Chocolates and sparkling red

Dave Ethridge — VIEW Wine Columnist

Dave Ethridge — VIEW Wine Columnist

It’s always a very special occasion, Valentine’s Day, and if you’re celebrating this weekend, it deserves something special for the celebration. Chocolates have long been the favorite gift for your loved one and red roses have been known to win the heart. But, now there is another special gift to add to the collection. Made in Italy, Banfi Rosa Regale is a very special wine just perfect for the occasion.

The story of Rosa Regale is fascinating. In 1979 the Mariana family, owners of Banfi Vintners, acquired a mid- 18th century vineyard known as Bruzzone. They renamed it Vigne Regali and it is situated in one of the smallest production areas of Italy, the Brachetto d’Acqui DOCG. It is planted with 100 percent Brachetto grape, grown exclusively at the La Rosa vineyard near the town of Acqui Terme in the Piedmont region, just north of Turin. Rosa Regale comes from this singe vineyard. Banfi released the first vintage of Rosa Regale in 2000 but it was not exported to the U. S. until several years later. It has now become a favorite of the many who prefer sparkling wine with a touch of sweetness and is unique in its light ruby red color that produces a lovely pink mousse (foam) as it is poured into the glass.



In terms of flavor, Rosa Regale offers a delicate bouquet of rose petals along with the fresh flavors of raspberries and strawberries. It is not quite as effervescent as Champagne; but softer, persistent bubbles produce the delicate froth so loved by its enthusiasts. Served chilled, Rosa Regale is a good partner throughout the meal from savory appetizers to a sweet dessert. It’s delicious with a luncheon salad of fresh fruits and chicken. And, no wine pairs better with chocolate than Rosa Regale where the fresh berry flavors compliment the luscious sweetness of the chocolate.

According to legend, both Julius Caesar and Marc Antony plied Cleopatra with the Brachetto of Piedmont. It is said that Cleo had her lovers drink the wine with her to unleash their passions. But then, legends are the stuff that good stories are made of — the makers of today’s Brachetto, the Rosa Regale, make no such claims. But it does illustrate that Brachetto has been around a long time, often neglected as a fine wine grape and out of vogue for many years because of its light red color and sweet flavors. It’s good to see it back in popularity in it’s current form, that of a light sparkling wine, very low in alcohol (only 7 percent) and perfect for many occasions. It is packaged in a lovely plastic gift box so no wrapping is necessary. Rosa Regale is available at most wine shops and some supermarkets; look for it in the sparkling wine section. It’s priced in the $20-23 range.

So, as you shop for that someone special for Valentine’s

Day, pick up the chocolates, a bottle of Rosa

Regale and, maybe, some long-stemmed red roses. With all of that, this could be your lucky day!

Special Wine Bargain Alert: As we’ve noted on several occasions, wine stocks are at an all time high and many surpluses exist. This has lead to huge discounts to reduce stocks as new vintages come from the wineries. A case in point is a very special bargain now offered by Lapeer Wine & Spirits (and a few selected other locations). They have in stock the 2008 Concannon Central Coast Shiraz at 2 for $5.98 (yes, $3 a bottle, it’s normally $12-14) and the magnum 1.5 liter (2 bottle size) of Concannon Central Coast Petite Sirah for $8.99, normally $18- 20. The Concannon Petite Sirah regularly wins gold medals at wine expositions. But, hurry, supply is limited on this outstanding wine bargain.

Dave Ethridge is a nationally known wine writer, certified wine judge and the director of the Lapeer

Chapter of Tasters Guild


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