Is there a Perfect Wine for Valentine’s Day?

January 31, 2019 High End ValuesSpecial Occasions  No comments

Is there a Perfect Wine for Valentine’s Day?

If there was ever a drink made for Valentine’s Day, it must be champagne. And if there was ever an occasion for champagne, it has got to be Valentine’s Day!

Just looking at the elegant bottle, with an inviting residue of frost, the beautiful label, and the anticipation of the exploding bubbles makes our spirits and hearts swell with delight – as we know that something special awaits us, and that things might indeed be better than we think, and that they have just gotten a heck of a lot better.

What is the “normal” gift we get our significant other on Valentine’s Day? The boring, obvious, expected heart-shaped-box of overly sweet, syrup-filled chocolates? An overpriced “prix fixe” meal from an oddly limited menu at an ordinary restaurant where we’re herded in and out like cattle (like our mothers at those dreaded “Mother’s Day brunches”)? Let’s all make a difference and instead of the obvious and boring choice, go for the classic and bold – a bottle of the most romantic and elegant Drink On Earth, Champagne. And nothing is more elegant and romantic than a fine Rose’ Champagne! It’s basically a rose in a glass, and a bouquet in a bottle (of course, we do recommend getting a dozen of those as well!)

moutard_brut_roseAn exceptionally exciting that we’re featuring is the Moutard NV Brut Rosé de Cuvaison – an absolute steal at under $30.

What an amazing Champagne you will find here – I know I have preached the virtues of Rose’ Champagne previously, but if you still haven’t tried one, this is an absolute must-do! I always say that you get everything you love about Champagne, with the additional delight of a dry wisp of flavorful raspberry added along. What possible can there be not to love? And this is in limited amounts, so you need to get on this quick! Introduce this to your friends that haven’t tried it before, and you’ll be seen as a bon vivant and authority figure for life. One of my favorites to pair with Champagne is Thai food (Hong Kong style Chinese, very abundant in Monterey Park is fantastic too) – the delicate flavors that would be bombarded to oblivion with many California red wines are perfect with the light and crisp acidity, creamy bubbles, and bitter blood orange and berry nuances.

And while you’re at it, just look at these scores and reviews from the major players:

A rosé of pinot noir from the Côte des Bars, this gains its color from a short maceration on the grape skins. The ripeness of the fruit comes through in exotic spices,…The red fruit flavor is tight and savory, without even a whisper of sweetness, lasting with gentle, quiet persistence.” Wine & Spirits, 93 points.

Ripe raspberry, cherry, graphite and blood orange notes leap from the glass, riding a satiny bead and married to mouthwatering acidity on the palate. Bright and expressive, with a chalky, lingering finish. Drink now through 2020. 5,000 cases made.” Wine Spectator, 92 points.

The house’s NV Brut Rose de Cuvaison is another standout. Tar, smoke and game are some of the aromas and flavors that emerge from the glass, adding considerable complexity and nuance. A short maceration on the skinks gives this 100% Pinot Noir Champagne its volume and breadth. Richness and sophistication meld together beautifully here. This is a standout from Moutard.” Wine Advocate, 92 points.

The NV Brut Rosé de Cuvaison is attractive, if a touch fleeting. Bright red cherry, strawberry and mint waft out of the glass. This is a decidedly perfumed, gracious style. It would be nice to see a bit more depth, especially for a pure Pinot Rosé, but there is nevertheless plenty to like. I would prefer to drink the Rosé over the next handful of years. Dosage is 10 grams per liter. Disgorged: January 2018.” Vinous Media, 88 points.)

Some more notes from the producer:

“Moutard has been making wine for several generations, producing a range of Champagnes from their own grapes and from grapes purchased from vine-growing friends. The Cote des Bar soil, made up of clays and limestones, gives the traditional Champagne varieties – Pinot Noir and Chardonnay – those very special rich, fruity aromas which are so much appreciated by connoisseurs. The blending of wines kept from several years enables us to offer a range of Champagnes of reliable quality. So that we can offer Champagnes at a perfect stage of maturity, ready for drinking, our production is cellar-aged for at least three years or between ten and fifteen years for vintage wines. From the beginning of the wine-making process to the first sign of sparkling, our ancient methods have been enriched by the latest techniques in controlling the quality of the products.

The Côte des Bar was “kicked out” of the greater Champagne region in the early 1900’s, producers rioted, they have a chip on their shoulder permanently, and are therefore more experimental and rebellious. Whereas most of Champagne is relatively flat, and densely planted to vines, in the Côte des Bar you’ll find a bucolic, relaxed, “backwoods” vibe where vineyards are leisurely interspersed with forests and streams. Unlike the rest of Champagne where Chardonnay is king, in the Côte des Bar Pinot Noir dominates, making up 85% of plantings – A slightly more Southern location compared to the rest of Champagne means that it is warm enough for Pinot Noir to thrive, and Pinot Noir was the grape originally planted in the area by monks. Large amounts of clay are interspersed with the limestone in the soil here – This means a bolder fruit profile in the finished wines. The region is dominated by small growers, whose focus is on making singular/interesting wines.

Current proprietor/winemaker François Moutard learned very quickly from his father and has been at the helm of the company since the mid-1980’s. The definition of the word “hedonist” seems to match François perfectly. From their well-known “Grande Cuvee” which is one of the best-selling indie Champagne labels in the US market, to their “6-Cépages” which is one of the few wines in Champagne that includes all six permitted varietals, to their ultra-cult monovarietal Arbanne bottling (the only of its kind in existence), there is something for everyone in the lineup of this overachieving house.”

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