Got big plans this Covid-19 Valentine’s Day? Whether it’s ordering a meal from your first date resto, planning a cozy night with snacks and a rom-com marathon, or munching on desserts from sundown to sunrise, there is nothing better to wash down all the romance with than some bubbly.
I know, we in the wine world talk a lot about how sparkling wine is for more than just celebrations and can be paired with food. But let’s not deny the fact that bubbly’s bright, vibrant fruit and varying layers of sweetness are perfect for a celebration. Sparkling wines excite your palate with every lively sip, and are enjoyable even on their own.
But Cupid’s big day often revolves around food. I owned a restaurant back in the day, and we started planning a month in advance for the hordes of lovers out looking for a romantic meal. On Feb. 14, everyone wants good food, celebratory wine, and maybe some chocolate.
What’s nice is that sparkling wine can start you out as pre-din-din sipper, pair with dinner, and either be the dessert or match it. But there’s a wide range of bubbles on the market, so where does one start? First of all, price is not an issue. There are so many great wines in this style, from under $15 to as high as you want to go. Second, the two categories you will most often see in the U.S. are Prosecco and Champagne — two very delicious yet very different wines.
So no matter your price range, dining situation, or the depth of your love, here are five Prosecco and five Champagnes that will alight the night. Have at it, you crazy kids.
Adriano Adami Bosco di Gica Brut NV
The bubbles are persistent, coaxing the smell of pears dusted with sugar toward your senses. There is a slight grip to the wine, giving it some oomf. It’s a good food wine if you wanna get some pans dirty with some grilled pork or pasta with guanciale.
Benvolio Prosecco NV
If you need a few bottles for the Cupid’s big day, this is a good case buy. It’s solid and cheap, with a good balance of fruit to bubbles.
Bottega ‘Gold’ Prosecco Brut NV
Baller bottles call for baller wine. Both succeed here. The bottle is gleaming gold, reflecting your grin like an Instagram filter. It has plush bubbles and soft fruit, with the slightest wink of sweetness. If you’re already spending on the flowers and courses, you might as well round out that VIP vibe.
Nino Franco Rustico, Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene Superiore DOCG NV
This is a bottle that really gets at the heart (see what I did there) of wines from this region. It has a very focused fruit core, with smells of honey and freshly sliced pear lifting into your brain by soft yet persistent bubbles. It’s so balanced, you could sip it with a platter of legit sushi rolls or on its own by the fire.
La Marca ‘Luminore’ Prosecco Superiore NV
With a touch of tartness and a whisper of sweetness, this is the perfect communal Prosecco. It will elevate and complement an entire meat and cheese selection. If you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day with friends and “Exploding Kittens,” this is a great companion.
Pierre Peters Blanc de Blancs Cuvée Reserve NV
Round, rich, and all Chardonnay, this bottle hits all of Champagne’s classic toasty vibes, tinged with vanilla. There is a fresh slice of green apple as the wine settles, with the added smell of citrus. It feels lavish. It is lavish. Its price is not. Win-win.
Pol Roger Pure Extra Brut NV
These bubbs are about as prominent on wine shelves as canapes are at fancy parties. Speaking of canapes, this wine would be great with the little sandwiches. There’s some angularity to this wine. It’s very mineral-driven, with a pop of pastry dough and caramelized apples at every turn. It’s such a solid Champers and would be delightful with smoked salmon and caviar.
Bruno Paillard Première Cuvée Brut Rosé NV
This bottle is a whole evening. It’s nice with sweet, gooey apple tarts, as well as roasted duck — but it’s also a great bottle to just sip and enjoy as it settles and evolves in the glass. Just hang out, sit with your significant other, and soak yourself in the rich berry fruit of this blushed awesomeness.
Billecart Salmon Brut Sous Bois NV
\When you hear talk of the complexity of some Champagnes, this bottle enters the chat. It’s rich and salty, with focused, dense fruit waiting for you beneath strains of bubbles shooting to the top. That deep, savory feel is balanced by bracing acidity. There is a lot going on here, and if you are down with some briny oysters, this will be an awesome match.
Laurent-Perrier Harmony Demi-Sec NV
This wine is creamy and round, with a seamless line of richness running through. The frothy bubbles announce the smells of lemon pastries, and it feels rich, but the weight is calm and light. It’s everything the end of a meal calls for, with the added delight of bubbles. Serve this as dessert, and baby, you’re a firework.