresh lemon. The mouth is medium bodied, bright at first and though it fades quicker than I’d like it remains a refreshing and lighter option. A good choice of you are in the mood for something mild (not over the top), elegant, and light.
Carpenè Malvolti Brut Rosé NV
12% abv | $20 (media sample)
A blend of 85% Pinot Nero, 15% Raboso this sparkler was produced in the Charmat Method. Bright fruity nose with fresh strawberry, raspberry and cherry throughout. Overall dry, but fruity and crisp with strong, crisp bubbles. The intensity of the bubbles and the bigger and bolder flavors will allow it to pair with bolder flavored foods (like BBQ chicken pizza), though it would also work well with roasted salmon (the power of the bubbles may be tamed by the fat and texture of the salmon).
Gruet Brut Rosé NV
New Mexico, USA
12% | $16 (purchased)
This is not the first time I’ve written about Gruet’s wines, but I do believe it is the first time I’ve reviewed this rosé. Probably the best value of this bunch at $16 it is fresh, lively, and fruity on the palate with bright cherry, strawberry and orange peel. Fruit driven, crisp and bright, yet has a balanced elegance, this is an excellent under $20 bubbly to keep on hand for any occasion.
Cheers to celebrating the other 364 days a year with bubbles!