Friday, February 12, 2016

Bubbly Gift Guide for Valentine's Day - 2016

No matter what your opinion is about Valentine's Day, there is one thing we can all agree on - it is a excellent excuse to drink bubbly!  Break out the champagne coupes - here are my favorite bubbles for Valentine's Day to share with friends, a lover, or (better yet) to treat yourself!
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1.  Let's just kick off with the official Champagne of James Bond: Champagne Bollinger 007 Millesime 2009, because let's face it, no one has moves quite like Bond, and we can all learn a few tricks.  The wine is 68% Pinot Noir and 32% Chardonnay, and is aged in small oak barrels to avoid extra tannins or flavor of oak.  It is light and floral with flavors of candied citrus, honey, and creamy brioche.  Aston Martin not included.  $199

2.  Onward to the Rosé, because we are talking about Valentine's Day after all.  Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé comes in the signature bottle inspired by King Henri IV and its romantic label that harks back to another era.  This non-vintage champagne is a blend of almost a dozen crus, and is made from Pinot Noir grapes.  The champagne has a fruit forward nose and flavors of berry fruits, rose, with a sharp finish.  $100

3.  Another of my favorites is the Taittinger Prestige Rosé, a lovely champagne that has a gorgeous texture from the time spent on the lees.  It has a nose of red fruit, raspberries, and blackberries.  On the palate it is spicy with flavors of red fruits with floral notes, and a nice umami flavor from the time spent on oak.  $70

4. The WINC 2015 Sparkling Red Blend is not a champagne but it is delicious bubbly wine that is similar to a Lambrusco (only wine grown and produced in the Champagne region of France can bear the name Champagne).  For those looking for something a bit more savory and flavorful, a sparkling red is a great choice.  This wine is lovely with either dinner or with dessert.  the 2015 Sparkling Red was bottled in partnership with Compartés Chocolate, and the pairing of wine and pretzel spiked dark chocolate is an awesome combination.  $25

 5.  For those celebrating a special occasion, the Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Rosé 2004 is a wonderfully romantic choice with the bottle painted in the signature 1902 Japanese anemone motif.  The nose is delicate yet complex with aromas of pink grapefruit, pomegranate, raspberry, and mandarin oranges.  On the palate it is crisp with lots of pink grapefruit, fresh red fruits, fresh blossoms, nice minerality, and a finish of toasted brioche.  $180

6.  Make like Bey and Jay and celebrate the holiday with a bottle of Armand de Brignac Rosé.  One can only hope that this blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier will give even us mere humans the ability to turn anything we touch into gold, just like the power duo.  Even if you don't inherit a Midas Touch, you will still be able to enjoy this delicious champagne that has flavors of ginger, morello cherries, black currant and a finish of smoky oak.  $500

Power Move: Ace of Spades Rosé Imperial 6L Bottle, because you like to make friends (ahem, we expect an invitation).  $10,000

7.   The Palmes d'Or Rose 2005 is the upper line of Nicolas Feuillatte, a delightful blend of Pinot Noir grapes sourced from the Riceys and Bouzy regions.  On the nose this champagne is fresh and bright with flavors of red fruit, cherries, raspberries, vanilla, white peppercorn and floral notes of violet and lilac. On the palate this wine is fresh, with a nice balance of dry acidity with a velvety mouthfeel.  It has strong flavors of red fruits with a bright herbal freshness.  $154

8.  Moët & Chandon Rosé Brut NV is a wonderful rosé champagne that has a bit of a lower price point but still feels like a luxurious extravagance.  This dry wine has flavors of fresh strawberries and toasted pastry.  This wine pairs beautifully with food.  $50

9.   Another beautiful Perrier Jouët Champagne is the Blason Rosé, which has a lower price point than the Belle Epoque but drinks like a much more expensive champagne.  It is round, full of ripe fruit flavors of cherry and grapefruit, with balanced acidity and minerality.  $50

10.  Ruinart Champagne is the oldest house in the Champagne region, dating from 1729.  Think about that for a second.  1729.  Which means that almost 300 years of expertise go into every bottle, making even the non vintages a gorgeous experience.  The non vintage Ruinart Brut Rosé has a nose of strawberries, mint, and dried red fruits, with flavors of ripe strawberries and cherries, rose petal, dried fruit, minerality, and a slight minty freshness.  $80

 11.  Really good champagnes from small growers can be difficult to find, but thanks to Henri's Reserve, it is a lot easier.  I am a big fan of the Henri Billiot Fils Brut Rosé that has a complex nose with flavors of ginger, molasses, and rich strawberry.  On the palate this wine is equally as complex with flavors of red fruits, floral highlights, and bright salinity.  $65

Henri's Reserve also offers Tasting Boxes filled with small grower champagnes, and a monthly Champagne Club - now that's love.

12.  Last but certainly not least, the classic - Veuve Clicquot Rosé NV - a fruit froward rosé that has flavors of fresh red fruit and sweet dried fruit, complimented with flavors of creamy pastries.  Veuve Clicquot was run by widow Clicquot, the ultimate Single Lady, who ran the company with much success until her death in the 1860s.  Cheers to widow Clicquot, the OG Boss Bitch.    $60

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