Valentine’s Day can be such a mixed bag. On the one hand, it’s always nice to appreciate your loved ones (and to feel appreciated), and I can get down with any holiday that gives us an excuse to stare at flowers and nibble on chocolate. But I get weary of the hype, commercialization, crowded restaurants and stale prix fixe menus.
We kept it simple. Back to the scene of the crime—a friendly neighborhood joint where we went on our first date. Juicy burgers, hot onion rings and cold beers served on red- and white-checkered tablecloths.
Back at home, we relaxed with a bottle of Mumm Napa Brut Napa Valley Prestige NV ($22). Crisp and refreshing, this California sparkling wine has just the right mix of citrus, apple and spice notes. I rated it 89 points, non-blind.
After a couple of glasses, we decided to break out some homemade rhubarb bitters friends had just given us to make Champagne cocktails. A sugar cube in the bottom of the glass, soaked with the bitters and topped with the bubbly. A touch sweeter and more exotic and spicy, the cocktails were a refreshing nightcap to a simple, romantic evening.
WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Mumm Napa Brut Napa Valley Prestige NV (88 points, $22).
• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated sparkling wines from California.