Recently, I found myself in need of a rose bubbly to serve at a French-themed dinner. Champagne is always my first choice for bubbly, but cost considerations led me to the PLCB Chairman’s Selection section of our local State Store, where I noticed a beautiful rose colored non-vintage Loire Valley French Sparkler the C Greffe Brut Rose NV ($13.99 PLCB code 32408). This sparkler is from Touraine, a broad sub-region of the central Loire Valley approximately 120 miles southwest of Paris. The wine-makers of C. Greffe use three grapes in the blend: Cabernet Franc 50% (famous red grape of the Loire Region and blending grape in Bordeaux), Gamay 45% (the featured grape of Beaujolais), and Pineau d’Aunis 5% (a blending grape with long history in Loire Valley). At the first sip, this bubbly unveils a lean, clean and fresh wine that is dry, but stops short of being austere. The mouth-feel has a frothy mousse that brings all the flavors into focus, especially when ice cold, although I often enjoy allowing sparkling wine to warm slightly in the glass so that all the fruit flavors can burst forward and become obvious (this also shows flaws in lesser wines and sometimes I wish I hadn’t been so adventurous). Overall, the nicely integrated fresh fruit flavors of cherry and strawberry combine with a hint of earthiness and lead into a crisp finish that suggests a well-made sparkler. I am a fan of this bubbly for the affordable $13.99 price and the pleasing flavors, and I expect it will do well at my upcoming dinner – this is definitely a good value bubbly and worth a try.