The Wine Guy
Just a little background…our day of love actually came about when the Emperor Claudius executed two Christian men with the name Valentinus during the third century on or around February 14th and the early Church decided to honor them. Also, as far as historians can tell, neither of them was related to the Hallmark family.
If you intend to pledge your love, a great way to show it is with bubbles-sparkling wine or Champagne, to be exact; here are a few worth considering….
Piper Heidsieck Brut, NV, Aye, Champagne, France, ($37.99), is one of the oldest labels from the region and relatively small by French standards; however, the great balance and acidity of this wine consistently makes it a real value. It’s fantastic with shellfish, lighter cheeses and chocolate-dipped strawberries.
If you want to move it up a few notches, try a Vintage Champagne; most years are non-vintage years, designated by the “NV” on most labels. Every once in a while, however, a “Vintage Year” is declared when all the elements for making exceptional wine are at hand. A great example of this at a relative value, is Veuve Clicquot Brut Rose, Vintage 2008, Champagne, France, ($84.99).The Wine Spectator-France describes it as, “Rich and smokey on first impression, yet harmonious and elegant overall, with sleek acidity and a minerally underpinning deftly married to flavors of strawberry pate de fruit, toast, mandarin orange peel and crystallized honey.” This is a great aperitif before any meal and would go really well with anything diamond, if you’re so inclined.
If a domestic label is more to your (and your budget’s) liking, you should consider Roederer estate Multi Vintage Brut, Mendocino County, California, ($25.99), a blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir. It’s aged for two years on lees and that gives it a great acidity, coupled with delicious notes of green apples and lemon zest. Have this one with some oysters on the half shell or scallops wrapped in bacon and you won’t be sorry.
J Cuvee 20, Russian River Valley, Napa, California, ($31.99), is ripe, refreshing and buttery, made from 54% Chardonnay, 43% Pinot Noir and 3% Pinot Meunier, all of which combine to give delicious flavors of light green apple, melon and caramel, with a long finish. Have this one before or after a meal or immediately after a proposal,(hopefully, accepted!).
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