Make your love sparkle
BY W. PETER HOYNE
Valentine's Day is one of the most romantic occasions of the year. Sharing a candlelit dinner with a bottle of rosé champagne or sparkling wine can be a meaningful expression of the passion and romance we have for each other.
1. Chandon Etoile Rosé, California
Under the direction of Champagne house Moet & Chandon, Domaine Chandon became the first of several French-inspired sparkling wine facilities to establish a historic presence in Napa Valley. Domaine Chandon sources its fruit from more than 1,000 acres of land in Napa and Sonoma, which are influenced by cool bay breezes that emphasize the fresh fruit and balanced acidity in their sparkling wine portfolio. Among the top tier of sparkling wines from Chandon, Etoile Rose is a blend of 55 percent Chardonnay, 40 percent Pinot Noir and 5 percent Pinot Meunier. A subtle salmon color opens to a fresh fragrance of acacia flowers and brioche, and a caressing feminine personality accompanied by overtones of crushed strawberries and dried spices. The length and textural qualities of this sparkling wine make it one of the most attractive rosés on the market today. | About $35
2. Castello Banfi Rosa Regale, Italy
Rosa Regale is produced by Castello Banfi, a family-owned vineyard estate and winery situated in Tuscany. The Rosa Regale property is managed by Banfi Vintners, but is in the northern Piedmonte region of Italy, which is know for its festive style of sparkling reds. Rosa Regale is an effervescent Italian rosé made from 100 percent Brachetto grapes. This is an unpretentious sparkling wine for those who are inclined to enjoy a touch of sweetness. Reminiscent of a baked raspberry pie with heavier fruits of dark plum and currant, it is balanced with refreshing acidity in the finish. This is a casual wine with a sensuous flair. | About $22
3. Frexinet Elyssia Pinot Noir Brut, Spain
Cava is the champagne methode or "methode champenoise" style of sparkling wine produced in Spain. Frexinet was founded in 1914 and is recognized as one of the largest cava producers in Spain, sourcing grapes from the Penedes ranges of Catalonia, Spain. The Elyssia Pinot Noir Brut is a new initiative by Frexinet utilizing Pinot Noir grapes, which dramatically enhance the delicate red berry expression of this cava. Pleasing on the palate with a stone cherry-framed background and delicate minerality that make it accessible, this is a perfect sparkling wine to pair with roasted meats. | About $20
4. Mirabelle Brut Rosé, California
Mirabelle is within the Schramsberg portfolio of sparkling wines. Jack and Jamie Davies were one of the first pioneers in Napa Valley determined to produce "America's most prestigious" sparkling wines from an abandoned hillside property, which they named Schramsberg. Their achievements are renowned, noteworthy and certainly beyond their expectations. Mirabelle Brut rosé is a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from several vineyards throughout Northern California. Balanced and expressive with hints of clove and some toastiness, which yields a faint strawberry essence in the background that draws you closer for another taste. | About $22
Though somewhat shrouded in mystery, the origin of this celebrated day dates back to the third century of the Roman Empire when Bishop Valentine was executed by the emperor for refusing to give up his faith and the sacrament of matrimony. Throughout the world, references are made about this lover's holiday when Cupid's arrow touches each of us as we express our affection through cards, chocolates, flowers and unique tokens of affection.