Brides have many options to consider while planning their perfect weddings, and wine selection is one that can easily provoke anxiety. With so many wines, so many choices, so many people to please, and a budget to consider, it can be dizzying. So over the next few months (and before I turn to fall-appropriate cabernets, zinfandels and pinot noirs), I’ll be tasting, selecting, and rejecting a host of pretty, pink sparklers in order to help brides with their decision making.
Virginia is currently the second largest host for destination weddings (right behind Charleston, South Carolina), and there is a serious trend in the works here: Brides are rejecting traditional Champagne in favor of the new sparkling rosés. Drier, more delicate, and much better made than their predecessors (many of which tasted appallingly like grape soda pop), these rosés are everything a special occasion wine ought to be: fresh, festive, food-friendly, and impossibly pretty in the glass. Thankfully, there’s a winner for every budget.
Jeio Cuvée Rosé, Valdobbiadene, Italy, $16
This brut spumante (which simply means “foaming” in Italian) is a remarkably good budget choice. Crafted from merlot and pinot noir grapes, it metamorphoses from a medium rose pink in the bottle to a pretty, pale pink in the glass. A simple, straightforward wine, it has a delicate fruit and floral nose, some fruit on the palate, nice balance and structure, and a light and citrusy, moderately dry finish. It knocked out two South African bubblies in a slightly higher price range.
Krone Vintage Rosé Cuvee Brut 2012, Western Cape, South Africa, $20
For those with a slightly higher budget, Krone Vintage Rosé Cuvee Brut is ideal. The wine easily surpassed two competitors from South Africa, with lovely floral and fruit notes rendered more sophisticated by a light yeastiness, creamy mousse, and moderately long, dry finish. It is a lovely pale salmon pink in the glass, with enviable structure at this price point.
The wine, like most South African bubblies, is created using the Methode Cap Classique, and the blend of 60 percent pinot noir and 40 percent chardonnay yields a wine that is graceful on its own but also pairs well with food.
Montenisa Franciacorta, Franciacorta, Italy, $40
The Franciacorta region is already well-known for its stunning, well-priced sparkling wines, which are crafted in the French-style metodo classico (unlike their more bargain-priced Italian sister).
This Montenisa is less explosive in aroma and flavor than one of my favorite wines from the region, Berlucchi, (reviewed here previously) but it still holds its own in a tasting. It has a pleasing complexity, boasting a bit of herb and lush fruit in the nose and on the palate, and delivers a lightly citrusy finish. The creamy mousse and delicate salmon pink hue make it appealing in the glass, while the bottle itself is simple and elegant enough for any bridal occasion.
Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Rose, Chouilly, France, $48
When only a proper Champagne will do, and the bride longs for an elegant beverage with noticeable fruit tempered by pleasing yeastiness, an excellent choice would be this well-made bubbly from Nicolas Feuillatte. Redolent of berries, some cherry and Meyer lemon, and a hint of pepper in the finish, this salmon pink Champagne boasts a persistent fine bubble mousse and a long finish. Excellent with seafood and light meats and cheeses, this artful blend of pinot noir, chardonnay, and pinot meunier is composed of no fewer than 100 crus, resulting in a consistently fine, award-winning Champagne each year.