What’s the best way to celebrate love and special occasions for Valentine’s Day? A glass of fun, frothy wine, of course.
Plenty of sparkling wines are on the shelves, from the nearest grocery store to your favorite wine shop. You can find reliable ones from just about every region in the world and at every price point. But don’t miss what’s happening here in America.
It’s easy to use the word “champagne” to describe all wines with bubbles, but Champagne really only refers to wine produced in the Champagne region of France. The term “sparkling wine” is used for wines of this style produced outside of that region. And some terrific sparklers are made here in the U.S.
Many readers have asked me to mention Gruet Winery in New Mexico as a source of extremely affordable, tasty sparkling wines. I’ve also had at least as many readers ask me not to mention Gruet, so that no one else will find out about their secret, a lovely bottle for about $15.
For reliability and price, reach for Domaine Ste Michelle, produced in Washington State. In a recent class, I put a glass of the brut (well under $20) and a glass of Champagne at twice the price in a blind-tasting lineup. Almost every student identified the Domaine Ste Michelle as the more expensive wine. Wow.
For a little more money, there are also some absolutely stunning sparkling wines produced in the U.S. that can compete with the best wines from any region in the world. Treat yourself to a bottle made by Roederer Estates, Iron Horse, Schramsberg, Domaine Chandon, or Mumm Napa. Each creates a line of wines from entry-level to special-occasion, in a variety of prices, and the wines are just excellent.
Mumm Napa Cuvee M is a crowd-pleaser, with just a hint of sweetness on the finish. The brut from Roederer Estates is terrific alone or with party food. I love Schramsberg Brut Rose for Valentine’s Day, as it is both delicious and has a lovely pink color.
Biltmore Estates from North Carolina also has several tasty sparklers. If you are having a dinner made with local products, why not think about drinking local as well?