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Wine for your Valentine

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Excepting New Year’s Eve, no day of the year is as hotly disputed as Valentine’s Day.

Lovers love it, especially those budding new couples that can’t seem to go a minute without kissing or cuddling. It’s just one more reason to celebrate your love.

For those in longer-term relationships, Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to bring some sass back into the relationship.

Perhaps you’re looking to finally seduce that special someone you’ve had your eye on for a while now, seal the deal, and guarantee yourself a bouquet of roses next year.

Or maybe you’re just looking to get lucky after that fourth cherry chocolate martini.

And then there’s the single crowd, for whom every pink teddy bear and heart-shaped box of pralines brings that buried resentment and loneliness bubbling to the surface. That is not to say that there aren’t masses of well-adjusted happy singles out there, but let’s be honest. If you’re reading this, there’s a chance you wish you had a reason to buy a Mylar balloon and a lacy pink thong.  At least one day out of the year.  Mylar isn’t really for everyday anyway.

Rosy-cheeked newbie lovebirds don’t need anything to fuel their fire and should probably stay far from the bottle if they plan to be out in public for V-Day.  If you and your brand new honey can’t stand to forego the fruit of the vine, stick to something light and low-alcohol like a cool and complex halbtrocken  (half-dry) Riesling like 2007 Schloss Schönborn Riesling Halbtrocken. It will pair lusciously with your six-course aphrodisiac tasting menu and goes especially well with white creamy cheeses. If you simply must have something red, have a Beaujolais or otherwise lightweight red.  I recommend 2009 Potel-Aviron “Côte de Brouilly” Cru Beaujolais.

Looking to rekindle the fire? Champagne always gets the heart pounding. Ruinart, Blanc de Blancs NV comes from a historic maison and has nuances of candied citrus and ginger.  Then again a lovely gesture might be to open up a complex red from an important vintage year from your past.  1999, 2001, and 2003 were fantastic years for the big Italian studs – Barolo and Brunello.  Haven’t been together that long? 2005 was excellent all over Piedmonte, but grab a Barbara rather than a Barolo. Nebbiolo needs some time to mellow out. Oddero is a great place to start your Barolo experiment. The 1999 is just beginning to bloom.

Wine selection is essential to the art of seduction. If you’re aiming to impress a lady out and about, choose a restaurant with a small food menu and an extensive wine list. The fatter the better. This means there’s a better chance the food is fresh and prepared on the spot and you’ve got a whole range of wines from which to choose.  Curiosity trumps pretension every time, so approach the list with an eye for something obscure and interesting.  Shy away from name-dropping and big-name labels in favor of something you once tried that was so fascinating/intriguing/special you couldn’t wait to share it with someone equally fascinating/intriguing/special.  Go for red or white blends, or varietals outside the comfort zone of Cabernet, Merlot, and Shiraz.  Schioppettino and Fumin are two Italian reds I’ve been exploring lately. Spain and Portugal are also starting to feature more indigenous varietals like Mencía and Touriga Nacional.

For all the single ladies I cannot condone drinking alone on Valentine’s Day, so gather a couple friends and open up some cheap Prosecco. Zardetto is a great bang for your buck. Enjoy it with peanuts and potato chips. The sweet and salty combo is a delectable aperitif. Kick it up a notch and toast to yourselves with real Champagne. Then make a list of what you’re looking for and what you’d like to improve.

Single guys sharing wine together? Sure, it’s possible, but I’m not sure my idea of a masculine wine (swarthy, leathery Sagrantino di Montefalco or swarthy Languedoc-Roussillon red blends) would have the same effect.

Annie Shapero is the Founder/CEO of DiVino wine events planning and wine consulting, currently operating in New York City.
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