Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Wines for Valentines: What To Buy? Organic Sparkling Wine Roundup

Nothing says Valentines Day more than a bottle of pink bubbles...so where can you find pink sparkling wines that aren't raised on Roundup? Here are three fabulous choices below,

And don't forget how well pink sparkling wine goes with meals throughout the year...salmon, chicken, crab, omelettes, duck...and it makes a great gift for any occasion. I recommend ordering some cases!

I will cover pink bubbles today; look for nonpink bubbles to follow.


From renowned Pinot Noir vintner Milla Handley comes Handley's 2006 Brut Rose ($40), a gold medal winner at the 2012 SF Chroncle wine competition.

Grown on estate vineyards in cool/hot climate Anderson Valley, it's 58% Pinot Noir and 42% Chardonnay.

Winery tasting notes here.

Visiting: Open daily with a beautiful tasting room that offers a farm-like visit and outdoor picnicking tables on a gorgeous deck, overlooking the rolling hills and spectacular rural beauty of Mendocino's Anderson Valley.

Where to find: From the winery or online. I found it via Amazon.com for $32.99 a bottle.


Mendocino is often nonconformist and this pink sparking wine fits that definition. Hopland's Terra Savia offers a unique Brut Rouge ($23), made from 100% Merlot.

This wine shares the same prestigious gold medal in the 2012 SF Chronicle wine competition as the Handley Brut Rose. 

Visiting: The winery, housed in an industrial building it shared with its olive oil presses, is open twice a year on Hopland Passport weekends or by appointment.

Where to find: The winery is the best bet, offering individual bottles, as well as cases for $225 (which brings the price down to under $18.75 a bottle). You might try Whole Foods, which often stocks Terra Savia's Chardonnays.


I recently heard a great lecture by the very entertaining and witty scholar Dr. Anne Prah-Perochon at the Legion of Honor's show on Louis XIV and learned about his government's economic war to take over the luxury trade from Italy. Ever since, the French have succeeded in making Americans' and the rest of the world associate French Champagne with style, success, joie de vie - and France.

French-owned Domaine Carneros, a Napa powerhouse sparkling wine producer, that produces only sparkling wine, offers its brut rose in the form of Cuvee de Pompadour ($36), named after Madame de Pompadour, the famous mistress of Louis XV, who is said to have made champagne popular at court.

Earlier vintages of this wine won double gold in the 2009 SF Chronicle wine competition.

Visiting: The winery is housed in an elegant French chateau-like complex and offers a tour of the making of their wines as well as tastings, starting at $30. It's located in the Carneros region, at the southern end of Napa Valley.

Where to find: From the winery. I also found a one-cent shipping deal for it on wine.com ($50 min. order required).

Note: Except for Cuvee de Pompadour, Domaine Carneros' other brut roses are becoming organic as of the 2010 vintages. While the winery sells other brut roses on its web site, they were not certified organically farmed (until the 2010 vintages).

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