Thursday, February 12, 2009

Valentine's Wines from the Heart

By Julianna Hayes
There’s little dispute that among the people I know wine plays a supporting role when it comes to romance and seduction.

In fact, I’m willing to bet a good number of them hooked up after a glass or four of wine. It sets the mood and lowers inhibitions in a way other romantic task masters – such as roses, candlelight and chocolate – never could.

Even the language of wine is sensual with words like body and legs, soft and silky, racy and spicy, robust and voluptuous often peppering in its descriptions.

Thus it stands to reason that wine would be a key component when it comes to wooing a significant other or potential one on Valentine’s Day.

By virtue of its colour, people are typically drawn to red wine. Indeed that hue is Valentine’s Day’s signature shade. In the weeks leading up February 14th, one can’t walk into a shopping mall without being bombarded visually by red heart-shaped boxes, ribbons and bows.

Sales (and prices) of red roses go through the roof – in fact, they make up more than 50 per cent of floral purchases by star-struck lovers. I suspect that percentage would be higher if the supply of healthy, full crimson blooms was plentiful. But last-minute courters are typically greeted by sickly, spent petals at $100 a dozen.

Statistics bear out that red wine – of which there is an endless supply – is also preferred by more than half of V-Day imbibers. And why not? Its luscious aromas and warm, rich flavours and mouth-filling texture are practically x-rated. Plus it’s likely to be a good match with those rich, dark chocolates you also purchased or received. But should you and your honey share a whole bottle of Cabernet, you’ll both be sporting ghastly purple teeth and breath to match, which might bring the whole seduction to a screeching halt.

My advice? Keep it light. That doesn’t mean you have to forgo red entirely, but consider brighter, fresher options with less tannin to avoid the “Dracula Effect.”

Depending on who you’re courting, and the mood you want to invoke, here are some options for romancing with wine this Valentine’s.

If your date is curvy, vibrant, sensual with a spicy personality:

Inniskillin 2007 Discovery Series Marsanne Roussanne $17
Apple sauce and baked pear, orange marmalade, butter, cardamom, baking spice, mineral. Slightly sweet palate of pear, apple sauce, spice and some nice acidity on the finish. 86/100

Quinta Ferreira 2007 Viognier $20
Butterscotch candy, baked apple, nutmeg, candied lemon peel, ginger, coconut. Fleshy palate with some buttery oak, lemon rind, ginger, apple. 86/100

Herder 2007 Chardonnay $20
Barlett pear, apple, bees wax, pineapple, orange peel, luscious with a touch of butter, candied tropical fruit and citrus peel. 87/100

Oliver Twist 2007 Chardonnay $20
Apple skin, peaches, cream, caramel, butter, tropical fruit. Slight sweet entry, mouthcoating balanced by nice acidity. 88/100

Summerhill 2007 Ehrenfelser $20
Mango, spice, honeyed citrus, peaches and cream aromas. On the palate the texture is luscious and tropical accented by pink grapefruit and spice. 89/100

For classy, reserved, well-read, sophisticated lovers

Nk’Mip 2007 Pinot Noir $18
Bright red fruits, some toast, leafy aromas, coffee bean, herbal, fruit leather. Quite silky on the palate with some bright red fruit and a touch of lifted citrus. Finishing clean. 85/100

Mission Hill 2007 Reserve Pinot Gris $22
Nectarine, apricot, floral notes with citrus peel and granny smith apple, plus a hint of spice. Fresh and lively on the palate with lemon oil, bright tree flavours and clean acidity on the finish. 88/100

Sumac Ridge 2001 Pinnacle Sparkling $35
Red berries, peaches, mineral, citrus zest, floral, yeast and lemon in the nose. Lovely effervescence and a nice aged quality plus plenty of citrus, tree fruit and yeasty flavours. 90/100

For fresh-faced, cheeky and outdoorsy dates who have a rebellious spirit

Dunham and Froese 2007 Rose $17
Red berries, earthy, mossy, savoury notes, citrus zest, spice. Lots of racy acidity on the palate with sour cherries, wild strawberries, snappy tart apple, spice. 88/100

Domaine de Chaberton 2007 Canoe North Bluff Pink $14
Bright sour cherries, cranberry, sweet strawberry and lifted citrus character. Zesty red berry flavours, nice acidity, clean finish. 85/100

For dark and brooding types for whom only the richest, heaviest reds will do:

Jackson Triggs 2006 Grand Reserve Shiraz $26
Chocolate, savoury notes, soya sauce, blueberry, black cherry, cassis, peppercorn, leather. Earthy, extracted dark fruit flavours, smoky notes, bittersweet chocolate, soya, pepper and heat on the finish. 91/100

CedarCreek 2006 Platinum Reserve Merlot $40
Plum, blackcherry, blueberry, coffee bean, cedar, spice, mocha, dark vanilla and marmalade. Luscious, mouthfilling and rich on the palate, with lifted acidity and a long finish. 92/100

For sweet-natured, perpetually happy types:

Mission Hill 2005 Late Harvest Riesling $30
Baked apple, spice, honey, apricots, lemon oil, butterscotch. Bright, luscious flavours balanced by good acidity. A dessert wine that’s not so cloying. 88/100

Tinhorn Creek 2007 Kerner Ice Wine $25
Apricots, marmalade, butterscotch, candied citrus peel, and some tropical fruit aromas. Luscious but not overly sticky on the palate. Finger-licking good. 89/100

No comments: