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Pink in the New Year

Rose sparklers are a festive way to usher in the New Year representing Gaetan Lee

Still grey in Chicago, more rain than snow these days, so I’m inclined to think in color to combat the bland tableau of my yard this New Year’s. With many columns out there extolling the virtues of traditional champagnes and sparkling wines, I ask you to consider Pink. Yes, Pink. “Rose” in wine vernacular is a great alternative to the usual golden bubbly coming your way to usher in a new year.

I’ve found Rose sparklers to be perfectly festive this time of year, when the good china comes out and other special annual traditions find their place at the table during the holidays. In the same way, I like to think Roses put the New Year toasting tradition a notch above other toasts throughout the year.

I always consider Roses a little less austere than their golden counterparts, with a fruity palate reminiscent of strawberries and raspberries to make them very crowd friendly. They are perfect matches for a variety of desserts, including chocolate in the same way red wines’ fruity character can complement them.

If you’re adventurous, try the Langlois Cremant de Loire Rose from France’s Loire Valley—it’s made from this region’s premier red varietal, Cabernet Franc rather than the usual mélange of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes grown in Burgundy and California to make sparklers. Zonin Baccarosa is another interesting rose found at WineStyles in Glenview but I’ll bet your local WineStyles could get ahold of a bottle or two.

Most of the familiar champagne and sparkling wine estates – Chandon, Roederer, Schramsberg -- offer rose varieties, so they are not hard to track down at Binny’s or your favorite local wine shop. Rose varieties are also a popular choice for sparkling wines outside of the U.S. or France, at even friendlier prices for Spanish Cava and Italian Prosecco. Santa Margherita– most known for its Pinot Grigio - just introduced a sparkling Rose sold at Dominick’s.

So ring in Pink to welcome 2012.


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