In the weeks preceding Valentine’s Day, storefronts often look like they’ve been sprayed down in Pepto Bismol or been redesigned by Victoria’s Secret – red and pink hues dominate the windows and shelves, reminding us that the day where one celebrates love is fast approaching.
Though I don’t mind a pink card or the occasional box of chocolates, the best pink for Valentine’s Day comes in liquid form – rosé. More specifically, rosé Champagne. Pink bubbles are a perfect fit for Valentine’s Day, whether you are celebrating with your sweetie, your best friends or curled up with a good book.
Most rosé wine gets its pink color from a process known as “saignée,” when juice is removed after a brief maceration time with its skins, enough time to gain color, but not long enough to gain the typical red wine characteristics. This is the most common practice for sill rosé. Occasionally, though much less common, red wine is blended with white to make rosé, except in Champagne, where this is the norm rather than the exception.
Champagne is already a blend of different lots of still wine, often different vintages of still wine. To make rosé Champagne, still red wine is added to the blend to impart a rose color. The final blend then undergoes the typical secondary fermentation in the bottle to create those magnificent bubbles. Though some producers do use the saignée method, adding still red wine to the blend is more common in Champagne.
Rosé Champagne is such a delight to drink. The essence of Champagne with a pink tinge, giving the wines a bit more body and a whole different personality. Still lively and fresh, it is one of those wines that makes the occasion! Some favorite producers include Pol Roger, Gosset, Henriot, Taittenger and Ruinart. If not Champagne, try some sparkling wine versions outside of the region, like Graham Beck (South Africa), Lucien Albrecht (Alsace), Jansz (Australia) and Roederer (California).
And if you’re not into bubbles, just going pink is an excellent February plan. We even have two very cool gift ideas for giving pink – a half-dozen or dozen “rosés,” which equal a half case or case of mixed rose wines. I have to tell you, this is MUCH better than flowers in my opinion, though I’d be happy to take both!