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  • Writer's picturederounds71

Champagne Alternatives for Valentine's


It's almost Valentine's Day, and whether you believe the ancient origin stories about the holiday or not, it's still a great excuse to have some Bubbly with your SO.  Now if you want to go the Champagne route, I'm all for that, but there are plenty of less expensive options that can be great pairings for different menu ideas.  Not that I am advocating that a couple have 6 different bottles of bubbles for their mutli-course VD meal (though I'm also not not advocating that too), but you can find a sparkling wine to fit any course or dish you're considering making for the special meal. 

  Here are just a handful of suggestions that maybe you hadn't considered before...

For seafood and or salad starters, my friends and I love the exceptionally delicious and refreshing lightly spritzy wines from Txakoli, on the northern Spanish Coast.  Several options locally, but the standard is Ameztoi which has been a locals fav in town for several years. Bright, minerally, refreshing...almost like ocean spray in a glass.

Maybe you're going with a dish that has some more substance but still calls for a white wine, Cremant de Loire or Cremant d'Alsace can be a great way to have something with elegance and texture without breaking the bank for Champagne. Baumard and Allimant are great names to look for, but Portland is rich with these so ask your fav shopkeep for their suggestion.

Maybe you want the richness of Champagne, with all it's Brioche, nutty goodness but something a little more affordable, look to the sparkling Cremant du Jura.  These are great replacements when you want something with intensity, usually at half the cost.  Tissot, Rolat, Bourdy are all terrific houses, and they make rose versions as well in case you're looking for something with more red fruited notes, for dishes like Salmon or Ahi Tuna.

Maybe you're going the steak or lamb route...there's a lush red option for you there too!  Lambrusco is just what you may not have thought you were looking for.  These are rich, deep dark-fruited wines, and substantial enough tannins to pair with the heft of these dishes. It's got the weight of red wine but still deliciously light on it's feet, and that purple-hued mousse looks great in a glass!

Then the proverbial what-to-do-with-the-decadently-rich-molten-chocolate-lava-cake question...or maybe those Chocolate-covered giganto dipped strawberries...try Aussie Black bubbles!  Seriously!  Sparkling Shiraz from Australia can be a sneaky delicious frothy pairing to the dessert ending part of the meal.  The Chook, Red Brute, Darkstar, or the-little-engine-that-could Paringa...all right tasty options and definitely a fun way wind up one part, and perhaps be the start for the next part of your romantic evening.

So as you are now in need of something Bubbly for Valentine's, if you're on the westside go see the folks at Park Ave Fine Wines (626 SW Park Ave), or eastside, visit Great Wine Buys (1515 NE Broadway St).  They both have great sparkling selections, so even if it's not one that I mentioned specifically, they can find you an amazing bottle to share. Cheers!

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