I’m usually not one to write one of those holiday-themed wine articles. You know the type – best wines to pair with your turkey on Thanksgiving or the top gift wines for Christmas. So why am I writing an article on sparkling rosé for Valentine’s Day? Because I love these bubblies. Some people don’t, and instead of arguing with them, my response it, “great, there’s more for the rest of us.”
So for the rest of us, here is an assortment of several recommended sparkling rosés from Italy, California and of course, France.
Mionetto Prosecco Rosé 2019 – Given the enormous popularity of Prosecco over the past 15-20 years, is it any surprise that a Prosecco Rosé DOC category would be created? For years, some producers who made Prosecco did make a sparkling Rosé, but weren’t allowed to label it as Prosecco, but now in 2021, they can.
From one of the largest producers in Valdobbiadene, the heartbeat of Prosecco production, we have the Mionetto Prosecco Rosé, a blend of 90% Glera (the most dominant varietal in Prosecco) and 10% Pinot Nero. Pale blush with aromas of maraschino cherry and orange poppy. Medium-bodied, this is surprisingly dry, with a moderately long finish. It’s not rich on the palate, but it is well made and its dryness makes it a fine food partner. No need to age this one – enjoy over the next 12-15 months. Very Good
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Cuvaison Brut Rosé 2017 (Napa Valley, Los Carneros) – Known better for its Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, Cuvaison also has a lovely sparkling Rosé. 65% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir. Dosage 8.2 grams per liter. Pale orange/blush; aromas of orange peel, dried rose petals and a hint of pink grapefruit. Medium-full with very good ripeness, good acidity and a dry, round, clean finish. This is quite appealing and a fine food wine with dishes such as veal medallions and chicken gumbo. Enjoy over the next 2-3 years, perhaps longer. Excellent
Scharffenberger Brut Rosé Excellence NV (Mendocino County, CA) – Scharffenberger is one of the longest-producing sparkling wine estates of Mendocino County, dating back to 1981. A blend of 55% Pinot Noir, 45% Chardonnay. Deep orange; aromas of persimmon, tangerine and orange poppy. Medium-full, this is a subdued sparkler with very good acidity, delicate red spice notes in the finish and impressive harmony. Enjoy over the next 2-3 years. Excellent
Roederer Estate Brut Rosé NV (Anderson Valley, Mendocino County) – Roederer Estate is the California sparkling wine home of Louis Roederer. Founded in 1982, only estate fruit is used in their classic method sparkling wines; the quality has been among the very best in California for some time now. A blend of 56% Pinot Noir, 44% Chardonnay. Deep orange hue; aromas of orange zest, mandarin orange and wild strawberry. Rich mid-palate, this has delicious ripe fruit that bursts on the palate. There is good acidity and persistence and a rich, satisfying finish. Very impressive! Enjoy over the next 2-5 years. Outstanding
Iron Horse Wedding Cuvée 2016 – This Sonoma County producer, located in the cool climate Green Valley, has been one of California’s leading classic method sparkling wine producers for decades. While their Wedding Cuvée is technically in the Blanc de Noirs style, it is a Rosé, as it contains white grapes, unlike a Blanc de Noirs that requires only red varieties. A blend of 71% Pinot Noir, 29% Chardonnay. Very pale orange hue; very small bubbles. Delicate aromas of orange zest, lemon peel and orange poppy. Medium-full, this has a graceful feel on the palate, very good acidity, impressive persistence and notable complexity. I love the subtleties and finesse in this wine; this is beautifully realized. Enjoy this on its own or with a lighter poultry dish over the next 2-5 years. Outstanding
Ayala Rosé Majeur (NV) – A blend of 51% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir and 9% Meunier. Appealing strawberry/orange hue; beautiful aromas of pink roses, persimmon and orange zest. Medium-full with impressive ripeness, rich, juicy fruit, good acidity, notable complexity and excellent overall harmony. Very appealing, especially with Thai or Oriental cuisine. Enjoy over the next 2-4 years. Excellent
Veuve Clicquot Brut Rosé (NV) – Everyone knows the Veuve Clicquot “Yellow Label” Brut, while their non-vintage Brut Rosé gets only moderate attention. That’s unfortunate, as it’s regularly excellent, while their vintage Rosé is typically outstanding. A blend of 44% to 48% Pinot Noir, 13% to 18% Meunier and 25% to 29% Chardonnay. Deep copper/orange hue; aromas of orange roses, persimmon and sweet cherry. Medium-full with a rich mid-palate, excellent ripeness, a pleasing spiciness, good length in the finish and good acidity that keeps everything in balance. Rich and forward, with excellent complexity. Pair this with a range of foods from duck breast to tuna steak; enjoy over the next 3-5 years. Excellent
Bollinger Rosé NV – Founded in 1829, Bollinger is one of the most famous of all Champagne houses; I’ve yet to try any cuvée from this house that is less than first-rate. This is a blend of 62% Pinot Noir, 24% Chardonnay and 14% Meunier. Deep orange hue; aromas of ripe oranges, tangerine, plum and orange poppy. Full-bodied and very ripe, this is a seductive Rosé Champagne with distinct red spice notes, very good acidity and a powerful finish. This needs to be paired with duck breast or roast goose. Enjoy over the next 3-7 years. Ultra impressive for a non-vintage Rosé Champagne. Outstanding
Petit & Bajan “Nymphea” Brut Rosé Grand Cru (NV) – 90% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir. Disgorged September 2018. Bright deep orange hue. Intense aromas of maraschino cherry, sweet potato (!) and orange roses. Rich mid-palate, powerful fruit definition, good acidity, rich, fruit-filled finish and impressive harmony. Enjoy this over the next 3-6 years. I’d pair this with a roasted game bird. Outstanding
Louis Roederer Rosé 2013 – Louis Roederer is not only one of the most famous names in Champagne, but also one of the most innovative and eco-conscious of all the firms in this region, as a high percentage of their vineyards (70% of their fruit comes from estate vineyards, a remarkable high percentage for a Champagne house) are farmed biodynamically.
The 2013 Rosé is a blend of 63% Pinot Noir and 37% Chardonnay. Deep orange hue; aromas of strawberry, yellow plum and black cherry. Medium-full with a rich, beautifully sensual mid-palate. Lengthy finish, pristine acidity, marvelous complexity. A beautifully styled Rosé Champagne that offers a great deal of finesse and charm. I love this on its own, though I’d love to pair it with delicate seafood or shellfish (I’m thinking bay scallops). Enjoy over the next 5-7 years. Outstanding
Moet & Chandon Nectar Imperial Rosé (Limited Edition) – The winery’s website mentions that this cuvée is “perfect for lightlife.” Sounds enticing! A blend of primarily Pinot Noir and Meunier, with 5%-10% Chardonnay, this is a sweet Champagne with a dosage of 45 grams per liter (for comparison, a Brut Champagne must have a dosage of 12 grams per liter or less; ironically, this Nectar is classified as Dry Champagne, meaning it’s rather sweet. Confused? It’s too long a story to tell).
Deep orange; aromas of wild strawberry, watermelon and sweet cherries. Medium-bodied with impressive ripeness and good acidity with appealing fruit notes of persimmon and mandarin. This is elegant, quite tasty and is not as sweet as you night think. Very appealing – enjoy now or over the next 3-5 years, perhaps longer. Excellent