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Food & Dining // Vino Sense
Roberto Viernes

Sparkling, Luxurious, Sexy Champagne

'The flower bottle' is beautiful and the Champagne inside is delicious - perfect for your valentine | Photo from Roberto Viernes

Ahem, just a friendly reminder to all male readers: This is Valentine’s Day week. Yes, flowers are nice, but shiny and sparkly things always take the cake.

So this Valentine’s Day, forget the still wines. Go for the sparkly and bubbly goodness that will go to her head and get you closer to her heart. And don’t skimp. Prosecco and Cava are fine, but if you want to prove your love, Champagne is where it’s at.

What is it that makes Champagne such a beloved beverage, especially for women?

I think it has a lot to do with appearance. Yes, it is that important. Champagne bottles are the most gorgeous bottles around. They are more curvaceous than almost any other bottle shape, especially in comparison to the broad shoulders of a Bordeaux bottle or the tall and fluted bottles of Germany and Alsace.

All you have to do is take a look at Perrier Jouet Belle époque, aka “the flower bottle” or Fleur de Champagne. Its beautiful art nouveau flowers created by Emille Galle in 1902 are as romantic as any fresh bouquet, not to mention the Champagne inside is delicious.

And how beautiful is a bottle of Louis Roederer Cristal?

Originally designed for the Russian tsar, it is wrapped in golden cellophane and in clear glass to show off its unique Champagne hue.

And then there are the unique curves of Krug Champagne bottles – yes, my own favorite. None of these wines could be mistaken for any other, much like the love that you want to show your loved one, yes?

I also think it is the most elegant wine to drink because of the type of glass it is served in. Still red wine glasses are usually big and bulbous. Even within the Riedel wineglass range one can see how large and manly the Bordeaux/Cabernet/Merlot or Syrah/Shiraz glasses are. Even the Burgundy/Pinot Noir bulb is aesthetically less pleasing than the svelte shape of the Champagne flute – like shapely legs of a supermodel. The weight and shape are the easiest to hold for any lady.

Now, let us examine what is inside the bottle.

The greatest of all sparkling wines, Champagne can lift one’s spirits. It is without question the No. 1 wine drinkers think about when they want to celebrate an occasion. Therefore, just by drinking Champagne, like the Pavlovian response, people’s minds already are prepared to have fun and be merry. Champagne also is what most drinkers think about when they want to spoil themselves.

Champagne is a luxurious beverage. It makes one feel rich and pampered. As beautiful as the bubbles are, like a string of pearls, it is not only the bubbles that attract us to the wine. Bubbles dissipate with time and age, but there is a unique flavor to Champagne that lets us know that it comes only from that one area on the face of the earth.

OK, let’s see: beauty, elegance, uniqueness, pampering, luxury and delicious flavor all in one. Why wouldn’t you have Champagne on Valentine’s Day?

Recommendations: MV Krug Grande Cuvee ($189) When money does-n’t matter and you just want to have some of the best or want to impress. Krug is Krug. NV Billiot Brut Reserve ($49) Pinot Noir dominant, 100 percent Grand Cru, refined and elegant, this boasts zesty notes with toast and flowers.

Roberto Viernes is a master sommelier. Email rviernes@southernwine.com or follow him on Twitter @Pinotpusher.

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