If you’re planning on a bit of canoodling, romancing and smooching over a glass of something sparklie on Valentine’s Day, then read on.
I’ve been dipping into some sparkling pink wines you could share with The Love of Your Life.
From light gentle salmon pinks to wines of the deepest cerise; some with gentle flits of bubbles to others with excitable cascades; I’ve seen them all.
But first, a couple of tips on serving Champagne and sparkling wines. I’d like to take the credit, but I’ll doff my cap to the kind people at Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte (more of them later).
Champagne is best drunk chilled but never iced – around 8°C if served on its own and 12°C if served with food. Over-chilling will mean the Champagne is too cold to release its aromas and flavours.
When opening Champagne aim for a gentle sigh rather than a huge explosion as the cork leaves the bottle. Grip the bottle firmly with one hand and the cork with the other and twist the bottle until the cork is released.
Serve the wine in a pristine tall Champagne flute, washed with warm water, drip dried and then polished. This allows the bubbles to rise in long streams to release the aroma and soft flavours.
Here’s another tip (from me) when you’re looking at sparklers. If you see NV it means a wine is non-vintage. In other words, it will be a blend of wines produced from grapes grown in different years. If you see a Vintage wine, and a year, then that is what you get on the tin; the grapes will have been grown in that particular year.
I’ll move on to the pinks and my Love Hearts ratings (out of 5).
Graham Beck ‘The Rhona’ Brut Rosé (M&S, £13 from £15, until March 3). The wine, from South Africa, is a blend of nearly equal parts chardonnay and pinot noir. It is a pale salmon pink and has light cherry and fresh strawberry aromas; and to taste more gentle strawberries and a dry peppery bite. It’s quite creamy too. It is delicious, although the excited bubbles fade away fairly quickly.
Love Hearts: 5
Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Rosé NV (Tesco stores from this month, RRP £29.99) Salmon pink, with lots and lots of red fruits bursting out of the glass like a summer fruit dessert. But it isn’t too sweet and the taste is refined, with raspberries sliced and diced into a crisp but slightly creamy mouth linger. The glass is consistently ribboned with fine bubbles.
Love Hearts: 4
Extra Special Vintage Rose Cava Sparkling 2011 (Asda, on promotion at £6) There’s a good burst of excitable teenage fizz which settles down into middle age quite quickly. The cava is a lush cerise colour, with aromas of fresh strawberries and red fruit, and a citrus zizzang in the mouth. This doesn’t have the flavours depths of my other four wines, but my, it was easy to drink.
Love Hearts: 3 (but it could be a 4 for its price and drinkability)
Champagne Jacquart Rosé Mosaïc NV (Tesco, RRP £30) A soft salmon pink. The aromas are a dessert bowl of delights; ripe apples, vanilla and strawberries shortcake. Of my five, this had the most sniffable nose. I know that’s not a classy wine thing to say, but hey, I’m a Northern Bird.
Love Hearts: 4
Pink Champagne Monsigny Brut NV (Aldi £15.99, 75cl). This is new in Aldi stores this month. It is a luscious deep pink, with red berries and lemons on the nose. There’s bright acidity and a squiggle of lemon, and dried strawberries to taste. The bright bubbles are happy to stay around a good while to add to the celebration.
Love Hearts: 3.5
Published in the saturday extra magazine February 7, 2015