Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sparkling Wine for Your Valentine

It's almost V-Day. Nothing says romance like some bubbly, and even if you are alone this Valentine's Day, don't you deserve to treat yourself to some sparkling wine? Sparkling wine is great for winding down at the end of a long day, it's not too bad with dark chocolate, and it is fantastic with fried comfort foods (potato chips, french fries, and fried chicken to name a few).

If you're in the market for some affordable sparkling wine, I've got a rundown of some of my preferred bottlings from all over the world that cost between $14 and $23. Bubbly wines may be romantic, but nothing says forever like a nice retirement account, so put the money you would have spent on Champagne into the bank and try one of these instead.

N.V. Freixenet Cava Elyssia Pinot Noir Brut. ($18) This lovely packaging contains a very nice bottle of Spanish sparkling wine made entirely from Pinot Noir. A beautiful dark rose in color, there are aromas and flavors of strawberries, cucumbers, and a touch of mint. This sparkler is fresh tasting, yet round and lush, too, with nice body. Good with chocolate, pasta with vodka sauce, or salmon. Well worth the price, and excellent QPR.

N.V. Cupcake Vineyards Blanc de Blancs. ($15.99) A well-made, 100% Chardonnay sparkling wine, with lots of citrus, apple, and some bread dough notes. The wine's refreshing, mild flavors make it an excellent choice for a pre-dinner sipper, or to go with simply prepared fish or chicken. Very good QPR.

N.V. Pongrácz Brut. ($14.99) An interesting sparkler from South Africa made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, this wine has toasted bread, apple, and cherry pit flavors. Some may find the bubbles are a bit harsh and raspy, but it is very refreshing and would also be excellent if you are making mimosas or other cocktails that need sparkling wine. Try floating a hibiscus flower in it, with a dash of the syrup from the bottle. It looks beautiful! Very Good QPR.

N.V. Jansz Premium Cuvée ($22.95, Bristol Farms; available elsewhere for $16-$24) An elegant, creamy sparkling wine from Tasmania, with lots of apple in the midpalate. The wine had a lovely mouthfeel, and would partner well with creamy sauces. Made from Chardonnay with a bit of Pinot Noir. Very good QPR.

N.V. Mumm Napa Cuvée M ($20) I was VERY impressed with this $20 domestic sparkler. It had a depth of flavor that I usually find lacking in cheaper sparklers which are all bubbles and citrus and not much else. Made in a barely sec style, from Pinot Noir and late-harvest Muscat, this wine has aromas of white chocolate, toasted bread, and strawberry followed by layered flavors of white chocolate, rose petal, Meyer lemon, strawberry, and toast. Pretty great stuff. Excellent QPR.

Full Disclosure: with the exception of the Jansz, I received all these wines as samples. Prices given are suggested retail, and you may find that the wine costs more or less in your area. Clicking on the wine's name will take you to one of various wine search engines in case you would like to purchase the wine near you.


Thomas @ The Blog Wine Cellar said...

Thanks for the great post Deb. It's perfect timing for a post about affordable bubbly for Valentines! The Mumm Napa is a great value and has considerable depth for an inexpensive sparkler. That Freixenet rose looks super good too and it's pink which will no doubt please my wife! Cheers~

Claudia said...

I also like the Gruet NV from New Mexico and the Castille Cava Brut Rise NV. They meet your price criteria and are delightful wines. I'm seeing the Gruet on restaurant lists a lot.

The Negociants USA gang said...

Nice post. Great notes on each of these affordable bubblies. Thanks for including Jansz - it's not too well known here in the US, but it is Tasmania's (and Australia's) best fizz!

gih said...

The last photo I think is the best one.

Anonymous said...

Cava Cava Cava - since most Champagne is priced out of my range there are several cava in Ontario that I recommend