© 2008 by Randy Buckner
December 2008

A 21-bottle salute to sparkling rosé

Instead of presenting your sweetheart with roses this Valentine's Day, how about serving up a romantic Rosé Champagne or sparkling wine? Place the bottle in the center of a silver tray, surrounded by mini-bagels covered with cream cheese and smoked salmon. If they have a sweet tooth, serve with chocolate-dipped strawberries. Better yet, why not do both?

This is a 21-bottle salute to sparkling rosé wines from around the world. There is something here to please most everyone's pocketbook and palate. Enjoy!

The dual rating system evaluates quality (the first number) and value (the second) on a 100-point scale. All wines are tasted from Riedel Vinum glasses. All prices are the manufacturer's suggested retail price. Vendor prices are often less expensive. As always, enjoy a bottle with dinner tonight.

NV Barefoot Bubbly, White Zinfandel Champagne, California, $11. Simple and sweet, highlighted by red cherries and citrus fruit; 80/80.

NV Bouvet, Brut Rosé Excellence, Samur, France, $17. Light salmon pink in color, this elegant wine presents aromas and flavors of berries, currants and a twist of citrus. Good value; 86/89.

NV Domaine Carneros, Brut Rosé, Cuvée de la Pompadour, Napa, California, $36. Salmon pink in color, the wine is underscored by stone fruit and red berry accents. Crisp and bright, with a long tangy finish; 88/88.

NV Domaine Chandon, Rosé, California, $22. The color is literally sunset in a glass. The medium-fine bead delivers aromas and flavors of strawberries and melons that linger endlessly on the finish; 85/86.

NV étoile (Domaine Chandon), Rosé, Napa and Sonoma Counties, California, $50. This copper-pink wine delivers raspberries up front, with plums and warm spices. Very elegant, with a long finish augmented by bread dough nuances; 89/89.

NV Freixenet, Cordon Rosado, Spain, $12. A medium bead courses through this watermelon-colored wine. Aromas and flavors speak of cherries, minerals and a hint of peach. Good value; 84/87.

2006 Graham Beck, Brut Rosé, Western Cape, South Africa, $18. This pale Rosé sports a medium-fine bead. Aromas and flavors reveal strawberries, citrus and cream, with an unusual touch of leather on the finish; 85/87.

NV Henriot, Brut Rosé Champagne, Reims, France, $70. A lovely coppery-pink hue reveals a medium-fine fine bead. Elegant, crisp and refreshing in the mouth, you'll find delightful raspberries and minerals abounding; 90/90.

2002 Henriot, Brut Rosé Millesimé, Reims, France, $100. Brass colored with a pink tinge, this Champagne has a delicate nose of mixed red berries. Crisp, elegant and complex in the mouth, the finish lingers endlessly; 92/92.

NV J Vineyards & Winery, Brut Rosé, Russian River Valley, California, $40, 700 cases. Sporting a light pink hue with a medium-fine bead, the aromas and flavors speak of red apples, stone fruit and red berries. It is very polished, with a long finish; 90/90.

NV Korbel, Brut Rosé, California Champagne, $12, 35,000 cases. Displaying a delicate pink hue, this crisp, refreshing sparkler has aromas and flavors of cherries and citrus peel; 84/86.

NV Lucien Albrecht, Rosé, Crémant d'Alsace, France, $20. Delicate pink in color with a medium bead. Red berries highlight the nose and palate, with a smooth mouth feel - perfect for an aperitif; 86/87.

NV Mumm Napa, Brut Rosé, Napa Valley, California, $20. This pink sparkler has a medium-fine mousse, with aromas and flavors of cherry, plum and red berry fruit; 85/86.

NV Nicolas Feuillatte, Brut Rosé, Champagne, France, $53. Copper-pink in color, with a vigorous bead that delivers berry, citrus, toast and apple aromas and flavors, riding on a crisp backbone; 89/89.

NV Pierre Sparr, Cremant Brut Rosé, Alsace, France, $20, 400 cases imported. This crystal pink Cremant reveals mixed red berries on the nose and palate. It is very fruity, with a hint of sweetness and a long finish; 87/88.

2005 Schramsberg, Brut Rosé, California, $40, 7,200 cases. A medium-fine bead courses through this off-dry Rosé. The wine is underscored by red berries, bread dough and cream; 88/88.

NV Segura Viudas, Brut Rosé, Spain, $12. Sporting a cranberry color, the medium bead carries strawberry and citrus peel aromas. Delicate berry fruit is backed by crisp acidity. Good value; 84/87.

NV Taittinger, Brut Prestige Rosé, Reims, France, $75. Medium pink, with a fine bead, this aromatic wine reveals raspberries, red cherries, currants and toast. You'll find excellent structure, with layers of fruit and a biscuit note; 90/90.

NV Taltarni, Brut Taché, Victoria-Tasmania, Australia, $20, 2,000 cases imported. Off-dry, crisp and refreshing, this brassy pink bubbly displays berries, roses, stone fruit and citrus across the spectrum; 86/87.

NV Vigneti Fantinel, Brut Rosé, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy, $22. This pale Rosé has a fine bead that reveals aromas and flavors of citrus and toasted nuts. Berry fruit and toast linger on the finish; 86/87.

NV Yellowtail, Sparkling Rosé Wine, Australia, $11. A medium-fine bead courses through this straightforward sparkler. It is sweet and refreshing, with strawberry and cherry notes; 84/86.

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