I am a pink lady... No--not like the characters in "Grease" or Hugh Hefner's Playboy bunnies who always wear pink. I am a pink lady as in I love my sparkling wines and Champagnes sporting the pink look. It's stylin'!!! All jokes aside, I've spent quite a bit of time in the last few weeks sampling all kinds of bubbly at local tastings and parties here in town---domestic and foreign--American, French, Australian, Spanish, Italian...More often than not though, I find myself gravitating toward the sparklers with the pink hue. Why is this? Why am I so obsessed with that lovely color? I figured out it was more about the flavor than the color. Don't get me wrong--I often enjoy a yeasty Champagne whose nose reminds me of fresh baked bread. But something about that pink hue and rich fruit flavor invites festivity, smiles, fun!! I love fun! And we all desperately need fun because in the dead of winter, nothing motivates us more than a little fun.
New Year's Eve is inevitably creeping upon us, faster than you can say "FUN!". So I've decided to compile a list of five sparklers I've tried lately--all pink, all fun, all price points. None of which will kill your pocketbook. You decide...
I found an Aussie sparkler recently, appropriately named "Pink". It is from a company called Yellowglen. (They also make one called "Yellow".) A beautiful pink hue, everything about this wine spells "BARGAIN". Part Pinot Noir, part Chardonnay, it is no muss, no fuss for the bargain hunter looking for an easy sparkler with a pink hue. It's delicious, barely sweet, inexpensive (around $10) and very easy to drink. Reminds me of a fun Jolly Rancher kind of fruity. So if you don't want to spend a lot, have lots of friends coming over etcetera, this wine can be found at your local grocery store. Easy enough.
Next up is Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs. Gloria Ferrer Champagne Caves are located in the heart of Sonoma County, California and are producers of some fine sparkling wines. This one is no exception. Many years in a row, I have purchased this wine knowing I would be getting a great staple, well-rated, value sparkler and crowd pleaser. Predominantly Pinot Noir with a small amount of Chardonnay blended in, it gets its off-pink hue from a bit of Vin Gris thrown in. It's a beauty, it's a bargain at $20. (I got one on sale last night for around $15--pretty happy about that!) I will be opening one of these on New Year's Eve. How about you?
Ah, Mumm Napa...My first experience with them was in the Fall of 2006, when I visited their tasting room on the Silverado Trail in Napa. They sat me down and put a nice sampler of three sparklers in front of me and all "H***" broke loose. Kidding... I was feeling pretty good after that visit and when I went to shop their tasting room, I was faced with a menagerie of choices but the Blanc de Noirs went home with me. I noticed recently that they have changed the name of this wine to Brut Rosé. That's fine with me. I've always been impressed with the color of this wine. It's darker than most Brut Rosés. A very beautiful dark pink hue. The flavor is incredible. Lots of raspberries, strawberries, berry explosions! And at $24, it's still in the running as a great bargain--if you can find it. It disappears fast. I'm hiding one right now. For my eyes only... But I could be talked into opening it...
Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Rosé. What can I say? I had it for the first time at a tasting last night and I kept going back to retry it. I was pretty impressed with it. It had a beautiful hue of light to medium pink, delicate berry flavor, a moderate amount of bubbles and no funk. It's French, it's really Champagne (from Epernay in the Champagne region of France) and the bottom line is, at around $42 a bottle, this is a great deal, folks. So if you can find this wine in your local wine shop, go for it. Very enjoyable. Your friends will thank you!
OK, I left my favorite of the season for last...Taittinger Brut Prestige Rosé. I've never loved a bottle of bubbly so much in my entire life!! At around $60 a bottle, I still consider this sparkler a bargain from one of the top Champagne houses in France. Located in Reims, they churn out some top of the line Champagnes in the world! A vibrant shade of pink, full of delicate berries and slightly floral notes (such as roses), it's enjoyable and such a beautiful wine. Highly recommended!
Happy New Year everyone! Here's to a great 2010! May it be even better than 2009!