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VALENTINE’S DAY: Sparkling Rosé Makes It Special

Sparkling rosé wine—be it Champagne or from another part of the world*—isn’t a great idea for Valentine’s Day just because it’s pink. The color is an added bonus for Valentine festivities.

What makes sparkling rosé special is the deeper fruit flavor, fuller body and roundness that comes from pinot noir grapes.†

Never confuse rosé Champagne or other fine sparkler with “pink Champagne,” a lesser-quality product that is colored pink, rather than allowing a natural color extraction from the pinot noir grape skins.

Rosé sparklers tend to be more expensive than their conventional counterparts. But for about $22.00 a bottle, a bottle of Domaine Chandon Brut Rosé is delicious; for $50.00, the Domaine Chandon Etoile Rosé has wonderful complexity and is well worth the money if your budget allows.

*Only sparkling wines made in the Champagne region of France can be called “Champagne.” Wines made anywhere else—including other regions of France—are called sparkling wine.

†Some sparkling rosé wines are 100% pinot noir, others are blended with chardonnay grapes. Sparklers that have no pink color can still contain pinot noir, but have not had skin contact with the pinot noir grapes, which impart the color.

Pretty in pink: as a cocktail or a dessert. Photo courtesy Domaine Chandon

The two sparkling wines are made by Domaine Chandon, the Napa Valley winery founded in 1973 by Moët-Hennessy, producers of Moët et Chandon and Dom Pérignon champagnes.
Serve these delicious bubblies:

  • As an apéritif, before dinner.
  • As a sherbet champagne cocktail (shown in photo): 1 ounce of sorbet in a champagne flute, topped with Domaine Chandon Brut Rosé (the strawberry sorbet complements the strawberry notes in the champagne).
  • With dinner.
  • As dessert: Adapt the champagne cocktail by adding a scoop of strawberry sorbet to a sherbet champagne glass, globe wine glass, parfait glass or compote dish; top with champagne and sliced strawberries.
    Should you serve sparkling wine with chocolates or chocolate cake?

    Only if it’s a demi sec or sec (sweet) style.‡ There’s too much acidity in a brut Champagne or sparkling wine, which fights the sugar in the dessert. Here are our suggestions for:

  • Pairing wines with different desserts
  • Pairing wines with different chocolates
    ‡While sec is French for “dry,” it’s idiosyncratic that, as regards Champagne and other sparkling wines, sec refers to a sweet style.

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