By Hugh Kruzel, Special for The Lambda
Although sparkling wines have typically garnered a reputation for being appreciated on New Years, the wine category is beginning to gain popularity as a Valentine’s Day treat of choice.
After all, flower arrangements fade, and the technically ‘good-for-you’ chocolate quickly turns to empty wrappers and stomachs aching with guilt.
With that being said, what suitable products we find in Sudbury and area LCBOs?
Celebratory bottles of bubbly can be economical or excessively expensive.
If we talk real “Champagne” the price can reflect the care and time crafting a quality experience: alternately, cheap and cheerful can be your target.
Frugal can be a virtue, especially when February 14 is only halfway through the month.
The message in the bottle is still the same: “I love you!”
In France the “Methode Champagne” starts with superior vineyard management, low yields, the right grape varieties, weather, and regional soils.
Typically biscuit aromas with subtle fruit, and a very fine and persistent veil of effervescence will be the goal, but you don’t have to pay $249.95 for Dom Perignon Metamorphosis (VINTAGES# 393579) to get it all.
Instead, Sekt (yes, you read that right and you can play with the pronunciation as much as you like) is the German version of sparkling.
Just to prove Vintages is not always the bigger ticket, try Reinhartshausen Riesling Brut Deutscher Sekt(VINTAGES# 369082), though with bottles selling for only $17.95, stock may be snatched off the shelves pronto.
Where else is there value?
Look in the South American wine section for Argentina or its western neighbour Chile. Look for a broad shouldered bottle with simple black cage closure, and plum coloured paper.
You likely know the Cono Sur label already, but did you know they have a $14 wunderkind, 100% Pinot Noir from the Bio-Bio Valley (LCBO# 365205)?
The magic of winemaking turns many red grape varieties into whites by not allowing skin contact, though Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier – and blends of all three – are common.
Furthermore, the Two Oceans Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc (a deal at $12.95 LCBO# 365353) is a gem from South Africa that is priced perfectly for all to enjoy. South Africa a so often overlooked that all their wines are in effect reasonably priced.
There are several other great opportunities from Canada, although many are winery only options.
From still closer to home, VQA Open Sociable is a general product with year-round availability that sports good tree fruit and citrus that would awaken your palate. Can we say ‘light and fruity’?
If you have not exercised your culinary skills, why not try an Indian or Chinese take-away with this little $10.95 stunner. I can guarantee that KD or a more upscale Mac and Cheese creation (sprinkle those breadcrumbs) would be a super match. Find this product now at The Wine Rack inside the Lorne Street Dumas Your Independent Grocer.
Celebrate Valentine’s with your significant other and offer more than a box of chocolate. Pop a cork! Live life large!