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Wine Talk: Wines For Valentine’s


Sparkling wine is perfect for any occasion.  It is great for brunch or to start a great holiday meal.  For Valentine’s Day it is a must.  Sparkling Rose that is well made and not a sickly sweet wine is one of my favorite choices.  The pricey wines are made Champagne method which is double fermentation in the bottle.  These wines to be nice do not have to be from the Champagne Region in France and; therefore, should not be referred to as Champagne.  They are sparkling wines.  There are many that really sparkle in more ways than one.

NV Champagne Lanson Rose Label Brut Rose is a great choice at about $49.00.  This is a delicate rosé champagne with subtle notes of red currant and cranberry balanced by deeper toastier notes.  It’s a perfect aperitif wine; it’s refreshing, but with enough weight to make you crave it with something more substantial.  And anyone who’s mad about the color combination of pink and black will be drawn to this gorgeous bottling.  Pair with Oysters Rockefeller, roasted pork, prosciutto and cheese.

Another great choice is Angove Family Winemakers Zibibbo Pinik Moscato.  This Moscato is from Down Under!!  Actually the climate in Southern Italy – where Moscato is known as Zibibbo – is quite similar to that in Southern Australia.  Pink Moscatos – which are tinted with a splash of red wine – have become quite fashionable lately.  This one is crafted from Muscat of Alexandria grapes and the wine delivers Moscato’s delicious fruit cocktail of peaches, nectarines spiced with hint of nutmeg.  Roasted pears with blue cheese or creamy cheeses with fresh berries, like a coeur a la crème would be a great match!  A great wine for about $15.00.

2014 Blackbird Vineyards Arriviste Napa Valley Rose is another great choice.  This wine is salmon pink and has subtle aromas of cherry and tart red berries like a rose from Provence in the South of France.  Then it develops into its blend of Merlot, Cabernet and Cabernet Franc.  I think they chose this blend because whatever the winemaker had more of they put into the blend and they all came out great.  This wine is made from what is called the saignee method.  In making red wines when the wine reaches a desired color and flavor the draw some wine off and bottle it.  This wine is great with smoked salmon and hearty cheeses.  The cost is about $24.00.

Made from bio-dynamically raised Pinot Noir grapes, this is one of the most beautiful brut rosés in its price category.  It’s a cap classique, the South African term for sparkling wines made the same way as Champagne.  Like a pale pink jewel, it sparkles with flavors of pink grapefruit, rhubarb and red berries.  It goes great with segments of avocado, butter-poached lobster and a crab salad. At about $16 a good bargain.

Any exploration of rosé would be incomplete without a brachetto d’acqui.  The grape is prized in its native Piedmont as an aphrodisiac, perhaps because of its seductive aroma and sweet-tart flavor that blends floral rose with raspberries and cranberry.  Cleopatra loved wines from this ancient grape and both Marc Anthony and Caesar wooed her with it.  Brachetto is a natural with dark bittersweet chocolate; but it’s quite delicious as a foil for salty foods like figs stuffed with blue cheese.  About $19.

For an excellent bargain, there’s the non-vintage Korbel Brut Rosé ($14) in a limited-edition pink bottle with a lace design.  The wine is racy and spicy, with ample berry fruit and a trace of sweetness.  The non-vintage Mumm Napa Brut Rosé ($24) is a step up in price but is often discounted.  It’s pale and delicate, with red fruit, mineral and a hint of vanilla.  The wines are well made and popular.

Enjoy your Valentine’s day with your special someone, family and friends.  You will be glad you did!

Ray Spaziani is the Chapter Director of the New Haven Chapter of the American Wine Society.  He teaches wine appreciation classes at Gateway Community College, The Milford Board of Ed and at Moltose Wine and Beer supply and is a member of the International Tasting Panel of Amenti Del Vino and Wine Maker Magazine.  He is an award winning home wine maker. Email Ray with your wine questions and wine events at

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