“There sure are a lot of girly drinks in the fridge,” my wife said as I prepared to tuck into this roundup of sparkling rose wine.
And she’s right. Some of these sparkly bottles look like they belong on my daughter’s desk, not on the bar of the discriminating drinker.
So it goes.
Not every drink needs to be serious, and “pink Champagne” is probably the least demanding wine you can find. That said, it is always a plus if something tastes good. So let’s try a selection of six sparkling rose wines, all nonvintage, to see what’s worth your time.
NV Mionetto Rose Extra Dry – A harmless pink spin on Italy’s Prosecco, it is indeed a dry sparkler that keeps the strawberry fruit well dialed back, allowing lemon, apple, and pear notes to dominate. Light vanilla cream notes fill in the finish on an otherwise quiet and fairly acidic experience that drinks nicely above its price band. B+ / $13
NV Segura Viudas Brut Rose Cava – A rarity: pink Spanish cava, which comes across a lot like standard cava, slightly buttery with ample almond notes, a squeeze of lemon, and just the barest hint of berries on the finish. Overwhelmingly harmless. B+ / $10
NV Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs – Blanc de noirs are usually more on the white/yellow side of things, but this California expression slides gracefully into the barest shade of pink. Made from pinot noir (with some chardonnay in the mix), it’s a classic California sparkler which I’m sure I’ve had at any number of weddings around these parts, and for good reason. The wine is approachable without being obsequiously fruity, its mild strawberry notes dusted with some grassy notes, lemon peel, and a pinch of spice. Clean and crisp on the finish. B / $22
NV Bollicini Sparkling Rose – This nonvintage Italian sparkling rose comes in single-serving cans designed to compete with the seltzer world. It does so adequately, coming across with a moderate but quite sweet strawberry candy note and a slightly buttery character on the palate. It’s better than the typical canned offering, but an off, slightly vegetal note on the finish doesn’t overly inspire. B- / $12 per four-pack of 250ml cans
NV Freixenet Italian Rose – A blend of 85% glera (the primary grape of Prosecco) and 15% pinot noir, this innocuous Italian wine has an antiseptic overtone that does little to elevate a strange body that features almond and sesame notes alongside a fairly simple strawberry and vanilla element. Would be fine in punch. C+ / $16
NV Gratien & Meyer Cremant de Loire Brut Rose – Our sole trip to France on this tasting, this cuts a typical Cremant profile, creamy and almost foamy on the palate, with a surprisingly vegetal character that builds as the finish starts to take hold. Quite green throughout, with a modest bitterness clinging to the back end. A brash strawberry character attempts to distract the drinker, with limited success. C / $15