What could be more appropriate for Valentine’s than raspberries and roses?
Of course raspberries are pretty expensive in the deeps of winter, and we all know that the price of roses rises precipitously as the days edge closer to Valentine’s Day – something about the law of supply and demand.
Turn, instead, to Rosa Regale 2010, a mildly effervescent red wine from Vigne Regale in Piedmont. I have sampled this wine through many vintages and never found it less than delightful.
The wine is made from the brachetto grape – “brah-KET-toe” – little grown outside of a small area in Piedmont where it has earned official recognition as Brachetto d’Acqui. These lightly sparkling wines are made in the Charmat manner of second fermentation in large tanks to induce the bubbles rather than in the bottle as is done for Champagne, but why bother with formality in a wine intended for immediate pleasure?
The property where the wine was made was founded in 1860 as Bruzzone Cellars. The Mariani family, of Castello Banfi in Tuscany, acquired Bruzzone in 1979, refurbished and revitalized the estate and renamed it Vigne Regale.
For Your Very Own Bottle
Wolfchase Wine & Spirits
2431 N. Germantown Pkwy, Cordova, $20
Buster’s Liquors & Wine
191 S. Highland St., $20
Caesar’s Wine & Liquor
9959 Hwy 64, Arlington, $20
The color is bright cranberry filtered through magenta. The bouquet offers notes of fresh ripe raspberries with a touch of strawberry, rose petals with a hint of violet, orange rind and Bazooka Bubble Gum, and I mean that in the best sense. Spanking clean acidity gives the wine lift, though the texture is soft and silky; an initial impression of sweetness quickly gives way to bracing dryness on the sleek finish.
Try as a charming aperitif and with desserts that focus on fresh fruit, but the dynamite effect comes with dark chocolate. Need I say more? It’s widely available.
For more about wine, check out Koeppel's blog at http://www.biggerthanyourhead.net.