The Best Bubbly for Valentine’s Day
Sure, you can go out on Valentine’s Day, but if you choose to stay in to make up for lost time, you can’t do it without a bit of bubbly. So I called up Wine School of Philadelphia president and founder Keith Wallace — the guy I always call when wine-ignorant me needs to show up at a BYO with an impressive bottle — to ask him for advice. Here are his picks — with tasting notes — all of which are available in Philadelphia. To check for inventory near you, click on the wine name and punch in your location.
Segura Viudas Aria Brut Pinot Noir, $13
“Fun and dumb, and full of pink flavors. This is pretty much a strawberry in the glass, with decent bubbly action. The best choice for those who need their bubbles super cheap and extra easy.” Available everywhere.
Gruet Blanc de Noirs Sparkling Wine, $17
“Crimson-tinged with rich cream and toasted almond notes on the nose. The racy pear palate finishes crisply but touched with caramel and crushed mint notes. Lovely. A favorite American house for good-quality sparkling wines; without question I can say this is the best wine coming out of New Mexico.” Available in specialty stores.
Taittinger Brut Champagne La Française, $46 (on sale for $40)
“A silly name — all Champagne is from France — but a good sparkler at this price. With a bracing freshness of just-ripe apples juxtaposed with baking spices: This drinks like an apple pie before it hits the oven.” Available everywhere.
Louis Roederer Brut Premier Champagne, $50
“You could opt for their top-of-the-line Cristal, but even Sarah Palin would call you an idiot. This is one of my favorite wines from the larger and more well-known champagne houses. It’s like an apple orchard in the springtime, in full flower. Under the wonderful fragrance, the taste is an interplay of fresh green fruit and honey, and just a breath of cream and nutmeg in the finish, ending with a refreshing note of lemon zest.” Available everywhere.
Bollinger Brut Rose Reims Champagne, $70
“Bollinger’s wines are austere and confrontational but also round and beautiful, like a Duchamp-Villon sculpture. A whiff of tobacco and wild flowers counter the ultra-ripe persimmon and strawberry flavors in this one. There is a bit of earth on the finish that imparts the impression that this wine is barely restrained by its razor-like bubbles. Although as light as air, I want this with a rare fillet of beef.” Available in specialty stores as a Chairman’s Selection.
Join Keith at the Wine School’s Main Line classroom on Friday, March 12th, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. for the school’s premiere tasting of Northern and Southern Rhone wines. For more information, go here.