Wine of the Month – February 2013

Wine of the Month took a de-tox break in January, but with those New Year’s Resolutions now merely a distant memory and half a drinks cabinet of various whiskies from Burns Night waiting to be finished off, it’s time to turn our thoughts to February and Valentine’s Day.

Call me old-fashioned but I think wines for Valentine’s Day should be pink, fizzy or sweet – perhaps even all three.

We start this month with a sunny fizz from Oz before going all pink.

Sandford Estate ‘S’ Brut NV – Joseph Barnes (£11.50)

This is Champagne-style sparkler from Australia that comes with a big sunny grin – despite its New World origins, it has some Champagne character.
There’s yeasty brioche and biscuitiness, with ripe orchard fruit and a pleasantly savoury rasp on the finish.
It has a bit of extra New World ripeness, but it is still an Old World-style food wine – you could match it with white cheese such as brie or light seafood.
Innocent Bystander Pinot Noir Rosé  – Cambridge Wine Merchants (£8.95) 
An Aussie Pinot rosé is a wine that sounds like it shouldn’t work – but this one definitely does.
Salmon pink in colour, it has aromas of smokey spice and ripe red fruits. On the palate, it has good rounded acidity and minerality – it feels like quite a cool climate wine – finishing dry and persistent.
Despite the jokey name and New World origins, this wine has a distinctly European food-friendliness to it, so it would work well as an aperitif, with a light salad or delicate white fish.
Jancis Robinson describes it as being chock full of slightly smokey Pinot character with no excess alcohol or sweetness.
Carati Rose Cuvee – Bacchanalia (£10.99) 
With its shocking pink / fuchsia label and blacked-out bottle, this Italian Charmat-method pink fizz is certainly going to make quite a statement on the dinner table – assuming that’s what you want to do.
Despite appearances, it’s not actually the hairdresser’s wine that it appears to be. Sure, it is not an entirely serious wine, but it has some crisp acidity with grapefruit and raspberry, as well as interesting aromas of chopped herbs and bitter almonds.
It will work as an aperitif or with the sort of light foods you might want for a romantic dinner – grilled fish or a seafood risotto.
Perfect if you’re looking for that Big-And-None-Too-Serious Statement.
Domaine du Grand Cros Cotes de Provence Rosé 2011 – Noel Young Wines (£8.95) 
A blend of Cinsault, Carignan, Grenache and Syrah from southern France, this is also salmon pink in the glass, with a touch of spiciness and pear drop aroma on the nose.
On the palate, there is white stone and orchard fruits and some soft red berries. What makes it interesting, though, is the mouthfilling acidity and leesy savouriness that finishes as a persistent minerality.
Enjoy as either a sipper or with light food.
Other related articles


Bacchanalia –

Cambridge Wine Merchants –

Joseph Barnes Wines –

Noel Young Wines –

Image credits – Matt Ellis of Smiling Grape

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About Tom Lewis

Tom Lewis is a wine writer and educator from Cambridge with a particular interest in Austria and France. His comments have been published on, Local Wine Events, as well as in the local press in his hometown of Cambridge, UK. When it comes to buying wine, Tom’s philosophy is to buy as close as possible to where it comes from. He writes a regular blog, the Cambridge Wine Blogger which launched in 2009 and is a presenter for the Cambridge Food and Wine Society. To read more of Tom’s work, please check out
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