Thousands of champagne corks will be popped this year as lovers the world over celebrate Valentine’s Day. But there’s another, more affordable, category of bubbly libations prefect for special occasions called sparkling wine. Throw in a kiss of pink or even ruby-red and you’ll have an even more festive option.
Since many of the best hail from France and Italy, I thought it would be fun to play wine cupid and recommend a few along with ideas for pairing. So grab your sweetie and a bottle, or three, of these effervescent sparkling wines, all under $20, and toast romance in style.
Gérard Bertrand Crémant de Limoux
This tasty sparkling Brut Rosé from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France
is done according to the méthode champenoise, which is how Champagne is made. It’s a blend of Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, which is what gives it just a hint of salmony color. Aromas of strawberries, toasted bread and cheese are accompanied by endless bubbles, a creamy texture and a hint of minerality. It’s a perfect aperitif, think cheese or shellfish. Why not pair it with some oysters to make the ultimate aphrodisiac?
Lamberti Rosé Spumante
This award-winning blend of Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir and Raboso hails from Italy’s Veneto region, which is famous for Prosecco, and has a pretty, light pink hue. A sparkling off-dry wine done in the Charmat style, which means it has a second fermentation in stainless steel. With scents of flowers and watermelon Jolly Ranchers it’s a light and refreshing wine with flavors of apple and a touch of citrus. Also great as an aperitif, this one might pair better with cheese and nuts. It would make an elegant option for brunch.
Ca Bianca Brachetto d’Acqui
No Valentine’s Day would be complete without a recommendation for something sweet. This Brachetto is sourced from estate owned vineyards in the Piedmont region of Italy. It’s a brilliant ruby color that smells like a bowl of freshly picked strawberries sitting out on a hot summer day. The berry flavor really comes through along with a light fizz (called frizzante) and hint of creaminess. Save this one for dessert. Pair it with dark chocolate molten lava cake or perhaps a fruit tart. Chocolate covered strawberries also would marry well.
What will be in your glass this Valentine’s Day?
Disclosure : All wines sampled were provided by Sopexa. All opinions and recommendations remain my own.