Here’s How To Make Sure You Don’t Mess Up Your Valentine
There are a few times in a man’s life when choosing the right wine really matters. And right at the top of that relatively short list is a Valentine’s day. Go too modest, and your sweetie will think you don’t care as much as you once did. Go too big and obvious, and she may start to wonder what you’re compensating for (that great-looking new grad the firm recently hired?).
Beyond all else, and no matter how much you spend, you just don’t want to be boring. Which is why your anniversary is a great chance to let your wine selection demonstrate that (a) you’re a guy who really knows his wine, and (b) you still hold your honey in high esteem.
These five wines, which run the price and style gamut, will help you accomplish both.
Gaia Estate “Thalassitis” 2009, Santorini, Greece
Aromas: Grapefruit, nuts, minerals
A very subdued, subtle nose shows glints of tarragon, pea and minerals, and leads to a mouth-filling palate of grapefruit pith, walnut and a chalk-like minerality. Excellent acidity and structure. Oysters with a black-peppercorn mignonette would be spectacular with this. And who doesn’t want to drink a valentine’s wine from one of the greatest honeymoon spots in the world?
Champagne Perrier-Jouët “Fleur de Champagne” Brut Rosé 2002, France
Aromas: Wheat toast, strawberry jam
Rosé champagne is one of the classics of the special-occasional arsenal. Just popping the cork from a bottle sends the message that you’re not messing around with the gravity and festivity of the occasion. And this one, from esteemed house Perrier-Jouët, more than delivers on its higher price tag. It sings with bright, rich strawberry fruit that’s anchored by a bass note of toasted whole-wheat bread. And the addition of Pinot Noir to the bubbly lends it all a structure that will allow it to pair with anything you serve for the big occasion, from lobster to lamb.
Quinta de Roriz “Prazo de Roriz” 2008, Douro, Portugal
Aromas: Cherries, spices
Lots of ripe, rich berry fruit, cherries, mulling spices, and a vague whiff of mineral lead to a dusty-tannin-structured palate of cherry liqueur, bonfire and spice. With a steak dinner, it’s perfect, especially if the meat is grilled. And enjoyed beside a fireplace. On a bearskin rug, if possible.
Northstar Merlot 2007, Walla Walla Valley, Washington
Aromas: Dark cherry, chocolate, tobacco
Forget everything you’ve ever heard about Merlot: that it’s boring, that serious wine drinkers don’t order it. Then open up this beauty from one of the top producers in Washington state. It’ll be love at first sip.
It bursts with dark cherry and chocolate, with aromatic spices, with tobacco. If this doesn’t help you work your anniversary swerve, you’re probably beyond help.
Taylor-Fladgate 20-Year-Old Tawny Port, Portugal
Aromas: Orange peel, toffee, honey-coated almonds
Aromatically, this is the equivalent of a Barry White song or a silk bedsheet or flattering lighting. It’s the kind of thing that will get your sweetie in the mood for all kinds of PG-13 shenanigans. It smells of dried fruits, caramel, licorice, and even a touch of flowers, and tastes like apricots kissed with a bit of smoke, toffee, burnt orange peel, honey-coated almonds, and — let’s be honest here — love. It’s seriously sexy stuff.