His mother wasn't a teetotaler, but if she drank more than three grasshoppers — made with ice cream — in the course of a year she could be considered to have indulged herself in a bender. For her, the height of putting on the Ritz, though, was Pink Champagne, always spoken as if capitalized. And if ever there was a holiday that called for the Ritz, it's Valentine's Day.
Chandon California Blanc de Noirs (about $18 to $20 at big box stores, wine shops and wine-savvy markets) is actually a cool platinum in the glass, but this sparkler's personality is definitely pink. It is just a click to the sweet side of brut, too, which somehow seems fitting for the sweetest of occasions.
Chandon's blanc de noirs is a blend of pinot noir and pinot meunier grapes, which lends its basic platinum hue the barest blush of pink, as well as bringing fruit very much to the fore. On the nose it offers honeyed floral notes and a seductive whiff of warm yeast. On the tongue it starts brightly with muted golden raspberry and strawberry accented by hints of lemon and honey. The delightfully flirtatious finish brings in the classic savor of warm toast. Its mouthfeel throughout is creamy and beguiling.
We'd pair this luscious sparkler with the food of love, of course, which for us would be a frankly incendiary Thai curry followed by fresh-from-the-oven chocolate souffle.
And if you really must have serious pink, Chandon's sparkling California rose, available at about the same price, should do the trick for you and yours.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel.