Review of Value Priced Sparkling Rosé for Valentine’s Day: The under $20 – 3 bottle taste-off! A Chandon, a Banfi and a Bitch (oh my)!

13 02 2012

3 Rosé Sparklers for Valentine's Day

I was excited to do this 3 bottle tasting…it had all the makings of something special. 3 Bottles from 3 different producers, from 3 parts of the world. All have similar price points (between $15-20 USD, but very different styles.

1) Banfi Rosa Regale: Made from Brachetto grapes in Piedmont, Italy

Color: The darkest of the 3, with deep, dark purple – so deep you can barely see though it. It is ominous but pretty. Bubbles: Barely any. Upon closer inspection, they are there, but it is so dark, that you really need to shine a flashlight through the flute to see any! This is one the darkest sparkling wine I have ever seen! Nose: String. As soon as I popped the cork, I had an extremely good idea that this was heavy, sweet and concord grape-like. This also had some boysenberry characteristics on second smell. It was like inhaling candy. Taste: Jolly Rancher Grape meets Welch’s, so sweet and thick, you can pour it on pancakes. Not much effervescence, otherwise it may taste like grape soda. I think this one is for those that like wine coolers or perhaps Berninger Sparkling White Zin. I would not drink this with anything other than dessert, or perhaps a waffle (pour it on). I’m shocked this came from the House of Banfi.

2) Bitch Bubbly (welcome back): Was Australian now Spanish:

Color: A pretty medium red/pink hue. Bubbles: More than the Banfi but less than the Chandon. Active, but not as many. Nose: Tight, not giving much away, other than sweetened chemicals – like astringent household cleaner but with added sugar. Taste: Though I have tried this before, and liked it, this bottle was not the same. I checked the back of the label and SPAIN was noted on the top. I thought this was made from Grenache in the same place that Bitch was produced – Australia, but it is now made in Spain from different grapes. This is shocking and I am not enjoying this one at all. It has some skittles, candied flavor but quickly turns bitter and unpleasant. Fans of the Aussie stuff in the past, buyer beware and make sure you check the top/back of the bottle. If it says SPAIN, run.

3) Chandon Rosé: Mostly Pinot Noir – from California.

Color: Pale Salmon. Bubbles: Scattered and plentiful. No defined bead, just very active and scattered. Nose: Light strawberries, vanilla/cream soda, raspberry. Taste. Nice creamy mouthfeel, but light flavors of vanilla and strawberry-apple fade quickly. Some acidity on the finish, but gets bitter and harsh. Still, better than that Bitch!

3 Flutes of Pink

Winner? Nobody wins in this group. I am completely disappointed. I’ve  had 2 of these 3 bottles in the past, and they have been good, but not these new versions. Could it be bottle variation (where I actually bought a “bad bottle”) – sure…but 2 of the 3? The Banfi was so over the top sweet, it was like drinking liquid jolly rancher – think barely sparkling Manischewitz (kosher fortified wine).

So – disgusted, I went ahead and finished the last of the Gosset Excellence Brut I opened the other day. That…though double the price of these Rosés – was 500 times better in quality and taste – even unsealed more than 24 hours later. Update, even after an hour or so – warm and less bubbly, it still had a great taste and is truly an excellent french champagne for the money (right now $29.99 in NJ ShopRite Liquors).

I really wish I could tell you that any of these are a great value for the price…but I can’t. If I were forced to recommend one of these 3 rosé sparkling wines…I would have to go with the Chandon. It is dry, somewhat smooth and creamy, and not awful. But, I am unhappy with this for the price.

Go for the Scharffenberger Brut I mentioned last post, or if you must have pink (if you can find it) look for the Charles De Fere Rosé ($10 USD from WineLibrary.com). A true value. Alternately, check my earlier posts on Prosecco and Sparkling wines for Valentines’s Day. Riondo Prosecco is delicious and a bargain. As is the Charles de Fere Reserve. Both around $10 USD, though not pink!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Love Always 😉 Steve from the Trellis

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27 12 2012
TFTT Top Wines of 2012: Part 1 – Best Sparkling Rosé Bubbly & Champagne Values « talesfromthetrellis

[…] local wine shop). I have explained the various types of sparkling wines made all over the world right here in this blog in the past 2 years since we started writing about wine – but will give you what I feel are […]

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