It’s okay to buy value sparkling wine for Valentine’s Day.

 


I took my then-girlfriend, now-wife to Florence by way of Tuscany for our first Valentine’s Day. The location in combination with more than a few bottles of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano made for a memorable trip. Unfortunately for me, a Valentine’s Day like that one is hard to top. But there is one thing we can do on Valentine’s Day, year after year, wherever we are: pick a really lovely bottle of sparkling wine that will be memorable no matter where it is consumed. As I’ve always said, we should be using sparkling wine to make something special happen in the absence of other ideas. The wine doesn’t need to be expensive relative to the experience, which is why this article will focus on value. When it comes to sparkling wine, there is a catch: oftentimes - even when quality is lacking - the price point will be higher (perhaps by just a few dollars) because the wine sparkles. Add the time of year into the equation (in this case, Valentine’s Day) and you find yourself buying an overpriced bottle of adequate sparkling wine. In light of this, I’ve targeted a few producers who won’t disappoint in terms of quality and price. These are some of my favorite values which I think you will enjoy most – whether you are in Florence or Florida this Valentine’s Day.

Rosé all the Way

Moët & Chandon Rose Imperial Champagne NV

This premium-priced bottle is a value in its own right, and it’s the only premium bottle I will recommend this year. As far as I am concerned, this wine deserves a higher price point. Light and lively strawberry cranberry and cherry fruit aromas are framed by a bit of toast. Festive and smooth, this brings a delightful, delicate mouthfeel and more ripe strawberry notes, pink grapefruit and citrus pith with a creamy finish that delivers more tart cranberry and an herbal undernote. MSRP: $49.00, 12% ABV, 92 pts.

Ruffino Rose Extra Dry NV

Glera, the grape used to make Prosecco, is blended with Pinot Noir to create this accessible rosé sparkler.  Try it out on someone who likes Prosecco as a rule and they will be pleasantly surprised. Rose petal and sweet ripe cherry aromas and a strawberry preserve glaze. Creamy and smooth on the palate, frosted icing, cranberry and cherry fruit, and a red licorice finish. MRSP: $14.99, 11% ABV.


Seeking Complexity

Meyer-Fonne Brut Extra Cremant d’Alsace NV

I continue to bang on the Cremant d’Alsace drum. The quality-to-price ratio is extremely high – among the highest on the market today. Depth and complexity are guaranteed. Heady savory lemon, toasted hazelnut and fresh yeast aromas are very aromatic here. There’s a bit of cream on the palate which shifts towards lemon and grapefruit notes, more dark toast and smoky brioche, leading straight into a lighter note of peach and apple, finishing with vanilla, cream and some melon. MSRP: $26, 12% ABV, 91 pts.


Sweet Tooth

Cantine Maschio Cadoro Moscato Dolce Puglia NV

This is something different and accessible for the citrus fruit-bomb lovers in your life. Honeyed apple and peach, apricot, and sweet syrupy orange blossom on the nose. Effervescent and juicy on the palate, this one is for those with a sweet tooth. Clementine juice and pith full on the palate with a white blossom edge and a creamy finish. MSRP: $8.99, 7.5% ABV.


Classic Flavors

Anna de Codorniu Blanc de Blancs Brut Reserva Cava NV

Anna de Codorniu paved the way for the United States’ Cava craze, and they continue to deliver as a leader in the category. Light floral aromas of orange blossom, green apple and pear with pungent spice and a hint of lemon. Expressive palate of Meyer lemon, grapefruit and apple with creamy pastry crust notes and a frolicking texture. There's a touch of tart citrus pith on the finish adding a bit of complexity to this agreeable crowd pleaser. MSRP: $15, 11.5% ABV, 90 pts

Domaine Saint-Remy Cremant d'Alsace NV

Elegant fruity aromas of glazed pear, fresh apple and vanilla cream on the nose. This exhibits a truly fresh palate of lively stone fruit, pierced with zesty acidity and a pile of spice - and wrapped in a creamy layer of vanilla bean, rolled oats and brioche. MSRP: $22, 12.5% ABV, 92 pts.

Treveri Blanc de Noirs Brut Columbia Valley NV

The only dedicated sparkling wine producer in Washington State is a master of its trade. Light, salmon color. A savory spice greets the nose with red fruit aromas of strawberry and cherry. A touch of medicine and licorice to start, this warms in the mouth with more light red fruit notes of watermelon and cherry with a finish of dried fruit. MSRP: $20, 12% ABV

Vilarnau Brut Reserva Cava NV

Light grapefruit and lemon aromas. Tart and focused in the mouth with a creamy yeast note, this is austere yet restrained with pear and green apple fruit notes coming through on the finish. MSRP: $12.99, 11.5% ABV

Bodega Norton Extra Brut Mendoza NV

Fresh lemon and pear aromas with light potpourri notes. The floral notes continue on to the palate where light peach, apple and grapefruit notes mix with good acidity and a pleasantly viscous mouthfeel, finishing with a bit more lemon and an oak note. MSRP: $15, ABV 12%.

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