Sure, bubbly is boss on New Years and even at celebrations like birthdays and anniversaries, but why not add its charming sparkle to silly-sweet St. Valentine’s Day? I can’t think of a lustier toast … except for maybe Bedrock’s ravishing Ode to Lulu rosé, or a sinful zinfandel, or ….
Here’s my go-to list:
NV Domaine Chandon étoile Sonoma-Napa Brut, $40 As crisp as the February fallen snow yet buttery and full like a fresh baked croissant, this American bubbly enlivens your senses with juicy strawberry, orange, and vibrant apple notes. chandon.com
2003 Roederer Estate L’Ermitage Brut Rosé, $70 Louis Roederer Brut champagne, France, is one of my favorite bottles so this second release of the limited pink version really puts the rosy in my cheeks. Opulent and deep: think fresh peach, strawberry, white mineral, hints of sweet bread dough and ripe red fruits. Embrace the splurge. champagne-roederer.com
Moet & Chandon Rosé Imperial, $120 She’ll love you for this girly-pink Valentine’s gift set that’s just as gimmicky as the greeting card driven holiday—and perfect for the lady who has everything. Fleshy body, with intense flavors of cherry, white pepper, and red fruit that dance on your tongue with youthful freshness. Yes, Scarlett Johansson in a bottle! moet.com.
J Cuvee 20 Brut, J Vineyards, Russian River Valley, $20 What do you get when you mix almonds, apples, peach and stone fruits, toast and tiny bubbles with a lingering clean finish? Hello Valentine: a well-crafted classy sparkler with a civilized price that pairs well with spicy dishes and companions alike. jvineyards.com.
Jaillance Brut Crémant de Bordeaux Cuvée de l’Abbaye, $19 Elegant honey-hued with a rich bouquet of sweet almonds, white flowers, and marjoram; notes of pear, stone fruit, and brioche on the finish. Crémant is the fine dry sparkling wine produced in France outside of the champagne region. You’ll even have enough dough left over for that box of chocolates. jaillance.com.
Red, Red Wine
Caminada Winery Malbec, Uco Valley Mendoza Argentina, $11 This off-the-beaten path selection with a jazzy label is sure to seduce over a lingering dinner for two. A ruby red hue, spicy sensory notes, and flavors of vanilla, cherry and plum put this juicy Malbec in the running for an affordable option that pairs well with grilled meats and tango partners alike. caminadawines.com
Our list of super California zinfandel wines is long but here are a few you can rely on: Lambert Bridge, Ravenswood, Ridge, Dutcher Crossing, Seghesio. Many of them are from Dry Creek Valley where some of the very oldest vines produce the hippest and happiest wines.
* The right time to drink Champagne from Madame ‘Lily’ Bollinger: “I drink my Champagne when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it — unless I’m thirsty.”
*Age does not protect you from love. But love, to some extent, protects you from age.