Looking for the perfect fizz to celebrate Valentine’s Day? Think pink: nothing says romance quite like rosé Champagne
Pink Champagne ticks all the boxes. It looks great in the glass, tastes delicious – it is softer and often more generous than non-rosé Champagne – and elevates an ordinary occasion into something special. And when it comes to Valentine’s Day, it’s a must. Not least because the glitzy packaging that comes out at this time of year makes it a great gift.
Lanson Brut Rosé has, in our view, stolen the prize for best packaging this year. Its new, limited-edition bottle with a Shoreditch-inspired, graffiti-style label hits the streets this month. While this Pinot Noir-based blend has Lanson’s trademark zip and energy, there’s a soft, creamy, moreish smoothness, accentuated by its extra time on its lees. (£27, Sainsbury’s)
Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial Rosé has a stylish new gift box, inspired by Madame de Pompadour. Confidante of King Louis XV, Madame de Pompadour was the 18th century It girl who championed Moët at the French royal court. What you get with Moët’s pink is an upfront, accessible, fruity style, enhanced by a rich colour on account of a large proportion of red wine in the blend (£32, Sainsbury's). Or, for something special, try Moët’s just released Grand Vintage Rosé 2009, where the controlled power of ripe Pinot Noir forms the backbone of the wine, already showing the obvious maturity of this top vintage. (£60, clos19.com)
Pommery has one of the largest ranges of pink styles and different format sizes on the market. The regular Brut Rosé Royal (£47.99, Ocado) is soft, delicately fruity and very drinkable, while the more refined Rosé Apanage has a lovely balance of freshness, wild raspberry scents and a long, elegant finish. (£69.99, or £74.99 with gift box, Ocado)
One of the classiest pinks around is Henriot Rosé NV (£49.99 with gift carton, Roberts & Speight). With its initial crispness set against seductive, fresh berry fruit aromas, mid-palate weight and good persistence, it’s a textbook rosé fizz.
Looking for something to impress your partner? For the ultimate in glitzy packaging, Armand de Brignac Rosé is hard to beat. And once you’ve removed the cork, the liquid inside is a serious, multi-vintage blend of three harvests – 2012, 2010 and 2009 – which combines the balance and freshness of the ’12 with the warm, spicy notes of the ripe ’09 vintage. The reassuringly expensive price tag only underscores how seriously you take your love. (£440, Harrods; £480, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges)
Black fruit dominates Piper-Heidsieck Rosé Sauvage, a shocking pink rosé with notes of black cherry and strawberry to the fore. It might not be the most delicate rosé out there – you get vibrant colour and vibrant fruit flavours – but it is a good match for red fruit puddings. (£42.15, The Whisky Exchange)
When you think of refined rosé Champagne styles, Bruno Paillard’s Rosé Première Cuvée, with its classic pale hue, readily comes to mind. Nearly all made from Pinot Noir, with a small percentage vinified as red wine, there is also just a touch of Chardonnay to give a little lift of upbeat freshness on the finish. Time in bottle and post-disgorgement ageing gives textural complexity. (£47.15, The Whisky Exchange)
If you are on the hoof this Valentine’s Day and need to conjure up that perfectly chilled pink fizz, Nicolas Feuillatte has the answer with its stylish Travel Bag Rosé, just right for gifting. The wine itself majors on black fruit, with Pinot Noir and Meunier accounting for 90% of the blend, giving body and a note of spicy richness, while a splash of Chardonnay keeps it crisp and fresh. (£28, John Lewis)
Ideas for pink fizz in top London restaurants
A restaurateur’s favourite, Henriot has linked up with the Maddox Street branch of 28-50, hosting a Champagne & Oysters pop-up bar that runs not just on Valentine’s Day but up until 17 February. Enjoy six oysters and two glasses of Henriot poured from double magnum (Jeroboam) for just £30. Just up the road, Sexy Fish is pouring Henriot Rosé NV by the glass for the whole of February. And Chez Bruce in Wandsworth is serving pink Henriot by the glass poured from magnum, but only on the evening of 14 February.
When you think of refined rosé Champagne styles, Bruno Paillard’s Rosé Première Cuvée, with its classic pale hue, readily comes to mind. It will be served by the glass at three Caprice Holdings restaurants (Scott’s, Balthazar and Mark’s Club) on Valentine’s Day, as well as Blandford Comptoir and Café Comptoir, while at SushiSamba it will feature as part of a special Valentine’s menu.