By Rick Riozza

Rosé bubblies always seem to blush romance; and, they are some of the tastiest sparklers around. Rosé Champagnes and rosé sparklers tend to have a richer, more robust flavor than their non-rosé counterparts and often more suitable with a variety of foods. It’s the best of both worlds: Light-bodied as a white wine, flavorful as a red, rosé wines are so food friendly because they’re a little bit of both.

Some rosés are really white wines with a splash of red wine added for color and flavor while others are made by crushing red grapes and then bleeding or siphoning off the juice. Whether dry or slightly sweet, sparkling or still, the best rosé wines have a balance of freshness, fruit and acidity that make them the universal wine for aperitifs, quaffs, and meals.

And no matter what romantic feast you love-birds are enjoying, like butter-poached lobster tails, filet mignon with mushroom wine sauce, seafood risotto, pan-seared scallops on linguine, veal medallions with apple-thyme sauce or simply strawberries & cream, there’s a rosé that can complement your favorite dishes in style.


“Rosé is the hottest thing in the wine industry right now,” says The Tasting Panel magazine editor Anthony Dias Blue. “And—rosé makes sparkling wine more interesting,” he adds. There’s a heart-healthy consideration as well: most common rosés are a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir; thus, rosé wines are filled with antioxidants.

“Things that are good for your heart are good for your libido, too,” says culinary expert, Diane Brown Savahge, author of The Seduction Cookbook and among other publications, is a contributor to She cooks and develops recipes using aphrodisiac and sensual foods. This last week, Diane performed a SuperFood Aphrodisiac Demonstration at The Patio at Pinzimini at the Westin Mission Hills Resort in Rancho Mirage.

At the demonstration, Chef Diane prepared delicious dishes such as a Ceviche of Shrimp, Avocado and Pomegranate & a Salad of Quinoa, Black Beans and Cilantro. Of course, everyone fell in love with her preparations.

Here are some delicious rosés to help you uncork romance this Valentine’s Day:

NV (non-vintage) Lanson Rosé Label Brut Rosé: The Lanson Champagne House was one of the first to produce a rosé Champagne over 50 years ago and their experience shows with an incredibly fresh tasting bubby that pours a flurry of bubblies that exhibit strawberries, raspberries, citrus, bread and some minerals on both nose and palate. It’s the perfect aperitif wine to start a passionate evening.

The bottle is beautifully designed pretty-in-pink and suggests a full-on Valentines mood and display. This definitely shows class and romance. Around $55.

Rosa Regale Brachetto d’Acqui: Talk about a romantic Italian. This grape is prized in its native Piedmont as an aphrodisiac, perhaps because of its seductive aroma and sweet-tart flavor that blends floral note with raspberry and cranberry. It was reported that Cleopatra loved the wines from this northern Italian ancient grape and both Marc Anthony and Julius Caesar wooed her with the vino.

It’s very festive by itself and can be paired with a box of some bittersweet chocolate, or, some tangy lemon curd tartlets. And it’s quite delicious with sexy savory foods like figs stuffed with blue cheese. Around $20.

J Brut Rosé NV (non-vintage): This bottle is very sleek and sexy with a beautiful pink salmon copper wine nuance with black. It’s a California wine made from 59% Pinot Noir and 41% Chardonnay.

The winery’s notes state: “This J Brut Rosé sparkles with a luminous cool pink hue and exudes delicate aromas of strawberry, nectarine and juicy red apples. On the palate, the wine opens with flavors of cherry, blood orange, citrus peel and tropical star fruit that are underlined by a bright acidity that keeps the overall impression delightfully fresh.”

It’s really a tasty wine that is both elegant and quite effervescent. And it has a very lively and lingering finish. This will be wonderfully paired with Oysters Rockefeller, roasted pork, and prosciutto & cheese. Around $45

Henriot Brut Rosé NV: By the way, the ever popular Veuve Cliquot Brut Rosé, which sells for around $72, is very lean and a rather quiet tasting Rosé Champagne. It’s a classic and is very good; but, the Henriot, comparatively, is a much tastier bubbly, at only around $60, which makes it a really great buy. It’s a perfect apero and a wine for all types of romantic dinners.

Wine Spectator magazine recently gave this Henriot Brut Rosé 94 points, stating, “A rich and toasty version, featuring roasted almond, brioche, honey and graphite notes. Vibrant acidity and a finely textured bead keep this mouthwatering. Drink now through 2020.”

Of course, for that romantic dinner, we all love a red wine as well, so let’s enjoy one of California’s own Petite Sirah grape.

PS I Love You is the name of the San Francisco based Petite Sirah group who are fanatical about their wines. They do all they can to promote this wine of decadent pleasure, “a love-at-first-sip style of wine where exotic complexity comes dressed to party with gobs of blue-black fruits and supple soft tannins. Given the amorous qualities of this wine it’s also a natural fit for your Valentine’s Day dinner.”

Look for Michael David Winery’s, Petite Petit, from Lodi, at around $18. It’s crafted from 85% Petite Sirah and 15% Petite Verdot, and is rich and bold with some smoky notes, warm spices and loads of blackberry.

And that’s the heart of the matter! Here’s to love.  Cheers!