The temperature in Stockholm has been below zero for a number of weeks now but there has been a change in the skies which have gone from grey and gloomy to include some rays of sunshine and moments of blue sky. Warm weather and spring are still a way off but clearly they are on people’s mind, and the newspapers last week-end have been surprisingly full of advertisements for rosé wine! On second thoughts, it probably isn’t so much the call of spring but the fact that Tuesday is Valentine’s day, a day that calls for celebration with all things pink and heart shaped. For those of you who might have forgotten this day, here is a reminder for you to go and buy that card and gift!
In following with the spirit of the moment, here is a little sampler of some of the pink festive beverages that are currently available at most Systembolaget shops in Sweden. All of these are with bubbles, bar one – bubbles being synonymous with fun and festivities. (But what is it with bubbles anyways…).
Monte Rossa, Flamingo Rosé Brut, Franciacorta DOCG, Italy
12% abv, SB 7615, 160 SEK
Pale onion-skin in colour. Dry, fine lively bubbles, aromatics of red and yellow apples, grapes and a touch of red fruit. Quite a full, muscular body, good acidity and plenty of bready, yeasty notes, a good length with a touch of apple skin on the finish.
Champagne is not the only area in Europe to produce sparkling wines in the traditional method. Franciacorta, in Lombardy in northern Italy, is another area that is known for its world-class sparkling wines. This non-vintage wine is made from 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir. The fermented wine has spent two years of lees ageing in bottle, giving it those rich toasty aromas. Franciacorta can be quite expensive but this one here is priced at 160 SEK, which is a little more than a good bottle of Prosecco but less than a cheap bottle of Champagne.
Berberana, Marqués de Monistrol, Selección Especial, Rosé Brut, Cava DO, Spain
11.5% abv, SB 7415, 80 SEK
A pale intensity of pink. Dry, fine mousse that fades away in the mouth, medium aromas of red and dark fruit, pepper, gravel and toasted bread. A medium body with a slight bitter finish.
Cava is both a region and a style of sparkling wine made through the “metodo traditional” with the bubbles coming from a second fermentation in bottle. It can be elaborated in many different areas of Spain. Most Cava, however, comes from the Penedès region – as is the case for the Monistrol – and is usually a blend of the Macabeo, Xarello and Parellada grape varieties. This rosé is made with 70% Monastrell (aka Mourvèdre) and 30% Pinot Noir.
Lanson, Champagne, Rosé Brut, Champagne, France
12.5% abv, SB 7495, 400 SEK
Light pale pink. Dry with very fine bubbles. Aromas of sweet candy floss, peaches, redcurrants, raspberries, sweet juicy apples, blood oranges. A delicate body, refreshing acidity, a long fruity and biscuity length that tapers gently off.
This non-vintage dry rosé Champagne is a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier and with its pretty pink label undoubtedly a perfect Valentine’s gift.
Richard Juhlin, Non-alcoholic Sparkling Wine, Rosé, France
SB 1983, SEK 89
This is an alcohol-free version of a pink sparkling wine from the Swedish champagne expert, Richard Juhlin. Light pink in colour, this sparkler has aromas of baked apples and red fruit. Lively bubbles with a little froth, the body is medium full with good acidity balanced out with a sweet texture. This is a good choice for a non-alcoholic sparkling rosé and the appearance of the bottle and wine is a good look-alike to rosé champagne. The texture of the body without taking the bubbles into consideration is reminiscent of alcohol-free beer. Made from 90% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Noir.
Barefoot, White Zinfandel, California, USA
8% abv, SB 2215, SEK 70
There is an extra label on the bottle which states “Deliciously fruity” and sure enough, this wine is pure fruit. With a pink screw cap to match the colour of the wine, this bottle contains aromas and flavours of peach candy, apricots, ripe strawberries and blackberries. The alcohol is low, the acidity is medium and the finish is juicy and sweet (33 g/l of residual sugar).
If you want to say it with fruit and are on a low budget, this is the one for you.
Garcia Carrion, Platino, Flowery Sparkling, Pink Moscato, Spain
7% abv, SB 77072, SEK 50
Pale pink in colour, aromas of candy floss, orange blossom and raspberries, this is another crowd pleasing party wine that does not break the bank. Pink Moscato is a very popular beverage in Australia. This is something I only recently found out during a blind tasting when I tasted this wine for the first time and did not have a clue where the wine came from… Systembolaget only had this Spanish one on its shelves at the moment. Bubbly, quite full-bodied and very definitely sweet (75 g/l of residual sugar), this low alcohol wine is for those who really like sweet wine. This is a wine to serve as an aperitif.
Lastly, a pink sparkler that is not a wine but a cider:
Carlsberg, Somersby, Sparkling Rosé, semi-sweet cider, Sweden
4.5% abv, SB 88741, SEK 18.10
Pale pink, with aromas of pears, gooseberries, and mulberries. This is a sweet cider (77 g/l of sugar) that is nevertheless refreshing thanks to its fine bubbles and moderate acidity.
Enjoy Valentine’s day, whether it’s with rosé, or without…