Make It A Sparkling December: Travel the World With Rosé Colored Glasses

Sparkling Rose Around the World

Travel the world with sparkling rosé colored glasses this December with these five beautiful bottles of bubbles from Europe, South Africa, and North and South America ranging from every day pleasures at around $15 to a special splurge at around $50. While 2020’s COVID pandemic meant we couldn’t travel as we desired, we can still put rosé in our glasses and look through the world with rosé colored glasses too.

Just the peaceful sunset color of these beautiful bottles of bubbles with perk you up and remind you of pretty pink sunsets in exotic places of your past — and future!

We paired these rosé wines with a classic holiday meal that we knew would be fabulous with a sparkling rosé: oysters, ham, scalloped potatoes with kale, roasted squash and Brussels sprouts with cranberries.  This is a meal that can be made in advance and easily scaled up for a large group or scaled down for a more intimate dinner for the holidays, New Year’s Eve, or Valentine’s Day.

Tasters: Sue Hill, Gwendolyn Alley, Gretel Compton

  • Argentina: Domaine Bousquet Brut Rosé, Mendoza $13
  • France: La Vieille Ferme Reserve Rosé $17
  • So Africa: 2019 Mullderbosch Sparkling Rosé, Western Cape $17
  • Italy: 2014 Barone Pizzini Rosé Edizione Extra Brut, Franciacorta $50
  • United States: J Brut Rosé, Sonoma $50

Curious about sparkling rosé from more countries? How about Austria, Australia, and Espana? Check out this article from November 2020.

Traveling the world with rose glasses

This is a great mostly make ahead menu for a holiday gathering 

  • Oysters
  • Scalloped cheese potatoes with kale
  • Roasted squash and brussel sprouts with cranberries and a vinaigrette
  • Smoked ham with a maple, mustard, clove brown sugar glaze
  • Lauren’s pumpkin shaped sourdough bread

All of these rosé were very interesting in their own individual way with different aspects of the meal.

Domaine Bousquet sparkling rosé

Domaine Bousquet Brut Rosé Mendoza Argentina
ABV 12.5%
SRP $13
sample provided for my review consideration

Made in the Charmat method (like Prosecco) with 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay organic grapes grown at 4000′ above sea level in Argentina’s remote Uco Valley near Chile. This wine really impressed us — and Wine Enthusiast magazine’s editors too as it made their Top 100 Best Buys of 2020!

Color: Lovely baby girl pink with a bit of salmon. Such a pretty label!

Nose: Faint florals, citrus flowers, white stone fruit, strawberry croissant.

Palate: On the sweeter side of dry, with strawberry fruit that reminded Gretel asked of strawberry scones.  Light and bright. Not a long finish, not overly complex, but a very nice wine that we really appreciated.

The price for the quality for an organic wine is exceptional.

We buy almost exclusively organic produce, dairy, grains, so it makes sense that we would all prefer to purchase a wine that is also made with certified organic grapes.

Pairing: A great wine to bring to a picnic, gathering or dinner. Fabulous with oysters, bringing out strawberry fruit in the wine, and a bit of black pepper. Oh, did somebody say ham and rose? They are so fantastic together. The sweet smokiness of the meat meets the fruity sophisticating flavors in the wine and it is a win win every time, including this wine making it an excellent choice for meals with holiday ham meals.

La Vielle Ferme from France

La Vieille Ferme Reserve Rosé
ABV 12%
SRP $17
sample provided for my review consideration

This blend of Grenache Noir 40%, Cinsault 40%, Pinot Noir 20% grown on limestone soils is another amazing value. At Vons, it retails for $20 but I found it on clearance for $10 and as people had been asking me about holiday wines I encouraged them to snap this one up! I wish I had but it was all gone when I went back after tasting this wine!

Color: Pale rose gold

Nose: Salinity, minerality, very earthy, rust, iron, yeast, brioche, croissant, strawberry jam, strawberry preserves.

Palate: Rhubarb, strawberry rhubarb pie, yeast, citrus, lemon saline finish, clean and dry.

Pairing: The smoke in the ham was fantastic with the wine. It also loved the creamy richness and the nutty sweetness from the nutmeg in the scalloped potatoes. Caramelized Brussels sprouts with flavors of cranberry, and orange finishing oil are a perfect match.

2019 Mulderbosch Sparkling Rosé, Western Cape
ABV 12.5%
SRP $17
sample provided for my review consideration

This Vegan friendly rose of Cabernet Sauvignon comes from vineyards managed specifically for rosé production. Early picking means naturally high levels of acidity with plenty of fruit. Once pressed, a cool fermentation with aromatic yeasts heightened aromas and brought forward minerality. Bottled young to preserve freshness, the wine gets its bubbles from a state of the art in-line carbonation process.

Color: Coppery rose gold, strawberry blonde.

