If you’ve taken a look at Champagne prices, you’d like a recommendation on which way to go.
Our recommendation: Steer away from Champagne and look at other sparkling wines. Here are two of our favorite affordable bubblies for Valentine’s Day. Both are crowd pleasers. One is a perfect dessert wine or an apéritif; the other can be enjoyed anytime, with any course.
Drink them yourself or give them as gifts. As with all sparkling wines, serve them chilled.
This sweet sparkling wine from the Piedmont region of Italy is a vivid rose red. The color is natural!
It’s made from the brachetto di acqui grape, which grows in the area of Acqui Terme in rocky, calcareous soil (tough soil makes better wines).
The bouquet is very aromatic, with hints of raspberries, strawberries and rose petals. You’ll taste hints of fresh raspberries, with crisp acidity.
In addition to dessert—cakes, tarts, ice cream—it pairs well with seafood, cheeses, spicy fare and yes, that box of Valentine chocolate.
One of our friends calls this wine “love at first sip.” It’s pretty romantic stuff.
The price: $17-$20 per bottle. The pronunciation: bra-KET-toe d’AH-qwee.
There’s more on the brand’s web page.
A recent Top Pick Of The Week for the holidays, this sparkling wine from Australia makes everything more festive—at just $10-$11 per bottle. It’s not a sweet wine, but crisp and refreshing, so it can be paired with anything.
The fragrant nose promises cherries and strawberries on the palate. Unlike the deep red of Brachetto d’Acqui, it’s a pale pink color, similar to a rosé Champagne.
Depending on the retailer and promotion calendar, the bottle may come with a resealable, plastic cap that allows you to seal in the bubbles for the next day. If not, and if you don’t have one, pick up a Champagne resealer. It’s inexpensive, and really does keep that wine sparkling for days.
And it can be the part of the gift that remains, when the wine is long gone.
Here’s our full review of the wine.
And here’s the Yellowtail Bubbles Rosé web page.
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