This is the last of my picks for Valentine’s Day. In the past five years, rosé Champagne has become the essential seductive bubbly for romantic toasts. The delicate non-vintage Ruinart Rosé Champagne, with its flattering salmon color, fresh strawberry aromas, flavor of cherries, and polished texture, is both delicious and a good value compared to other rosé fizzes.
No one knows precisely why rosés in general and pink fizz in particular suddenly took off in popularity five or six years ago. It’s been fashionable from time to time since the first one was made in the late 18th century. In Edwardian times it was the favorite drink of chorus girls, who reportedly drank it from their slippers, and it was also a fad in the flapper era of the 1920s. Today, most Champagne houses offer at least one cuvée.
This brut non-vintage, not as dry and edgy as some rosés, works well as a refreshing aperitif, partly because of the high percentage (45 percent) of Chardonnay in the blend.
The other 55 percent is Pinot Noir, which gives it enough richness to drink through a meal.
Some of that is red wine, added to give color and a fruitier character to the taste. (Other houses let the juice of the red grapes stay in contact with the grape skins just long enough to pick up the right amount of color.)
Founded in 1729, Ruinart is the oldest Champagne house, and the first to store its wines in the region’s extensive underground Gallo-Roman chalk caves called crayères. Yet it doesn’t have as big a presence in the U.S. as it should.
Now it also comes packaged with a handsome white porcelain pourer that you can use to fill two glasses at the same time. The symbolism is perfect for Valentine’s Day too.
Zester Daily contributor Elin McCoy is a wine and spirits columnist and author of “The Emperor of Wine: The Rise of Robert M. Parker, Jr. and the Reign of American Taste.”
Lower photo: White porcelain pourer. Credit: Courtesy of Ruinart.