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Champagne that will knock your socks off! ....and maybe your clothes too!

Feb 12, 2013 11:05PM

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Valentine’s Day Wines: Go back to your childhood

by Martin Cody

Owner of Cellar Angels and Aphrodite Board of Expert

A selection of pleasing wine offerings for Valentine’s Day has been made far too complicated by magazines, greeting card manufacturers and perhaps the wine “professionals” themselves.  For me Valentine’s Day is simple—go back to your childhood.


In childhood, boys and girls loved bubbles.  We marveled in making bubbles whether it was with a plastic stick, a circle on one end dipped into a bubble solution or relishing the first bubble with gum designed for the purpose.  Time has passed and we’ve lost sight of the innocence of bubble enjoyment.  It’s time to change that with sparkling wine.


In the United States we drink far too little sparkling wine, reserving it for special occasions—weddings, promotions, anniversaries and New Year’s.  However the rest of the wine drinking world consumes bubbles nearly every day.  In many cultures it’s part of everyday dinning and signals the beginning of a great meal.  There’s no reason to be intimidated by bubbles and Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to experiment.

When most people think bubbles, they think of classic Champagne.  It’s important to remember, not all sparkling wine is Champagne.  In order to be called Champagne, it MUST come from the Champagne region of France and utilize only three grapes in various percentages: Chardonnay (SHAR duh nay), Pinot(PEE no nyur) Noir and Pinot Meunier (PEE no MEN u ay).  Champagne is truly an elixir from the heavens and when made right, in pristine growing years it will knock your socks off, and perhaps the rest of your clothes too!  Especially Rosé!  The challenge with good Champagne is it becomes very pricey, very quickly, so unless you just picked up a Grammy, there are other classic sparkling wines to fit the budget.

California, Italy and Spain all have incredible sparkling wines.  Italy’s Prosecco is a fantastic alternative to Champagne when seeking a high PQR (price to quality ratio).  These wines are very easy drinking, easy on the budget and pair with virtually everything—shellfish, light pasta, creamy dishes and of course, popcorn.  Yes, popcorn and this is what you need to try on Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day is meant for closeness and sharing a bottle of bubbly with a bowl of popcorn while cuddling in front of a fireplace watching a movie is a great start for the evening.  Bubbles and popcorn work because the heavy coating of butter is broken up by the gorgeous effervescence of the bubbles.  It’s like an orgasm of sensory overload in the mouth, as all good food and wine pairings are, which may make watching the movie difficult—your choice.  It’s the same reason bubbles work exquisitely with lobster and drawn butter.  There is definitely magic in bubbles.

So this Valentine’s Day embrace the fun you had with bubbles as a child and enjoy them again.  I think you’ll be surprised at the outcome.