Flowers, chocolate and bubbly. Somehow Valentine’s Day has a marketing hold on all three. The history of Valentine’s Day is slightly hazy, though mid-February as time of romance dates back to Pagan festivals in ancient Rome. In the 5th century, however, the Pope declared February 14th as St. Valentine’s Day, giving the holiday a Christian orientation. There were at least three St. Valentines, though it is thought that St. Valentine’s Day was named for the one from the third century who lived and died during the reign of Emperor Claudius. Okay, that’s enough history for now, let’s move onto one of Valentine’s Day’s celebration accessories – BUBBLES. Something about celebrating love means breaking out sparkling wine. And indeed, sparkling wine is something to swoon over, and has been known to make one swoon. These days, however, grabbing that bottle of Dom Perignon is tougher on people’s wallets. Champagne prices are still fairly pricey, and for those of us who want to celebrate with a glass of bubbles, but want to keep spending in check, here are some excellent non-Champagne sparklers to try on this Valentine’s Day.
Oh, and make sure you tune in to “View from the Bay” on Wednesday, February 10th, where we taste and talk about these delicious bottles!
Nino Franco Rus tico Prosecco ($16.99) – Prosecco, often known for the perfect bubbly for bellinis and mimosas, comes shining through here as what they term, a “Champagne look-alike.” From the Prosecco di Valdobbiadene DOC, this wine does show some amazing sparkles for the money. It is bright, crisp, full of citrus and mineral notes and seriously persistent bubbles. Elegant, lovely, refreshing.
Gruet Blanc de Noirs ($14.99) – Hailing from New Mexico, how can you NOT try this wine – it’s sparkling wine from New Mexico! In 1984, Champagne producer Gilbert Gruet planted an experimental vineyard of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in New Mexico. His family re-located and began focusing on making American sparkling wine using the traditional – or Champagne – method. They produce a number of wines, including a Rose, a Blanc de Blancs, a Demi-Sec and a Blanc de Noirs. Lots of juicy red fruit on this wine, rich in the palate. This is more on the full bodied side and perfect with food!
Roederer Estate Brut ($18.99) – From the Champagne house of the same name (Louis Roederer), this NV sparkler is a go-to favorite! Love this wine! Balanced, delicious, a perfect blend of citrus, stone fruit, mineral and toast. Fantastic bubbles, uber-long finish, creamy texture. Total rockin bubbly.
Jansz Premium Rose – ($19.99) - This wine is actually owned by Yalumba, a fantastic Australia producer located in Barossa. This wine, however, is made from grapes from Tasmania, a very cool climate, indeed. Bright red fruit, crisp acid, terribly refreshing and just really pretty.