Valentine’s Day is a smorgasbord of schmaltz, guilt trip, flowers, chocolate, kitschy cards, and romance. We’ve got wine for that.
All-in-one strategy: roses, wine-friendly chocolates, heart-shaped card, sparkling rosé wine.
The roses and rosé play may earn a chuckle, maybe more (hope springs eternal). Sparkling pairs with chocolate, especially darker chocolates with higher percentages of cocoa. Match sparkling sweetness to chocolate sweetness—go with extra dry, sec, or demi-sec. Doux is sweetest, maybe too cloying for most tastes, not to mention hard to find.
Bad news for you bargain basement blokes: this is an inappropriate time to pop plastic corks from bottom-shelf buys. Go with true Champagne or quality sparkling. Spend around $20, more likely much more, to pour something meaningful. Surely she is worth that once a year.
You can avoid budget-busting bubbly by creating a sparkling cocktail called a “Kir.” Generally, Kirs are five-to-nine parts sparkling wine and one part liqueur. The type of liqueur determines the name; the liqueur will cost $20-plus, but will last a long time and make a lot of Kirs.
• Kir Royale: Champagne, crème de cassis (blackcurrent liqueur).
• Kir Pétillant: sparkling wine, crème de cassis.
• Kir Impérial: Champagne, raspberry liqueur (Chambord).
• Kir Pêche: Champagne, peach liqueur.
You can substitute Spanish cava, Italian prosecco/spumante, or other sparklings, but announcing the concoction with a French flourish enhances the romantic effect. You make the call depending on your romantic ambitions. And hers.
By the way, guys, tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Just so you know.
• Robert Mondavi Private Selection Coastal Crush Red 2011. Very ripe strawberry, raspberry; chocolate; easy drinking Valentine value if bubbles aren’t your thing; pair with chocolate caramels. $11
• Gruet Rosé. Pleasing New Mexico sparkling; strawberry, raspberry, cherry; fun-loving value. $16
• Schramsberg Brut Rosé. Wonderful tiny bubbles; lemon custard, apple, tangerine. $30
Moet & Chandon Rosé Imperial. Strawberries, plum, full body, sharp acidity. $64
Last round: Florists and greeting card makers invented Valentine’s Day because love isn’t quite complicated enough as it is.