Happy Sweetest Day! For the uninitiated…”Sweetest Day, dates back to 1922. It was originally when a man by the name of Herbert Birch Kingston wanted to bring cheer to local orphans, elderly, homebound people and others he felt may feel a little “forgotten” during other holidays“. It’s the third Saturday of October each year. It has evolved into being a holiday associated with romantic gestures such as cards, flowers, chocolate, dinner dates, and of course, romantic wines!
I think of it as sort of Valentine’s Day – without all the pressure than can come with V-Day. Why wait to V-day to celebrate your love?
Whether your go out or stay in, here’s your handy guide to romantic wines!
February is here and romance is in the air; be it contrived and commercial or spontaneous and genuine! One of the things I love most about wine is how memories of wine can take you back to a time, a place, a person, or all of the above.
Here are my suggestions for evocatively romantic wines. There’s something for everyone with suggestions for bubbly, white, red, and dessert wines.
1. Gosset “Grand Reserve” Brut Champagne
Champagne and romance go hand in hand. This is an effusive, complex and exotic Champagne made with the traditional mix of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, from two reserve vintages that contain a bit of Pinot Gris, Petit Meslier, and Arbanne, the latter two almost extinct grapes. It has stone fruit and brioche aromas with a long finish. While it’s great for toasting, it would also be a nice match for lighter fare like a salmon dinner.
2. 2008 Schramsberg Brut Rose
This sparkler from Napa Valley is a comely salmon color with a refined effervescence. It’s well balanced with aromas, and flavors of strawberries and cherries. This is a versatile sparkler that will add to the memories of that special home-cooked meal!
3. Rosa Regale
This is an off-dry slightly sweet sparkler from Brachetto D’Aqui (Piedmont) region of Italy. It appeals to the eye, and the palate with its gorgeous ruby color and aromas of roses and strawberries. It has a softer effervescence than typical sparkling wine. Not only will it shine as an aperitif, it could work throughout a meal including dessert, especially if that dessert is fruit-based like a raspberry tart, or chocolate dipped strawberries. I even enjoyed it with a chocolate truffle tart.
4. 2010 Merry Edwards Russian River Sauvignon Blanc
This is an opulent and stylish Sauvignon Blanc with enticing floral, melon, and stone-fruit aromas. In the mouth it’s rich, and well-balanced with stone-fruit, grapefruit, and citrus flavors. King Crab legs anyone?
5. 2009 Kistler Sonoma Mountain Chardonnay
This is a sublime full-bodied, but balanced Chardonnay that offers rich buttery-toasty brioche, stone fruit and subtle white flower aromas with peach and nectarine flavors, and a lingering finish.
6. Chateau Ste. Michelle Eroica
This is an alluring Riesling named for Beethoven’s Third Symphony. The wine is a collaboration between two of the world’s great Riesling producers, the Dr. Loosen estate from the Old World (Germany), and Chateau Ste Michelle of Washington State, from the New World. Sommeliers love this wine, and you will too, especially when paired with spicy fare.
7. 2007 O’Brien Estate Seduction
This Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot exudes romance. It’s complex, and refined, yet powerful with aromas redolent of ripe dark fruits like plums and black cherries along with spices and interesting mocha notes.
8. 2009 Walter Hansel “South Slope Vineyard” Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir as has been described as “the most romantic of wines, with so voluptuous a perfume, so sweet an edge, and so powerful a punch that, like falling in love, they make the blood run hot and the soul wax embarrassingly poetic.” Sounds like romance to me!
This is a voluptuous intense Pinot with aromatic black cherry, raspberry, and rose petal aromas. On the palate it’s creamy and well-balanced with juicy dark black cherry and raspberry flavors and a long finish.
9. 2009 Turley Mead Ranch Zinfandel
This is a cool climate Zinfandel produced with grapes from a high elevation site on Atlas Peak in Napa Valley. It’s hedonistically creamy with ripe plum, and blackberry flavors, and a lingering finish. Zinfandels this good are irresistible — give in to your desire!
10. 2001 Hétszölö Tokaji Aszu 6 Puttonyos
Tokaji is a legendary sweet wine produced in Hungary. How’s this for romance trivia? It’s believed that it was Tokaji that Hitler, and his bride Eva Braun consumed to celebrate their marriage in the bunker shortly before their deaths.
This is a decadent dessert wine. It’s a golden yellow color with vivid aromas of apricot and orange peel. On the palate, it’s viscous, and balanced with a harmonious streak of acidity, with intense apricot and orange flavors, a hint of minerality, and a long finish. Pair with caramelized desserts.
11. Rosenblum Cellars Desiree
This is a luscious blend of Zinfandel, Touriga Nacional, and Syrah fortified with Brandy, and infused with a bit of chocolate. It comes in a 375ml bottle and weighs in at 18% alcohol. The bottle has a lascivious red label, and of course, the name suggests desire. You’ll be enticed by the aromatic dark plum, and chocolate aromas, that flood your palate with sweet dark fruits and chocolate. Pair with that box of truffles, or drink by itself — if you dare.
12. Graham’s 20 Year Old Tawny Port
Port is always a sweet treat. This one is a dark orange color with a red hue and mildly nutty, caramel, roast coffee aromas that cut to cherry, and toffee flavors. Pair with milk chocolate, crème brulee, or blue cheese. Retails for around $50.
Looking to make it extra special? Get a bottle of Port from the vintage that marks an anniversary, birthday, or other special occasion! Look for top producers like Dow, Fonseca, Warre, Taylor and Graham’s.
I leave you with this French proverb… “In water one sees one’s own face; but in wine one beholds the heart of another.” Cheers and happy romancing!
This article was previously featured on 12 Most and is republished, by the author Martin Redmond