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Spring is coming, and one of the first of the springtime celebrations is St. Valentine's Day where we honor the ones we love.
Among the universal celebratory accessories are sparkling wines, which are almost always called champagne. Champagne is only one of the myriad sparkling wines in the marketplace. The easiest way to tell if a wine is a champagne is to look at the price tag which, if it is so high it scares you, it’s champagne.
Unfortunately, the high price of champagne has cast a shadow on other sparkling wines. Lower prices often are associated with low quality, and nothing could be further from the truth when it comes to the sparkling wines listed below.
There are many affordable excellent sparkling wines that are just as celebratory as champagne.
Adami “Bosco di Gica” Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Brut ($22)
I hope that pronouncing the name didn’t bruise your lips, but I can assure that this wine will delight your palate. This sparkler does have a perceptible sweetness which enhances but is not overdone and accentuates the full fruit flavor.
2021 Adami “Col Credas” Valdobbiadene Rive di Farra di Soligo Extra Brut ($26)
Here is an elegant prosecco that is dry, presenting a basket of summer fruit flavors and aromas. This wine maintained its carbonation for an extremely long time even as the wine was warmed to room temperature with no loss in flavor and aroma.
2018 Enrico Serafino “Oudeis” Brut Rose Alta Langa ($31)
Made from 100% pinot nero, or pinot noir, this wine has been given over two years of aging before release to the public. A sparkling pinot noir is a rarity because the grapes are always expensive and it is difficult to work with. This wine retains all of the flavors and aromas of a pinot nero wine which are enhanced by the bubbles.
Val D’Oca Rose Prosecco ($18)
This selection is a true prosecco that offers a bit more than the white version. The wine has been given extra contact with the grape skins to give it its bright rosy color and additional red fruit flavor. The wine delivers the fruit flavors expected from a red wine but in rose form. Cherry is the most prominent with blueberry in the background, along with a floral element.
Cleto Chiarli Brut de Noir Rose Vino Spumante di Qualità ($16)
This wine pays homage to Modena, Italy’s history of light pink wines that were often enjoyed as a refreshing treat for farmers. The Brut de Noir Rose is based on the lambrusco grasparossa grape and unlike many lambruscos which are frizzante (slightly carbonated), this is a fully sparkling wine. This very interesting wine is the type enjoyed by the vineyard workers when working in the fields. A darker pink in color, this spumante could easily be the poster child for all the Italian rose sparkling wines as it holds nothing back and offers almost every flavor and aroma possible.
Banfi Rosa Regale ($22)
This wine comes from the most famous of the Italian wine producers and if you know Italians or Italian wine, then you must know Banfi. This sparkling wine is not a rose nor is it white, but rather it is deep red and sweet. This wine has been made from the brachetto d’Acqui grape which dates back to the times of Cleopatra. Legend has it that both Julius Caesar and Marc Antony presented Cleopatra with several wine skins ﬁlled with this luscious elixir, knowing it would be love at first sip. As an added extra, the is the wine to perfectly accompany chocolate, if you also are headed in that direction.
Wine columnist Bennet Bodenstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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