Rose Murray Brown shares her top picks for the best sparkling and still rosé for Valentine’s Day
The most romantic date of the year is fast approaching, so it’s time to select a bottle of rosé. Woo your beloved with one of my top ten picks, featuring fab fizz and still rosés.
Maipo, Chile UNDURRAGA ROSé NV
(£6.66 each for 2, Majestic Wine)
South American fizz is improving in leaps and bounds, but not in the price. This is a great value, creamy, full fruity rosé to please a partner who likes upfront New World style wines. It’s made by a traditional family business with the longest history of creating sparkling wine in Chile.
Veneto, Italy RUGGERI BRUT DI PINOT ROSÉ NV
(£14.95, Valvona & Crolla)
A fresh, crisp, crunchy rosé fizz from the hills inland from Venice – from a big producer which majors on prosecco. Made with the popular pinot nero (pinot noir) grape, it has lovely cranberry fruits with a gentle delicacy. It’s one of Valvona & Crolla’s top sellers and you can see why.
Mendoza, Argentina CHANDON ARGENTINA BRUT ROSé NV
(£13.98 each for 2, Majestic Wine)
This is made by the giant LVMH group, which has switched its Chandon brand from Australia to Argentina. They cleverly blend fruit from several vineyards at different altitudes and give it 18 months on the lees. The result has a peachy tint with very creamy, rich strawberry fruits. This offers good value for those who like a rich, fruity style of rosé fizz.
Loire, France LANGLOIS CHATEAU CREMANT DE LOIRE ROSé NV
(£14, Luvians, Cupar and St Andrews; Henderson Wines, Edinburgh)
Made by Champagne Bollinger in their outpost in the Loire, this is a delicious example of a cremant made using the same method as champagne – but a different grape, cabernet franc. With 18 months on its lees, it also has a rich creaminess often missing in cheaper cremant rosé. With enticing raspberry fruits on the nose, this is a fresh, vibrant fizz.
Cornwall, England CAMEL VALLEY PINOT NOIR ROSé 2012
(£26.95, www.camelvalley.com; Camel Valley wines are also available from Waitrose stores; Berry Bros & Rudd)
This is from the now famous Lindo family who planted vines on the slopes of their Cornish sheep farm near Bodmin moor, curious to see if they would produce decent grapes. The result is a never-ending batch of delicious strawberry-scented crisp fizz and a trophy cabinet of awards – particularly for their delicious rosé sparkler which won three gold medals and three trophies last year.
Champagne, France CHAMPAGNE LOUVEL FONTAINE ROSé NV
(£14, reduced from £29.75, Asda)
I have tasted scores of insipid cheap supermarket champagnes, but this one is a pretty decent buy for under £15. It has a pretty pink hue, hints of biscuit notes and a vibrant freshness to the palate. Well done Asda.
CHAMPAGNE MARGUET GRAND CRU BRUT ROSé NV
(£25, The Wine Society)
A brilliant buy at this price for a really well made Grand Cru blend. Fifth generation Benoit Marguet blends chardonnay from Grand Cru vineyards on the Côte de Blancs with pinot noir from the famous Bouzy and Ambonnay vineyards in the Montagne de Reims. A very popular sparkler at our recent tasting, try it with sushi for an unusually successful combo to please your sweetheart. STAR BUY
CHAMPAGNE BILLECART SALMON BRUT ROSé NV
(£60 bt or £32 hf bt Berry Bros & Rudd; Laithwaites; Luvians, Cupar; Peter Green, Edinburgh; Henderson Wines, Edinburgh; Harvey Nichols, Edinburgh; WoodWinters, Edinburgh and Bridge of Allan)
If you really want to impress your Valentine and money is no object, it’s got to be Billy’s Pink. The most coveted pink from the region, this top-notch pink fizz is made by a small independent champagne house in Mareuil-sur-Ay. It’s a lovely fizz, smelling of wild strawberries, very soft, very gentle with fabulous understated elegance.
Chile CASILLERO DEL DIABLO SHIRAZ ROSé 2013
This scored well in our tasting for its bright, ripe, juicy red fruits, well made succulent creamy palate and a hint of sweetness. Made by Marcelo Papa, winemaker extraordinaire of the mighty Chilean giant Concha y Toro, this should be served well chilled for a delightful aperitif.
Provence, France CHATEAU LÉOUBE ROSé 2011
(£14.50, Corney & Barrow Scotland, Ayr and Pathhead; Bibendum Wine)
This sleekly packaged and beautifully pale grenache-based rosé with a hint of the sea comes from vineyards which sweep down to the Mediterranean. The Côte d’Azur vineyard estate is owned by Englishman Anthony Bamford, better known as the man behind JCB. It’s fully organic too.
• Join Rose’s Pinot Noir Around the World Wine Tastings on 26 February at Abode Hotel, Glasgow and 28 February in The Scores Hotel, St Andrews, from £30, www.rosemurraybrown.com