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Contrast To Last: Wine Suggestions For Your Next Date

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Humanity was debating the effect of similarity versus diversity on the success of romantic relationships well before Paula Abdul danced with MC Skat Cat and topped the charts with her hit “Opposites Attract” back in 1990.

Complex Internet algorithms attempt to pair us up based on shared interests and then attempt to narrow the pool according to our specifications. However, until computer engineers manage to perceive and calculate chemistry, much of the matching will still be up to fate.

That doesn’t mean I’ve lost faith in online dating. To the contrary!  Instead, I propose you take a different approach. For ten prospective profiles that make you shake your head, try nodding instead.  Next time you’re on a date, do something you never thought you’d like. Not a sports fan? Let him take you to a game. I couldn’t list a single player on the roster, but the last time a guy took me to a Yankees game, we dated for three months. And FYI…he had a shaved head (I like hair), and brown eyes (I’m a steadfast fan of light eyes). Apparently I needed to shake up my preferences.

The best part of finding someone different is the dynamic duo you create together. You’ll open each others’ eyes, teach each other something new, and, best of all, keep each other guessing. And as anyone in a long-term relationship will tell you, one of the greatest risks to longevity is stagnation and routine.

I’m always writing about perfect pairings, and my approach—contrasting characteristics to exalt the qualities of both food and wine—is nothing new. This month, check out a different kind of pairing…the botanical kind! These grape varietals were crossed in a lab, precisely because they were different. The resulting grapes produce fantastic wines that have managed to last the test of time.

Kosher label Segal’s Dovev Single Vineyard series, Argaman 2006, features the closest thing to an Israeli indigenous varietal. A cross between the Spanish grape Carignan and the Portuguese Souzao, Argaman was created by Professor Roy Spiegel at the Volcani Institute of Agriculture for use as a blending grape. It’s bold purple color, ripe berry aromas, sprightly tannins (as satisfying as the tang you get with a glass of Concord grape juice), and lingering red apple aftertaste are certainly full of character. This Argaman comes from a single vineyard located at 700 meters above sea level, and is the pride of the Segal Winery.

South Africa’s pride, also known as Pinotage, is a red wine grape bred in the mid-1920s as a cross between Pinot noir and Cinsaut (or “Hermitage” as it was referred to in South Africa at that time) by Abraham Izak Perold, a professor of Viticulture at Stellenbosch University. It produces deep rustic and earthy red wines with the occasional tropical fruit notes. Try Kanonkop Pinotage, Stellenbosch 2009 for a pure expression of the grape. You could also try The William, Graham Beck 2007, a Bordeaux-style blend with Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot.

If you’re looking for something lighter and whiter, try a Müller-Thurgau. It was created in 1882 by Hermann Müller, who hailed from the Swiss Canton of Thurgau. A cross between Riesling and Madeleine Royale, it can be found in wines from Germany, Austria, Northern Italy, Hungary, England, Australia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, New Zealand and United States.  The goal was to create a Riesling that ripened earlier, and while the grape isn’t nearly as aromatic, it still produces delightfully complex wines that can be vinified sweet or dry. Try Italian Müller-Thurgau, Lageder 2010 from the Trentino-Alto Adige region for a prime example of how fun and refreshing this wine can be.

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