Nose: Sue picked on an herbal nose, strawberry, it is hard to pinpoint, it escapes, strawberry ricola, going back the second time, Sue pointed out banana, banana taffy

Palate: Strawberry lemonade, lemon lime, lightly foamy across the palate, chalky, the ocean and chalk

Pairing: Oysters explode with flavor when paired together, almost a black licorice or anise flavor is present. A fantastic pairing. The wine and the ham was fantastic. Marshal smoked the ham with a maple syrup and brown sugar glaze. Because Sue chose to use an orange olive oil on the Brussels sprouts, it worked so well.

Barone Pizzoni from Franciacorta Italy

2014/NV BARONE PIZZINI Rosé Franciacorta DOCG
SRP $50
80% Pinot Nero, 20% Chardonnay
sample provided for my review consideration

How can a wine both be non-vintage and vintage? The grapes were grown and fermented into wine in 2014, then bottled in April of 2015, and disgorged May 2018. With less than 5 grams per liter, it’s quite dry.

Founded in 1870, Barone Pizzini is one of the oldest wineries in Franciacorta and the first to go organic!

“Organic grape-growing is arduous and requires more hours of manual labor. But it can be done. Since 1998, the fruit of our commitment has been healthy, beautiful grapes. Organic vineyards teem with life. Their robust roots dig deep and they express a real connection with the land. Organic farming is the means but quality is the end.”

Located near Lake Iseo in northern Italy, the sub-Alpine and Mediterranean climates of the region contribute intense floral and fruit aromas. Grapes are grown on a glacial moraine, and the winery was one of the first in the area to promote biodiversity and natural farming methods. They’ve been practicing organic viticulture for over 20 years, saying

“Organic winemaking is the natural culmination of a quest to achieve the greatest expression of land. Respect for nature is the best tool for obtaining grapes rich with life and expressive potential. The balance between humankind and nature is at the heart of wines that have a deep connection to the land where they are made. Such wines are unique and cannot be reproduced elsewhere.”

Color: Amber, salmon

Nose: I picked up yeast and Gretel said florals. I thought of a classic French rose, brioche, strawberry crossant, raspberry danish.

Palate: Very pleasurable bottle of sparkling, tart raspberry danish, basil, mint, fennel. Substantial and complex in terms of body, flavors, and finish.

Pairing: Mmmm so lovely with oysters– melon flavors come out in the oyster, and lovely strawberry fruit in the wine. Fantastic with the ham, perfect partners. The scalloped potatoes ground the wine. There is earth and sky. The Earth of the potatoes ground the sky of a wine.

Because it is a  Pinot Noir-based sparkling rosé that’s quite savory, they suggest thinking of it more as a red wine than a white table wine and pairing it with a variety of meats, including grilled meats. We already know it’s a winner with smoked ham, so I’d say any pork, fowl, or fish would pair well. Do I want a grilled steak? If I was doing surf and turf, I’d say sure, why not? What I want to try is this.

For more surprising sustainable sparkling wines from Italy, including another one from Franciacorta, check out this article from earlier in December.

J from Sonoma, CA, USA

J Brut Rosé
ABV 12.5%
SRP $45
purchased on sale at Vons

J says: “Fruit is hand-harvested at night in cool temperatures to ensure the grapes remain in peak condition. An ultra-gentle pressing in our Coquard presses (rarely found in the U.S., and one of very few in California) prevents astringency or bitterness, and ensures a clean, refreshing mouthfeel. And the same high level of attention and care is poured into each still varietal as well, creating a portfolio that is consistently lauded and always enjoyed.” Wine Enthusiast gave this wine 92 points.

Because traveling to Sonoma may be more realistic for most of us than to other parts of the globe, and if you’re a sparkling wine fan like me, consider putting a visit to the J “Bubble Room” on your bubbles bucket list! The menu features a five-course Sonoma-inspired tasting menu paired with their portfolio of wines for $125.

Color: Amber, salmon

Nose: Some serious funk on the nose. Sulphuric flint, which quickly blows off, hay, sea grass.

Palate: On the sweeter side for Sue, but not a sweet wine. It has a very long finish of fruit and minerality. The effervescence of the foam and the flavors hang out for a very long time. Has quite a bit of body.

Pairing: Loves the orange olive oil in the roasted veggies. Fantastic with the scalloped potatoes, the richness of the cream. Perfect with the nutmeg and spinach in the dish. We did not appreciate this wine on its own. We wanted to pair this wine with food. It really shined with the combination of food and spices that were prepared for tonight’s meal.

Don’t let the pandemic get you down! Drink pink!

Here are three more bottles of sparkling rosé from Austria, Australia, and Espana for your celebrations big and small!

This is post #2 in “Make December Sparkle”. Here’s post #1 with sparkling wines from Italy.

Coming soon: 4 Prosecco DOC and 4 Prosecco DOCG, followed by an interview with Alice Paillard and three wines from her father’s eponymous winery, Bruno Paillard. Might be a cava and cremant post to come too before the month is through!





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