As Valentine’s Day approaches, I can’t think of a more classic pairing for chocolate cake than pink or red sparkling wines. To prove the point, I’ve been pairing slices of the belated chocolate birthday cake my wife baked for me with both dry and sweet bubbly this week. A couple of dry wines stand out.
Look for Nicolas Feuillatte’s Champagne Rosé Brut. This salmon-colored wine with a suggested price of $48 is fresh and yeasty on the nose with perfumed raspberry, cassis and citrus notes. It’s light on the palate with strawberry and lemon notes and a creamy finish. Clean and focused with fine bubbles. The blend is 60 percent pinot noir, 30 percent pinot meunier and 10 percent chardonnay.
Cava from Spain is one of the world’s top sparkling wine values, and Freixenet is the leading brand, well-known for its under-$10 wines. A nice step up is Freixenet’s “Elyssia” Pinot Noir Brut rosé, at $18. Its fruity aromas suggest cranberry and yellow peach; in the mouth a Maraschino cherry note, a little bitterness and very ample acidity make for an interesting and rewarding combination.
Look for some “sweet” suggestions in my next post. (Wines received as press samples.)