Martini & Rossi Sparkling Rosé, Italy

Cost: $14-16

What: If you have put off planning for Valentine’s Day, your time is about up,

But don’t despair, there is still time to impress that special someone. Jewelry, flowers and candy are nice, but you can’t go wrong with a good bottle of wine.

And what’s better than a bottle of rosé sparkling wine. We all have our favorites, but it is nice to try something new once in a while. So this year my wife Teri and I opened a bottle of Martini & Rossi Sparkling Rosé.

I had never had it before. We were both glad we discovered it. In the glass it is a beautiful bright pink with lots of never-ending bubbles. Aromas of soft wild rose float up out of the glass with hints of red fruit and green apple. On the palate I picked up red fruit and citrus flavors, balanced by a refreshing acidity.

This is a beautiful wine, full of ripe fruit without being overly sweet. It makes a great aperitif on its own, and it is an excellent food wine.

The Martini & Rossi Sparkling Rosé also is a great bargain. For flavor like this and the quality and quantity of bubbles, you would expect to pay much more. With inexpensive sparklers the bubbles often stop long before you have finished the wine.

The wine is made from a secret blend of grapes that include Riesling Italico and Nebbiolo. It is considered a spumante, which merely means it’s a sparkling wine made in Italy.

You can serve it on the rocks or mixed in a wine cocktail, but it is great in a flute or a regular wine glass. The Martini & Rossi website has several cocktail recipes using their vermouth and sparkling wines.

Martini & Rossi is well known for it vermouth which they have been making since 1863. They produce four different vermouths as well as three reserve vermouths, but they also offer three sparkling wines. This Rosé, a Prosecco and an Asti. They also have two frozen wine cocktails and a couple of non-alcoholic aperitifs.

The Rosé is available at many local restaurants and most wine shops and grocery stores in our area. So if you missed getting it for Valentine’s Day, don’t worry. There is always a reason to celebrate with some sparkling wine.

Winery: In 1863 Alessandro Martini and Luigi Rossi took over the National Wine & Spirits Distillery in a small village near Turin. They made an unlikely pair. Martini was a clever entrepreneur and Rossi was a master herbalist.

Together they created the Martini & Rossi Rosso, a vermouth that has been popular for more than 150 years.

The location of the enterprise was no lucky accident. The tiny village of Pessione was carefully selected because it is close to the winemakers of the Piedmont region, in a botanical-rich region in the foothills of the Alps. It also was close to the vermouth trade of Turin, the port of Genoa and a convenient rail line.

Sparkling Master Blender Livio Prandi works with many of the 300 small growers in the Asti region to secure the best grapes for the sparkling wines. He combines tradition and modernity to create wines popular around the world.

The company has remained loyal to the region where it began, even developing a community program to support the people of the village. Visitors from around the world go there to see Casa Martini, the wine museum and the Mondo Martini Gallery.

Goes with: Teri and I had this beautiful wine with rotisserie chicken, mashed potatoes, peas, corn on the cob and a salad. It was a great pairing.

The fruit and smooth acidity of the wine really made the savory chicken flavors pop. The ability to pair well with all kinds of food makes this wine even more special.

Teri and I like to think of every day as Valentine’s Day, so this cozy meal was a perfect way to celebrate a few days before the actual holiday.

Salty, acidic foods such as oysters, shrimp and other seafood pair beautifully with the Martini & Rossi Rosé. But you could pair it with sandwiches, chicken, brunch food or even dessert and not go wrong. It’s hard to imagine a food it wouldn’t pair with.

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