When a friend invites you to a birthday brunch or long-planned summer dinner party, you don't necessarily want to show up with a bottle of Trader Joe's Prosecco. But a bottle of rosé Champagne? Now that suits the occasion.
The family-run Philopponnat's Brut Réserve Rosé is a beauty, a gorgeous deep pink, with the scent of toast and roses, the taste of mirabelle plums, a fine mousse — and a long, elegant finish. It's a reminder of how very alluring a well-made rosé Champagne can be. As these sparkling wines go, it's something of a bargain too. And if you want to make a big statement, John & Pete's in West Hollywood has the Philipponnat rosé in a magnum ($130). I like the idea too of a half bottle ($30) from Hi-Time Wine Cellars to start off dinner with a significant other.
Enjoy this rosé Champagne as an aperitif or with smoked trout or salmon, cold poached salmon, seared scallops or steamed lobster.
Price: About $50
Style: Classic and elegant
What it goes with: Smoked fish, cold poached salmon, scallops, lobster
Where to find it: Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, (949) 650-8463, www.hitimewine.net; John and Pete's Fine Wines & Spirits in West Hollywood, (310) 657-3080, www.johnandpetes.com; Lincoln Fine Wines in Venice, (310) 392-7816, www.lincolnfinewines.com; Manhattan Fine Wines in Manhattan Beach, (310) 374-3454, www.manhattanfinewines.com. You can also order online from the Rare Wine Co., www.rarewineco.com.