Pink Bubbles for your Valentine!
Love is in the air and the ideal wine to celebrate is light, dry and delicate pink sparkling wine. With it’s pretty, romantic look and frothy bubbles it certainly has powers to seduce, both your date and your palate. As a self-confessed addict of both bubbles and chocolate, my personal love affair with sparkling rosés started a long time ago and it’s still going strong.
Truly, they are one of the most versatile, food-friendly styles of wines in the world, as they can be matched with pretty much anything. Sparkling rosés have a great affinity for food with real depth of flavor, while still maintaining a high level of acidity, which makes them a perfect match for a great variety of dishes.
Their pretty pink color comes from either blending a small amount of red wine into the white or from leaving the red grapes in contact with their skins for a short period of time, so the color bleeds. This second method produces a little bit more body and imparts fruitier flavors than which makes them exceptionally versatile for food matching. Although there are a few wines better than true rosé Champagne, fantastic sparkling rosés come from all over the world at a great array of styles and prices.
Light dry rosés from Provence and Pinot Noir based rosés from Burgundy are a perfect match to light summer salads and simply grilled fish, while light off-dry rosés are made for mildly spiced curries. Dry rosés from the sunny south of Rhône and Languedoc and their Spanish counterparts from Rioja with more body are a perfect match to intense flavors in anchovies, olives, and garlic, which makes them ideal for tapenade, salade Niçoise and Spanish tapas.
And of course, save the best for last …CHOCOLATE!!! When pairing wine with chocolate it is always important to choose a bubbly on the sweeter side, such as demi-sec and doux, as they blend beautifully with the sweetness of chocolate. Milk chocolate pairs very nicely with light and fruity rosés. Here is the assortment of my favorite sparkling and still rosés from our own backyard and around the world.
Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catharine Rosé Brut VQA
A delightful sparkling rosé from Niagara vinified in a traditional method by blending 70-80% Pinot Noir with 20-30% Chardonnay grapes. Pretty wild strawberry nose with pronounced aromas and flavors of ripe citrus fruit, red berries, and brioche. Creamy, luxurious mouthfeel with zippy acidity and a touch of minerality. Delicate, persistent mousse. Closes in a long, lingering finish. An ideal companion to delicate smoked salmon. Score: 92/100. Tasted January 2018. LCBO#: 217505, $ 29.95.
A lovely sparkling rosé, typical of Ferrari style. Vinified in a Classic Method with 60% Pinot Nero and 40 % Chardonnay grapes hand-harvested in the high altitude Trentino mountain vineyards. Dry, fresh and elegant it brings aromas and flavors of strawberries with subtle floral notes. Lees aging provided for attractive bread-crust notes and added layers of complexity. Persistent bubbles and a long, lingering finish. A perfect match to a sinfully creamy oven-baked Brie with warm berry topping.
Gérrard Bertrand Cote des Roses Rosé 2015, France
This crowd-pleasing rosé is vinified with the fruit grown along the Mediterranean coast that stretches from Spanish border all the way up to the city of Nîmes, an area blessed with the warm, windy climate. A great blend of Grenache, Cinsault, and Syrah, it’s bursting with aromas and flavors of summer berries with subtle floral notes. Dry, fresh and lively with well-balanced acidity. A great companion to shellfish, colorful summer salads, and light desserts. Tasted February 2017. VINTAGES#: 373985, $ 18.95.
Malivoire Ladybug Rosé, Niagara, Ontario
Delightful Ontario rosé blend, vinified with 50% cab franc, 25% gamay 20% pinot noir and a touch of cab sauvignon grown on the rugged Niagara Escarpment and vinified with minimal environmental impact. Bursting with sweet forest strawberries, red cherries, and raspberries. Dry, fresh and fruity it makes a great companion to an appetizer tray filled with smoked meats and cheeses, with seafood or on its own as a perfect patio sipper. VINTAGES#: 559088, $ 15.95. Tasted May 2016/91 points.
Francis Ford Coppola Sofia Rosé 2015, California
A perfect warm-weather patio sipper, this lively and refreshing rosé is crafted with a blend of Monterey County Syrah and Grenache. Just off-dry with a beautiful strawberry nose and abundant aromas and flavors of ripe red berries with a subtle touch of juicy citrus. Bring on some chèvre and enjoy this elegant Californian rosé on a warm afternoon while catching up with your girlfriends. LCBO # 284943, $ 19.95. Tasted April 2016/90 points.
Listel Gris, Sable de Camargue Rosé, 2014, France
From sandy soils in the sunny Camargue region of Mediterranean France, the land of pink flamingos and wild horses comes this lovely and elegant rosé. Light and refreshing, this is a delicious blend of Cinsault, Grenache and Carignan grapes. It’s bursting with aromas and flavors of strawberries, melon, white peaches, and pink grapefruit. Fantastic match to grilled lobster and sunny & light Mediterranean dishes. Serve at 8 C.