Hoping to win your Valentine over with a stellar wine? Take the advice from a vintage woman who loves her wines. I used the What Wine Would Bonnie Drink (WWWBL) approach to selecting these fabulous Valentine wine gift choices for your sweetie, no matter what point your relationship might be.
Steady and true
For the woman who completes you in that comfortable, steady manner, you can’t go wrong with a delightful French Côtes du Rhône. Here are two stellar choices in this category.
The 2008 Côtes du Rhône from well-known French wine importer, Kermit Lynch (who has rarely let me down) is a perfect pick. This wine is part Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, and Mouvedre, well-blended to bring out the best characteristics of each grape. Its nose reminds me of freshly baked bread, combined with hints of floral and spice. On the mouth, the wine is layered and complex, with soft tannins, dark cherry, blackberry, and a light touch of spice.
Open this 2007 Vidal-Fleury Côtes du Rhône, and you’re met with a nose of strawberry, chocolate, prune, cherry, with notes of violet. On the palate, you’ll be treated with sturdy red fruit and hints of pepper, all merging in a spicy lingering finish.
While Côtes du Rhônes pair well with red and white meats, pizza, barbecue, pasta and cheese, they’re also the remarkable accompaniment to Thai or Indian food.
Courting and exploring
Picture the perfect Lady & the Tramp-like Valentine date: You and your sweetie hovering over that bowl of spaghetti; a bottle of Carmen Carmenère 2007 from Rapel Valley, Chile, standing by. Nothing says “I love you” like this wine’s nose of chocolate and roses, mingled with dark fruits. Layers of raspberry, dark chocolate, pepper, plum, roasted coffee, spice, and smoke tantalize the palate into a long finish.
The label itself is all about love. On the front: Chile’s oldest wine house is inspired by the legacy of one man’s love for Carmen, his wife. Through the enduring passion of winemaking, every wine is transformed into an unforgettable experience. Hint: Bring along a magnifying glass to illuminate that tender thought, and just watch her heart smile. The back of the bottle heralds: “You can’t talk about passion. You have to taste it.”
This infusion artfully blends 85% Carmenère and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon into a flavorful, textured Bordeaux-style wine. I love it for its intense aromas of intermingled flavors. Linger with its peppery finish, and one’s palate cries out for more. This is personal favorites, due to its versatility with foods, or for casual sipping with strong cheeses.
Let’s just make this official
Spice up Valentine’s night and boldly state your intentions with an impressive bottle of R-Wines The Immortal Zin. This wonderfully soft, smooth, and fresh wine is delightful on so many levels. It’s rich with the ripe fruit that makes Zinfandel so memorable; yet it’s not overpowering like so many other Zins. Your nose will be greeted with aromas of cherry, minerals, and light spice. Those cherries then layer with strawberry, cocoa, smooth tannins, and light toast on the palate, all leading to a lengthy finish.
The classy bottle label is a most tantalizing Valentine expression. There’s nothing innocent about the wine-glass masquerading as a halo, or its outright question printed right on the back of the label: “Have you committed The Immortal Zin yet?”
I know I’ve been talking about Valentine’s Day here, but The Immortal Zin is likewise the popular Super Bowl Party pick—it goes well with finger foods, pastas, pizza, hot wings, ribs, and other halftime faire. And if that quarterback tanks, it’s what everybody drinks (just kidding; personally, I’d hide it in the pantry for my own enjoyment).
Each of the wines featured here was purchased from one of three Tucson-owned and operated wine shops for less than $11 per bottle. Uncorking one of these wines as a prelude to a wonderful Valentine celebration will allow just enough cash to cover those reservations at your favorite locally owned restaurant or venue. Show Tucson the love too.
What wine do you gift her if you’ve just started dating? I’d suggest a bottle of 2009 Cupcake Vineyards Red Velvet. You just can’t go wrong with the sheer romanticm of a wine named for a woman’s favorite dessert.
This red wine is a structured blend of 47% Zinfandel, 29% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Petite Sirah. The delightful aroma, the depth of flavor, and the long creamy finish is a simple delight. The subtle flavors of chocolate and mocha notes, red and blackberry fruits, and a hint of coconut tantalize the senses. This one goes beautifully with cupcakes, any flavor; trust me.
Valentine & wine in the vineyards
Milton Craig, Charron Vineyards vintner, invites you to a very special Valentine chocolate pairing with their four wines Monday, February 14, from 10:00am till 6:00pm. Pima County’s only tasting room is located just off I-10 on scenic Highway 83 between Vail and Sonoita, less than 30 minutes from downtown Tucson. Consider a sunset tasting on the tasting room deck, with spectacular views of the Santa Rita Mountains.
The good news is that there’s still plenty of time before Valentine’s Day to select that perfect wine.
And go Steelers! (There, I said it!)