By Rick Riozza

Wine and romance is the bidding of the day.  And there is no better way to prompt some swirling passion than to enjoy a rosé sparkling wine.  Rosé Champagnes and rosé sparklers tend to have a richer, more robust flavor than their blanc de blancs and blanc de noirs counterparts and are often more suitable with a variety of foods.  It’s the best of both worlds:  Light-bodied as a white wine and as flavorful as a red—rosé wines are so food friendly because they’re a little bit of both.

moet7And let’s face it: An elegant classic rosé champagne always bespeaks love and romance. For that great Valentino romantic is us, when we’re planning both a loving and amorous night either out on-the-town or within the dreamy confines of our passion place—well, we’re certainly selecting one of the more seductive Champagnes on the market: Moët & Chandon Rosé Impérial at around $65

Champagne lovers well know that “rosé champagne” are some of the most expensive bubblies in the world.  It’s because making it is more labor-intensive & time-consuming that involves carefully limiting contact between the red skin and the juice during the part of fermentation called maceration—soaking the grapes in their own flesh, juice and skins to extract color, tannin and flavor.  Wine made this way has a more delicate but complex aromas and flavors.

World famous Champagne Houses (Producers) demand high-ticket prices for their stellar production—and they do present the best rosé on the planet.  Louis Roederer Cristal 2004 Rosé sells for $550; Armand de Brignac Ace of Spades Rosé sells for $650; and, a magnum of the Krug Brut Rosé goes for $900.

Okay—we agree we’re channeling the Valentino in us for some proper carousing, but, we didn’t quite consider a house payment for the experience.  This is why I’m recommending the above-mentioned Moët & Chandon Rosé Impérial at the welcoming price of $65.

It’s an elegant looking bottle that immediately impresses.  More importantly, the wine’s aromas are expressive, dominated by the scent of wild strawberries, cherries, red berries and floral notes. On the palate, this bubbly has an emphasis on Pinot Noir embodying a fruity and gallant character with ripe currant, berry fruit, candied kumquat and orange, and pomegranate.

Interesting too, the production utilizes the area’s Chardonnay; the Champagne’s limestone soil brings oceanic oyster-shell notes for a crisp sense of minerality. These are wonderful qualities in a bubbly rosé as it displays the lively, radiant romantic expression of the Moët & Chandon style, which is a bright fruitiness and elegant finesse.

It is full-bodied, and, what I call a sexy sparkler because of it seductive qualities.  Both Wine Spectator and Wine & Spirts give 90 points and above.   Now I surely don’t know what you’re going to pair with this bubby, but—it’ll go great with any roasted game.  And keeping with the Valentine aura, a fun and tasty match would be enjoying it with a creamy beet risotto that possesses a stunning color and delicate sweetness.

For any Asian-inspired meal, think about a Korean Kimchi fried rice—a great match with the sparkling rosé.  And, there’s Jamaican rice and peas which has a subtle sweetness that goes great with the pink Champagne as coconut milk is used to cook the rice.  Bon Appétit!  Cheers to love!

There are some great restaurant venues in our valley to capture your heart and appetite.  One of the most reasonably priced Valentine’s Dinner will be happening at my friend, Tony Gallardo’s place, Three Sixty North Bar & Grill in Palm Springs.

It’s one of Palm Springs’ newest and coolest restaurants.  It’s got that 50’s and 60’s “supper club” vibe—just what you’d expect in this Martini town, along with live music and—what we all wish to hear, a wonderful wine bar to sit and sip while taking in tunes!

Three Sixty North is a lounge and restaurant located along our fabulous Palm Canyon Drive. The restaurant features live entertainment and dancing each night and offers a great selection of steaks, seafood, and pasta. The lounge is a great place to get the evening started or finish out the night with relaxed and dark romantic decor, cozy sofas and a cool granite bar.

And when you’re out and about, it’s so nice to simply walk into the bar, order a drink and listen to some of the valley’s best musicians, such as Pat Rizzo, Mike Costley, and Tony Di Gerlando and their respective bands without any admission cost!  How cool is that!

So the deal for this Sunday’s Valentine Dinner is a doozy at only $38, plus tax and gratuity!!  I know—read that line again.  An incredible price for the three course meal that includes the 360 Salad or Tomato Bisque Soup; a Main Course, which includes One-Half Roasted Duck a la Orange, Roasted Prime Rib, Australian Lobster Tail, Grilled Salmon, or a Pork Chop with Ragout Sauce; and a Dessert of Champagne with Cheesecake & Berries or Chocolate Lava Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream.

Valentine’s Dinner is at 5:00pm.  I recommend making your reservations soon by calling (760) 327-1773360 North Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs.

Rick is the valley’s somm-about-town entertaining and conducting at wine events and tastings.  Contact