Dom Perignon exclaimed after his first sips of Champagne that he was drinking stars, and in honor of Valentine’s Day, now is the time to do the same. But it doesn’t have to set you back quite as much as a bottle of Dom will these days will. Here are a few ideas to help with your celebration. Some selections were sent for editorial consideration.
Schramsberg Mirabelle Brut Rose, made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes from Schramsberg’s Carneros, Anderson Valley, Sonoma County and Marin County vineyards. The bubbly is lively and fresh with strawberry, raspberry and spiced ginger flavors with a toasty finish.
I am normally a Brut girl, wanting a dry sparkler without a lot of extra sweetness, but I tried the Pas de Deux from Biltmore Estatethe other evening and loved it. A Sec made from Muscat Canelli the bubbly is very fruit forward with lots of floral orange blossom and honey aromas followed by wild cherry and strawberry flavors with a hint of citrus. I often finish a meal with a glass of bubbly instead of dessert, and this would be perfect as that…even with a piece or two of dark chocolate.
Riondo Brut Prosecco from Veneto, Italy, one of the best regions for great wine production. This sparkler is light and vibrant with aromas of white peach, green apple and pear with balanced mineral and citrus notes. A great bang for the buck bubbly.
Nino Franco Rustico Prosecco is a nicely balanced sparkler also from Veneto, Italy with good mineral chalky notes blended with lemon zest and orange blossom and yeasty bread dough. A fantastic alternative to classic Champagne, for about $15-$20 a bottle.
Another way to enjoy even the least expensive bottle of bubbly, add a dash of your favorite liqueur to that bubble. St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur, PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur or Cointreau Orange Liqueurare excellent additions to your favorite bubbly. Add an ounce or two to your glass and watch the sparkler bubble with flavored delight.
When I met with Richard Lambert of Cointreau last week we took this to the next level by making Cointreau pearls filled with bits of real gold. Beautiful spheres of Cointreau created with molecular precision using ingredients like maltodextrin, which Lambert created for the company for their annual sponsorship of the Cannes Film Festival. The festival was getting ready to celebrate their 60th anniversary and Cointreau wanted to do something extra special; what could be more special than a perfect sphere of delicious orange liqueur with touches of gold flake, that pop when you drink them in a glass of bubbly. Cheers!