VALENTINE’S. It’s the time of year when the card shops make a killing, florists’ fingers flurry, men panic and wine shelves empty quicker than Old Trafford in the 80th minute.
What better reason to taste some sparklie glasses of pink fizz.
Champagne Jacquart, Brut Mosaïque Rosé NV (£30, online at greatwesternwine.co.uk and you’ll see it in several other stores) is a soft salmon pink in colour. It has aromas of doughnuts and icing sugar.
That probably doesn’t sound as classy as it should. But imagine the lovely sweet, warm, bakes, with soft icing sugar clinging on top and the rising scent of a dab of strawberry. That’s what I mean. To taste, lovely fresh strawberries folded in with some peaches and a touch of acidity.
Tesco Finest Rosé Champagne (£19.99, reduced from £23.99 until February 25) is an elegant little glass of fizz. It has won bronze at the International Wine Challenge and I’d be very happy if it was my Valentine’s Day treat.
It is more unassuming on the nose than the Jacquart. There’s redcurrants and a wisp of citrus, which also flirts in the mouth with a good crisp long-lasting aftertaste. A sparkler to savour and relish.
I tried ever so hard to enjoy Blossom Hill Italian Sparkling Zinfandel Rosé (I bought in Tesco for £6.99, reduced from £8.99 until February 14. It is widely available elsewhere). It has a heart-shaped label so it should be a shoo-in for romance.
It has very sweet strawberries on the nose; a hit of jam, or one of those very sweet cake fancies. The two elements which should balance – fruit and acidity – didn’t tie together. It had syrupy sweetness.
Sorry if you like the wine; it’s just not for me.
On the upside, for a fiver at Asda you can pick up an award-winning cava, Berberana Gran Tradicion Rose Brut, NV, and it’s pretty nice too. It won a silver at last year’s International Wine Challenge.
Cava shouldn’t be overlooked by sparklie-seekers. It has far more complexity than a simple fizz-driven prosecco which is made by fermenting just one grape inside a steel tank.
This hums with smoky, herby, red fruits and cherries. It has a decent cherry-laden fizz which sadly disappears too quickly, but hey, so does the wine.
Published in the saturday extra magazine February 8th 2014