Wine | Pink fizz to share with your special one this weekend
For the restaurant and card industries Valentine’s weekend is the year’s first important date.For the rest of us it’s the first opportunity to take a step out of the winter blues, open a nice bottle and share it with someone special, especially if you took part in Dry January.
This weekend is going to be about something sparkling and it seems rosé is the colour of love, so here are some pink fizzes to help you celebrate with that special one.
Mirabeau La Folie Sparkling Rosé (Waitrose £10.99 on offer from £14.99 until February 18) is produced
by well-known Provence estate Mirabeau, which was established by English couple Stephen and Jeany Cronk in 2010.
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It is produced just like prosecco and really is lots of fun. While it’s not technically Provence rosé, it just about ticks all those boxes wrapped up with a bit of sparkle. Very pale in colour with a good mousse, there are notes of red fruits and citrus on the bouquet, followed by a fresh, light palate with a lively finish that makes you want to take another sip. It would make a lovely aperitif.
Looking back at previous Valentine’s recommendations I have recommended Les Pionniers NV Rosé Champagne (Co-op £20 down from £22 until February 18) before, but it is one of the best value supermarket rosé Champagnes on the shelves. The Co-op’s Les Pionniers Champagne range is made for them by Piper Heidsieck and both this wine and the Brut NV are impressive. The rosé is a blend of pinot noir and chardonnay. It has a bright pink colour with fine, persistent bubbles. The nose has red fruits, a touch of orange zest and some toasty brioche notes followed by a mouth-filling palate with well-balanced acidity and more red fruits before a long, complex finish. Again, try this as an aperitif but it also has enough weight to go with a salmon or chicken dish if the sauce is not too rich.
I am lucky, I appreciate that. I taste a lot of Champagnes at various tastings but if I had to choose one rosé Champagne there’s no doubt it would be Bollinger Rosé Brut NV (widely available including Waitrose, Ocado £37.49 down from £49.99 until February 18) and this is what I will be opening.
It is quite a new Champagne for Bollinger. It was only first released in 2008 but since then it really has become something of a brand leader. It’s a blend of pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot meunier with a small amount of the pinot noir vinified as red wine. It offers a beautiful colour in the glass with a constant stream of tiny bubbles. There are notes of wild red berries and red cherry, as well as a touch of spice and fresh bread on the nose, followed by more red fruits, a silky texture on the palate and a long, lingering finish. This is classy Champagne and if you want to be adventurous try it with sushi.
• Alistair Gibson is proprietor of Hermitage Cellars, Emsworth, on 01243 431002 or [email protected]