Survival alert to male readers: Sunday is Valentine’s Day.
Being a sometimes curmudgeon, I have long contended this “special day” was artificially concocted by florists, greeting card companies, and chocolatiers to provide income between Christmas and spring weddings. That may be true, but V-day is what it is, and so refresher course on how to love wine on the official day of love.
The cliché play is roses and rosés. Not original, but the pairing works. Rosé arose as serious and popular wine in recent years. Extremely versatile, especially in the dry iterations that now dominate the category. Roses are pretty and smell good. Rosés are pretty and smell good, too.
If candy is dandy, the wine must be as sweet or sweeter than the chocolate or both will taste sour. Dark chocolate is best pairing with wine. Port wine has a place in the chocolate play and has the bonus of potentially being unexpected.
Sparkling is another go-to sweet spot for a sweetheart. Bubbly pairs with almost anything, and as Madame de Pompadour famously said “Champagne is the only drink that leaves a woman still beautiful after drinking it.” Hard to beat that, especially when it is a rosé.
• Commanderie de Peyrassol Côtes de Provence Rosé #Lou 2018: Subtle, one-dimensional delivery of classic Provence grapes, which is its charm. $15-16 Link to my review
• M•A•N Family Wines MAN Vintners Sparkling Chenin Blanc Brut NV: Exciting presentation of South Africa’s signature white grape in sparkling form. $16 Link to my review
• Cockburn’s No. 1 Special Reserve Porto NV: Delicious, approachable dessert wine made by inventor of the Special Reserve category. $18-20 Link to my review
• Alma Negra Brut Nature Rosé Sparkling Wine, Mendoza NV: Malbec-pinot noir blend is non-standard and works nicely. Stylish, mysterious bottle; lovely color. $19-22 Link to my review
• Tenuta di Fessina Erse Etna Rosato 2018: Works nicely as aperitif or just fun sipping with friends and erudite conversation. It delivers finesse—femininity—rather than power. $23-25 Link to my review
• Sosie Wine Bare Necessity Rosé, Sonoma 2018: Refreshing, delightfully fun sparkling; lovely color; excellent Valentine’s Day pour. $30 Link to my review
• Frank Family Vineyards Brut Rosé Carneros 2015: Bright, fresh, with some boldness. Lovely color makes for excellent aperitif choice. $53-60 Link to my review
• Bruno Paillard Rosé Première Cuvée NV: Pure, bright, excellent acidity, refreshing tang. Rich, verges on decadent. $58-65 Link to my review
• Dow’s 20 Year Tawny Port: Textbook Dow tawny port. Gently sweet with excellent balancing acidity. $60-67 Link to my review
Last round: Who you are drinking the wine with is the most important wine pairing.