Valentine’s wines? I’m always intrigued by what people consider to be a suitable Valentine’s wine. Pink seems to be a constant theme, which I guess makes sense. Hearts are good, too. And sex should be in there somewhere, hopefully.
Here’s a clutch of wines that popped out for this week’s column that seem to fit the bill.
• Etike ‘Blue Heart’ Pinot Grigio, 2014 (Sicily)
Talk about wearing your heart on your sleeve, how about right on your bottle? Here’s a cute Valentine’s thought (above): an ingenious, pretty, blue pottery heart (with ‘I love you’ in a few languages) doubles as a gushy label for this Sicilian Pinot Grigio. Apple and pear notes on top followed by a quite generous fruity palate. Fine as a sipper, with white fish or with chicken dishes. 89 pts. BCLS $17.49
• Gotín del Risc Bierzo Mencia 2013 (Bierzo)
This Valentine’s label gets points more for cuteness and creativity than actual readability. Never mind. It is kind of sparkly and cute. Inside is a well made Spanish red (Mencia). “Gotín” in the local dialect means “a glass of wine shared between friends.” Bright berry fruit, Medium bodied with quite firm tannins plus spice and mineral hints. 90 pts. $17.99
• Two Hands Sexy Beast Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (McLaren Vale)
Here’s a wine that’s much more than a pretty face, literally. From Two Hands’ edgy Picture Series. Full frontal Cabernet, as only the Aussies know how, with intense red fruit and floral notes on the nose followed by mulberry, black fruit and spice with a hint of mint on the plush palate, luscious, structured and lingering. 92 pts. $35
Valentine’s chocolate or not?
For better or worse, chocolate and Valentine’s Day are inextricably linked. For years, chocolates have been given as a gift—as a sign of love, devotion or affection. It’s an ancient tradition that has its roots in chocolate’s Aztec’s beginnings—although we can be pretty sure that Montezuma never paired his with red wine. In fact, he drank it, often in the bath.
• Steller’s Jay Sparkling Shiraz (Okanagan)
Another ‘in a pinch’ match for dark chocolate, with layers of black cherry and mocha notes under a fun and frothy dark crimson mousse. Pretty in the glass, and a definite crowd pleaser. 90 pts. BCLS $25.99
• Lanson Champagne NV Brut Rosé
Nothing says ‘sexy’ quite like a seriously good rosé Champagne. Besides that, if you can make it last right through the meal, it’s a pretty versatile food wine. This polished drop from one of France’s oldest houses sports pretty pale rose in the glass, with fine bubbles. The Pinot character shows through with red fruit, plus citrus hints, good acidity and a crisp finish. 91 pts. $69.49 PWS / EW