joe kolafa | 4 wines for valentine's | feb. 2019
Romance and wine share a rich, intertwined history. For those that enjoy the two, that connection intuitively makes as much sense today as it has for thousands of years. The notion of wine being tied to passion, revelry and even erotic love dates, at least, to ancient Greece and Rome where grape clusters were gifted to newlyweds as a symbol of fertility and the gods Dionysus and Bacchus were thought to free their followers from self-consciousness and fear with wine. Culture and society have changed a great deal since then, but wine has continued to weave its way through the stories of how we find, share and commemorate love. Our taste in wine can be as varied as our taste in love, but both tend to reveal that what we take pleasure in often reflects something true about our nature and temperament. Whether you seek something bold, complex and strong or something light, lively and fun this Valentine's Day, the following should help (at least in terms of selecting a wine)!
Golden Bubbles Moscato
While chocolate and sweets are popular gifts for valentines, an online research firm found 59 percent of women would prefer their sweethearts gift them wine. With Golden Bubbles, you can skip the candy (at least until it's half-priced the next day!) and still enjoy something flirtingly sweet. Not unlike new love, what sets this wine apart from other Moscato is its freshness. While most Italian Moscatos are bottled and shipped to the US once per year, Golden Bubbles is bottled several times ensuring freshness of flavor, fizz and body. It's an incredible value and very refreshing with lively flavors of nectarine, melon and white peach.
Château Sainte Eulalie “Plaisir d'Eulalie”
When it comes to wine and pleasure, the French would have you believe they do both exceptionally well. Perhaps it makes sense then that they'd have a term to specifically describe a “pleasure wine.” A “vin de plaisir” is precisely that though — a style meant to be uncomplicated, fruity and easy-going. Château Sainte Eulalie is a winery in southern France's Minervois region and their “Plaisir d'Eulalie” is made from a traditional blend of Grenache, Carignan and Syrah. If you're a fan of red blends, especially those from the Rhône Valley, you'll find this wine to be well-balanced, food-friendly and above all pleasurable.
Nick Goldschmidt Fidelity Red Blend
Alexander Valley, Sonoma, California
When blended together, different grape varietals often create a wine greater than the sum of its parts. While many types of blends exist, winemakers around the world have long acknowledged the unique partnership between Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Cabernet Sauvignon provides structure to the blend in terms of tannin and acidy while emphasizing dark fruit flavors. Merlot, on the other hand, is generally considered a “juicier” varietal due to its larger grapes with thinner skins. The resulting wine is softer and more voluptuous. Winemaker Nick Goldschmidt was born and raised in New Zealand, but his passion for winemaking has taken him around the world. He now makes wine in seven countries but believes that Sonoma's Alexander Valley vineyards produce some of the most dynamic reds in the world, especially for Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. In this blend, he showcases just how well the two often complement each other. It's fuller-bodied with supple tannins and delivers flavors of black cherry and raspberry.
Killibinbin Seduction Cabernet Sauvignon
The Langhorne Creek region of South Australia has long produced bold, rustic wines and Killibinbin's Cabernet Sauvignon certainly falls into that camp. As the film noir-inspired label would suggest, this wine is seductive in a way that is both subtle and rather full-on. Crimson in color, the fruit flavors are definitely dark with hints of tobacco and eucalyptus. A 90-point “Smart Buy” by “Wine Spectator,” only 1,000 cases have been imported to the U.S.