Roses are red
Violets are blue
But what would you think
If we drank only pink?
The Hired Belly has been busy checking his Valentine ‘s shopping list, and pondering just which wines might be best to go along. We’re tempted to throw caution to the wind with this year’s crop of Valentine ’s wines, by adhering to that first golden rule: Drink what you like. However, there are a few caveats to watch for when deciding what to drink with your chosen aphrodisiac.
The fact is, however, it’s tough to get away from rosé. After all, what looks more romantic than a glass of pink bubble?
A perfect Valentine wine…
Leading the pack this year is the latest unabashedly pink salute from Haywire…
• Haywire Pink Bub 2012. We love the whole idea of The Bub, from its catchy name to the no-fuss-no-muss crown cap, that’s a cinch to open. This latest Pink Bub offering (Chardonnay/Pinot Noir, méthode traditionelle) strikes just the right balance with not too overt cherry notes wrapped into its crunchy green apple personality before a crisp, clean finish. Yes, you could even share it (if you have to!), and it would work well with fresh shucked oysters and a small splash of raspberry vinaigrette! $24.90 90 pts.
Hot on the Bub’s heels (and a shoo-in if you’re not inclined to “drink pink”) comes
• Bella 2012 “West Side” Chardonnay (not exactly as shown …) Also under crown cap, with lots of bubbles in the glass, and a textured, creamy, toasty apple toned palate, this has me thinking about Dungeness crab, just steamed and cracked, with a little lemon butter on the side, perfect to share with your Valentine. Private Wine Stores $24- $26. 90 pts
Bella Sparkling Gamay Noir 2011 (Previous vintage). “A delightful balance of fruit and acidity with cranberry and strawberry notes with a hint of citrus on a gently creamy palate before a crisp, clean end.” Methode traditionelle, crown cap. $24-$26.90 90 pts
• Bouillot Cremant de Bourgogne Rosé. We’re big fans of this just off-dry rosé (Pinot Noir with a splash of Gamay). Pretty pink in the glass, with a flash of cherries and a peristent—very festive—mousse. Try it with Oyama Sausage’s creamy porcini paté. BCLS $25.95 90 pts.
• Pascual Toso Brut. This affordable sparkler from Argentina. 100 percent Chardonnay, has a touch of apple, some creaminess and a soft finish. Very Valentine-wallet friendly … Private wine stores c. $16 89 pts
If you’re looking for a more off-dry style, why not make a date with Moscato? The U.S. market has gone crazy for Moscato in just about every incarnation, not all of it noteworthy. However, here’s a lively, sweeter bubble that may just surprise you—starting with the fact that it comes from Brazil…
• Terra Andina Sparkling Moscato. Fun, frothy and lively with stonefruit and tropical notes on the palate. Easy sipping, or you could even pair it with chocolate—even Jaffa cakes! BCLS $15.99 88 pts.
It would be nothing short of improper to omit Riesling from any list of Valentine recommendations so, no surprise …
• Inniskillin Okanagan Estate Series 2012 Riesling. Stone fruit and a correct hint of petrol on the nose (which suggests it should develop nicely), followed by a juicy, well balanced just off dry palate with vibrant stonefruit and gentle citrus, before a lingering, clean finish. Whip up some fresh mussels with linguini and a lightly spiced sauce, for a perfect match—and a romantic dinner. BCLS $13.99. 89 pts.