Most Romantic Sparkling Wines (Slideshow)
Francois Montand NV Brut Rosé (Gascogne, France) $14
This is the best value-priced bottle of rosé I’ve tasted, hitting you up front with raspberry and cherry, and tapering to a nice crisp finish. It’s got all the general hallmarks of good rosé without the price tag, perfect if you’ve got a hundred people showing up, and you don’t want to mortgage the house for a five-second toast.
2008 Llopart Cava Brut Rosé (Spain) $20
Spanish Cava has always been my favorite alternative to genuine Champagne, but this vintaged bottle of brut rosé ups the ante. A blend of grenache, mouvedre, and pinot noir, its bright, blueberry-forward bouquet finishes with the trademark minerality of a traditional cava.
Domaine Chandon NV Sparkling Rosé (California) $22
Happily among the easiest to find on this list, Domaine Chandon’s contribution to the rosé landscape uses the méthode traditionnelle of in-bottle fermentation to create this dry but fruit-forward sparkler. With notes of creamy strawberry and almond up front, and a tart bing cherry on the finish, this rosé’s full body stands up well to food pairing. Its deep salmon color matches nicely with a piece of grilled wild sockeye salmon, or any fatty fish.
Jansz NV Premium Rosé (Tasmania) $22
Tasmania and its cool climate is emerging as a New World bastion for sophisticated Burgundy-style wines, Pinot Noir & chardonnay, which explains why both of those grapes appear in this brilliant rosé. Using the traditional méthode Champenoise, this bottle is about as legit as it gets outside the appellation contrôlée of Champagne. With hints of peach and berry, you probably can’t do better than this bottle for the price.
Langlois Crémant de Loire Rosé NV (Loire, France) $26
One of the more full-bodied Rosés on this list, this bottle is a creamy blast of red berries and vanilla, and very bubbly (what the nerds among us might call "a persistent mousse"). What sets it apart is its origins: a sparkling Loire Valley wine made entirely of Cabernet Franc grapes. Its unique flavor and mouthfeel are perfect for toasting, or for pairing with a fruity dessert.
Domaine Carneros Cuvée de la Pompadour NV (Napa Valley, California) $40
As far as I’m concerned, this Napa sparkler is the gold-standard, Platonic Rosé, and one of my two favorites on the list. The lightly salmon-colored wine hints at its complexity on the palate, balancing a persistent note of not-quite-ripe strawberry with a hit of lemon zest. If you want to know what sparkling Rosé really ought to taste like, pick up a case of this for the party.
Veuve Cliquot NV Brut Rosé Champagne (Champagne, France) $70
This is my other favorite on the list — in fact, my hands-down favorite — for its inviting approach and its evolving complexity. The longer you drink on it, the more you get: it starts with plum and currant, morphs into brief hints at a sea-saltiness and smoke somewhere in the middle, and finishes with the gentle acidity of pink grapefruit and a beachy minerality. There are universes contained within this bottle.
Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé Champagne (Champagne, France) $80
For those of you looking to make your evening extraordinary, this bottle is the baller of ballers. Scaffolded by an orderly plume of fine bubbles, it meets your palate with a floral bouquet of berry and pear, balances with a slow undertone of Meyer lemon, and finishes with the gentle astringency of tarragon. This one might be worth hiding in the back of the wine cooler and enjoying by yourself.