Tickled pink

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 August, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 August, 2010, 12:00am

Pink bubbles suffer from stereotyping. When Jacob's Creek sparkling ros? won the trophy for the best wine to serve with braised abalone at last year's Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition, it caught the judges by surprise. While in Argentina this spring, I was startled to see men order sparkling rose with meals. At a recent champagne seminar, it was interest- ing to note most attendees expected the rose to be the cheapest of all the non-vintage sparklers, but, in fact, it's one of the most expensive. Clearly we have preconceived ideas about pink bubbles, not only on price and prestige but when, where and with what it should be sipped.

As part one of a two-part series on sparkling ros?s, what follows is an array of pink bubblies from Spain and Italy. Pop the corks on these wines and reveal some surprising truths.

Segura Viudas, Lavit Rosado Cava Brut, Spain (pictured)

Coral with cranberry hues. Earthy and flinty with toasty and yeasty notes. Soft, round bubbles. Red summer fruits emerge on palate. Well put together with classic old-world character. Excellent food match and great value.

Available for HK$98 at Watson's Wine Cellar (tel: 2606 8828)

Bonomi Tenuta Castellino Franciacorta Rose, Italy

Pale coral tones with orange glints. Delicate strawberry fruit, tea-leaf and floral jasmine notes. Soft sparkle and crisp acidity. Well made and tightly knit with a solid fruit core and that elusive feature: finesse. Pretty and elegant, serve this wine as a reception aperitif.

Available for HK$300 at Advantage Asia Pacific (tel: 2499 1110)

Premium Brut Ros? Fontanafredda NV, Italy

Medium coral hues. Fresh vibrant raspberry and yellow cherries with floral notes. Though bubbly, its forthright character makes it easy to drink alongside a still (non-sparkling) rose. Lovely and fresh fruit with leesy, toasty notes. Well-layered.

Available for HK$138 at Castello del Vino (tel: 2866 0577)

Noche Y Dia, Cava Brut Rose, Spain

Robust fruit (in the context of bubblies), layered red berries, toastiness, orange and tangerine hints. Savoury nose with characteristic cava earthiness. Full-bodied with well-balanced acidity and buoyant bubbles. The tannic texture is a touch dishevelled, which keeps it out of the top class, but well worth buying. Could be served with light meats.

Available for HK$140 at Bacchus Fine Wines (Asia) (tel: 2415 8968)

Carpene Malvolti Rose Cuvee Brut NV, Italy

Bright pink-toned coral with exuberant, forward fruit. Aromatic raspberry, strawberry and rhubarb with lemon biscuit underpinning. Soft sparkle. Texture is slightly tannic leaving the wine a touch ragged, so best served with food. Excellent outdoor wine.

Available for HK$138 at Castello del Vino (tel: 2866 0577)

Debra Meiburg is a master of wine