Food & Drink

Treat your valentine right with a bright Italian red for just $13

Wine. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washingtn Post by Tom McCorkle
Wine. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washingtn Post by Tom McCorkle

If you’re looking for wines to treat your Valentine this Feb. 14, here are three that won’t break your budget - a sparkling rosé from South Africa that offers champagne-level quality at a fraction of the price, an outstanding Spanish cava bubbly that’s even cheaper, and a delightful Italian red that might prompt you to croon a love song. We also have two outstanding whites - from northern Italy and Santa Barbara County in California - to add flair to any meal.

• Biutiful Brut Cava: Three stars, Penedes, Spain, $14. This cava is a bit more champagne-like than most, thanks to the 20 percent of the blend being chardonnay. The chardonnay lends body and richness, along with ripe fruit notes and a bit of sweetness to match the red-fruit flavors of currant and raspberry. This is delightful bubbly, and easy to find. Alcohol by volume: 11.5 percent.

• Villiera Tradition Brut Rosé: Three stars, South Africa, $26. Crisp and refreshing, with red berry flavors and a hint of toasty brioche, this South African sparkling wine is top-notch, offering impressive depth and complexity for the price. This wine is not easy to find, but it’s worth seeking out. ABV: 12 percent.

• Amore Assoluto Antiche Terre Venete Red Blend 2016: Two and a half stars, Italy. The wine’s name, and the bright red heart on the label, may scream Valentine’s Day, but it would be a shame to limit this tasty wine to only once a year. The blend is 40 percent corvina, the red grape of the Veneto region near Venice, with equal parts merlot and syrah making up the balance. There are bright red fruit flavors, with a hint of cola spice and clove. ABV: 13.5 percent.

• Kellerei St. Michael-Eppan Schulthauser Pinot Bianco 2018: Two and a half stars, Sudtirol-Alto Adige, Italy, $19.50. Some white wines taste as if they sprang directly from the Earth. This pinot bianco is crisp on the palate, like water from a pure mountain spring, with a minerally taste to accent its unblemished fruit flavors. ABV: 14 percent.

• Santa Barbara Winery Chardonnay 2018: Two and a half stars. Santa Barbara County, Calif., $19. This lovely chardonnay combines ripe orchard fruit flavors of pear and apple with a judicious use of oak - just enough to give structure and body to the wine without making it taste more of the tree than the fruit. The winery, established in 1962 and the oldest in Santa Barbara County, also produces a delicious sauvignon blanc. ABV: 14.3 percent.

Note: Three stars: Exceptional; Two stars: Excellent; One star: Very good. Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.

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