Are you feeling bubbly? Full of life and love? Choose a Valentine wine that matches your sparkling personality. Whether you celebrate Valentine's Day or not, whether that means an elaborate dinner out or cozy take-out in, the evening is elevated with a good glass of bubbles.
While you can find great sparkling wines around the world, one region is synonymous with bubbles: Champagne. Only wines made from grapes grown in that region are true Champagnes. If you are set on a sparkler from France but at a more reasonable price point, look for the label Crémant. From Spain, it is Cava. In Italy, Prosecco. Domestically, you are likely to see it labeled as Sparkling wine. I have favorites with each moniker.
First let's talk Champagne. The first thing you're likely to see is the producer. then the level of sweetness, Brut is the most dry, Doux the sweetest. Looking at the label further, you will see reference to the year it was produced. If it states a "Vintage", it is all from one harvest, likely a great year worthy of being named. Otherwise, it will state "Non-Vintage."
It is a combination of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier and is produced by Traditional method or "Méthode champenoise." If it states "Blanc de Blanc" it is made entirely with Chardonnay. Blanc de Noir is made from a varying combination of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier but will still pour as colorless. If you want pink, look for the term rosé, the color coming from grape skin contact.
There are seven possible recognized regions in France for Crémant . One favorite is Alsace, and example is Lucein Albrecht Cremant d'Alsace Brut Rose. It is strawberry shortcake in a glass. Fresh strawberry, biscuits, with a creamy finish. The bubbles are delicate, lively acidity, floral nose. With a price point around $20, you get all of the elegance at half the price of its Champagne equivalent..
From Spain, I love all of the bubbles from the Codorniu. Their introductory Cava starts around $8 and is tasty enough to drink alone and a great mimosa mix.. Next, is their Anna line. The rose is a stunning nearly fuchsia color, the bottle is beautiful, the contents are super tasty for the price point. The flagship is the Gran Codorniu. I was blown away when I tried it. Fresh lively berries and great acidity, delicate bubbles and around $20.
Want to look closer to home? I am a fan of the Argyle or RMS from Oregon, JCB Rosé, J Winery or Gloria Ferrer from California. Expect to pay more than Cava, less than Champagne. Probably in the $17-$25 range.
Choosing a wine should be fun. Decide on a price point, ask for help, Pick a label you like or use these tips. Try something new or choose a tried and true. Whether you end your day with a bubbly bath or a glass or bubbles, alone or with a special someone, I wish you a day filled with a love that sparkles.