Tomorrow is the big day. Roses will be sent, boxes of chocolates received and meals enjoyed together. Whether you’re celebrating with a partner, your spouse, friends or on your own, your Valentine’s Day needs wine and we’re here to help with that. We have five wines to suggest for just about every Valentine’s Day meal and every palate. We received these wines as tasting samples.
Sparkling wine is as good a place to start as any. Bubbles as a prelude to a meal can set the tone for what’s to come or can simply be an accompaniment to meal preparation. Or as with the champagne below, I recommend sipping it on its own to enjoy the complex character without distraction.
Bodegas Valentin Bianchi Brut Sparkling NV, Argentina — pale yellow in the glass with generous, small bubbles. Intense aromas of toasted almonds flow into the flavors along with white flowers, oat hay, dusty gravel and citrus zest providing nice acidity. The bubbles are mouth filling. 12% abv. SRP $21.99
This toasty sparkling wine is made using the traditional method, as in Champagne. It is a blend of 62% Chardonnay, 33% Pinot Noir, 5% Viognier. Grapes were sourced from Valentin Bianchi’s estate vineyards located at 2400 feet above sea level in the San Rafael wine region south of Mendoza city.
Enjoy this bright bubbly with appetizers before dinner. It will pair nicely with soft cheeses, deviled eggs, nuts and shrimp appetizers. And it won’t break the bank.
Champagne Delamotte Rosé, NV — medium-salmon color in the glass with abundant, tiny bubbles. Yeasty aromas escaped from the bottle immediately upon opening and waft from the glass along with aromas of mixed berries. Complex, rich flavors of blackberries, raspberries, brioche and hints of cedar are supported by citrusy acidity and mouth-filling bubbles. The flavors last a very long time on the finish. 12% abv. SRP $92.99
This brilliant rosé champagne is made predominantly from Pinot Noir, 80%, with Chardonnay making up the balance. Champagne Delamotte technical notes indicate this champagne is made using the saignée method (color is extracted from the skins of the Pinot Noir grape by maceration on the skins before and during fermentation) rather than blending red wine into white wine, which is the usual method employed in Champagne. The saignée method lends elegance and structure to the wine in addition to its beautiful color.
Pinot Noir is sourced from Grand Cru vineyards located in the southeast slopes of the Montagne de Reims: Bouzy, Ambonnay, and Tours-sur-Marne. The Chardonnay is from Le Mesnil-sur-Oger.
This lively, complex rosé champagne deserves your undivided attention. I recommend sipping it on its own so your palate won’t be distracted by other flavors. It’s a luxury, but well worth it. Skip the roses and enjoy this rosé champagne instead.
2017 Two Angels Sauvignon Blanc, High Valley, Lake County — pale yellow in the glass with complex aromas of tropical fruits. Flavors of guava, pineapple, pear and melon continue into the flavor profile along with citrus zest and dry grass. The finish is medium in length with lingering citrus pith. 13.7% abv. SRP $16.99
The High Valley AVA lies along the northeast shore of Clear Lake in Lake County, California. This “hanging valley” lies at 1700 feet above sea level and vineyards reach upward along the mountains to 2400 feet. Complex soils include gravelly loams, red volcanic cinders and pumice-like gravel and stones.
Pair this friendly Sauvignon Blanc with appetizers, chicken salad or shrimp. A sip of this Sauvignon Blanc will make you long for warm weather and will make easy sipping on a warm afternoon, not that we will have one of those any time soon.
2017 Two Angels Petite Sirah, Red Hills, Lake County — dense ruby in the glass with generous aromas of ripe plums, baking spice, caramel and toasted oak. Rich, ripe flavors of plums, blackberries, blueberries gain complexity with ample notes of cedar and baking spices. Tannins are significant and chewy. The warming finish is long with flavors and tannins. 14.3% abv. SRP $26.99
Red Hills AVA lies in the northern Mayacamas Mountains just across Clear Lake from the High Valley AVA along the lake’s southwest shore. Red Hills is characterized by high elevation volcanic hillsides rich in black obsidian, quartz crystals and volcanic gravel content. And the soil is red.
The Lake County wine region includes seven AVAs around Clear Lake and sounds like an interesting region to explore.
The artwork depicted on labels of the Two Angels wine comes from an image created in 1591 by Jacob DeBacker depicting the hilarity of inebriation and a reminder of the unpleasantness of the morning after. It’s always good to remember that moderation in drinking will keep us smiling the next day as well.
Pair this bold Petite Sirah with braised short ribs or Julia Child’s delectable Beef Bourguignon.
2016 Georges Duboeuf Château de Saint-Amour, Saint-Amour — translucent ruby in the glass bordering on garnet. Generous aromas of ripe raspberries, blackberries and cedar lead into similar flavors along with blueberries and dusty earth. Tannins are delicate in this elegant Gamay and the body is on the light side of medium. 13% abv. $21.99
The Saint-Amour AOC is the northernmost Beaujolais Cru and the smallest. Les Vins Georges Duboeuf has partnered for many years with the Sidaurin family owns the estate. And it certainly has the most romantic name, so it is perfect for Valentine’s Day.
Winemaking does not get in the way of the elegant flavors of Gamay in this wine. The grapes went through semi-carbonic maceration and malolactic fermentation in stainless steel without aging in oak. This wine is elegant and attractively priced. Pair it with chicken or even fish.
So there you have it…a Valentine’s Day wine for every kind of meal you might contemplate and a champagne for no meal at all, because sometimes it’s nice to just enjoy a gorgeous wine on its own.
Have a happy Valentine’s Day, whatever your plans.