By Rose Murray Brown MW Published in The Scotsman 9 February 2019
Looking for a special sparkling rose to impress your Valentine. Here is my pick of the best fizzing dozen pinks on our supermarket and wine merchant shelves:
Veneto, Italy: ROMEO & JULIET SPUMANTE ROSE EXTRA DRY NV Famiglia Pasqua (11%) ***STAR VALUE***
£9.99 Majestic Wine
With its gushingly romantic name and label, I thought I might hate this rose – but the opposite happened. I was amazed at this pale crisp dry redcurranty clean fizz and its drinkability. In case you were wondering the label depicts part of Romeo & Juliet’s wall where 3000 love messages a day from every corner of the world in one single frame.
Loire, France: SAINSBURYS TASTE THE DIFFERENT CREMANT DE LOIRE ROSE NV Bouvet Ladubey
Made using the same method as Champagne, Cremants can offer brilliant bargains. This dry fizz has a melon and apple fruit palate with creamy finish, although it does not have the balance or length of flavour of Champagne. Tasted side-by-side, it seemed a bit duller compared to Gratien & Meyer’s Saumur Rose below at a similar price.
Loire, France: THE SOCIETY’S SAUMUR ROSE BRUT NV Gratien & Meyer (12%) ***STAR VALUE***
£11.50 The Wine Society
Very popular with tasters for its easy going fruity character, fresh acidity and off dry sweet notes which saves it from being too cloying. Excellent value for money, made by the reputable Gratien & Meyer winery who say the key to good Saumur is the blend – in this case Cabernet France dominant. When tasted alongside other roses across the world, it really shone out as good value.
Veneto, Italy: LE COLTURE SPARKLING ROSE BRUT NV Ruggeri (12.5%)
£13.50 Corney & Barrow
From Montello vineyards near Prosecco’s heartland in Valdobbiadene. This is made by the same method as Prosecco, the Charmat method with second fermentation in steel vats (rather than bottle for Champagne or Cremant). This 30% Merlot / 70% Chardonnay-based cuvee has floral aromas and very creamy soft delicate palate.
Loire, France: DE CHANCENY CREMANT DE LOIRE ROSE BRUT NV (12.5%)
£13.95 Yapp Wines www.yapp.co.uk
Our tasters loved this pretty coral pink Cabernet Franc & Grolleau-based fizz made by the Vignerons de Saumur co-operative by the traditional method. A good all-rounder as a party fizz with its pleasing red berry fruits, zippy acidity, zesty undertones and a dry finish.
South Africa: L’ORMARINS BRUT ROSE 2015 Anthonij Rupert (12.5%) ***STAR BUY***
£19.95 Berry Bros & Rudd
Rounded, voluptuous fruits, slightly creamy with crunchy redcurrant fruit undertones with a good longth dry finish. This is a well-made Cap Classique (Champagne method fizz) from the Rupert’s Altima vineyards in the Elandskloof valley of Franschhoek. A classy rose made from 76% Pinot Noir & 24% Chardonnay.
Basilicata, Italy: FANTINI FARNESE GRAN CUVEE ROSATO BRUT NV (12%)
£13.49-£15 Provender Brown, Gloagburn Farm Shop, Beerhive, Fine Wine Co, Kirkness & Gorie
You don’t often see 100% Aglianico sparkling wine made from vines grown on the extinct volcano Mount Vulture near Basilicata’s border with Puglia in southern Italy. Quite structured with cherry and raspberry fruits, it is quite a price for a Charmat method fizz.
Central Otago, New Zealand: AKARUA BRUT ROSE NV (13%)
£18.99-£20.99 Henderson Wines, Fine Wine Co, The Cave, Kirkness & Gorie, NZ House of Wine
A clever blend of Kiwi Pinot Noir & Chardonnay from Akarua’s 50 hectare wine estate, best known for its still Pinot Noir. To add complexity here they have added 15% reserve wine. Very distinct strawberry aromas and flavours, hints of toast and yeast with a savoury dry finish. A popular fizz in our tasting for its depth of flavour.
Norfolk, England: FLINT VINEYARD CHARMAT ROSE 2017 ***STAR BUY***
£21.99-£22.99 Flint Vineyard; Berry Bros & Rudd
This unique British rose fizz is made by the same method as Prosecco in East Anglia of all places. The result is supremely better & classier than anything I have tasted from the Veneto. This is the first fizz made by this method in England made by Ben & Hannah Witchell and it is a revelation – so we are bound to see more Charmats appearing. Deep pink, delicious cherry fruit aromas, very vibrant crisp acidity, creamy long finish finishing very dry. Very popular with our tasters.
Burgundy, France: PERLE D’AURORE CREMANT DE BOURGOGNE ROSE NV Louis Bouillot (12%)
£21-£23 Cornelius Wine, The Cave, Exel Wines, The Drink Shop
A very impressive Cremant with a deep pretty pink colour, very fine mousse and rich strawberry and blackcurrant fruits. Made by Louis Bouillot, whose winery is owned by the Boisset group, from Pinot Noir grown in prestigious appellations of Cote de Beaune, Cote de Nuits and Chalonnaise. At the serious end of the Cremant spectrum which benefits from its 24 months ageing.
Champagne, France: CHAMPAGNE DEVAUX CUVEE D LE ROSE NV (12%)
£44 – £50 Exel Wines
If you want to splash out on Valentine’s Day, this is one of the best rose Champagnes I have tasted recently. Made from Pinot Noir grown in the southerly warm Cote des Bars region, with a good percentage of Chardonnay to lighten the structure making it elegant, delicate, biscuity and very fine with complex notes from its 5 year ageing. Really high quality winemaking from Devaux.
Hampshire, England: COATES & SEELY BRITAGNE BRUT ROSE NV (12%) ***STAR BUY***
£29.40 bt for 6 bts or £31.95 bt www.coatesandseely.com; www.leaandsandeman.co.uk
Coates & Seely is one of my favourite English fizz producers, set up by Christian Seely and Nicholas Coates in 2007. Their exquisite pink would put several Champagne roses I know to shame. It might seem pricey, but this 65% Pinot Noir and 35% Pinot Meunier blend is so exceptionally well made. Pretty pale pink, fine red fruit, blossom and brioche bouquet, deep rich strawberry and cranberry fruits, vibrant acid, dry finish with a lovely length.
Give your Valentine a wine tasting gift: Join Rose’s Champagne v Sparkling wine tasting in The Royal Scots Club, Edinburgh on Thursday 2 May £45 www.rosemurraybrown.com