Whether you’ve been with your significant other a short time or a long time or whether your budget is big or small, Valentine’s Day is one of those occasions where it’s important for the guy to bring the right wine. The wine experts at Jacques Scott spoke about some good choices over lunch at Cracked Conch.
Other than an anniversary, Valentine’s Day is undoubtedly the most romantic of all annual holidays. A little wine is a good romantic element to bring into any Valentine’s Day dinner, whether it’s in a nice restaurant or at home by candle light.
However, if you’re a guy who has taken a bottle of Boone’s Farm Fuzzy Navel to the table, chances are the only romance you’ll get on Valentine’s Day is in the hallucinations that are apt to follow. It is therefore a smart idea to know some good wines that will not only keep you in good shape for the evening ahead, but that will also go with some of the foods you’re likely to eat on Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day can be expensive. There are flowers. There’s chocolate. There’s perhaps jewellery, especially in the early years of a relationship.
Luckily, your wine choice doesn’t have to be expensive.
One good affordable Valentine’s Day wine is Château de L’Oiselinière L’Oiseau D’Or Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie (Retail Price: $17.99). Everyone knows French is the most romantic of languages and you have to admit, there’s a lot of French going on in the name of this wine. On the bottle, it’s impressive to look at with French diacritical accent marks all over the place and there’s even an adorable little yellow canary pictured on the label.
But this wine isn’t only about its impressive looks. This crisp and slightly effervescent wine is made for Cayman’s climate and Cayman’s cuisine, especially seafood.
In simpler terms, this wine is Muscadet from the Loire Valley in France made from a grape called Melon de Bourgogne. It has flavours and aromas of summer fruits like apricots has excellent acidity, giving it a tart, mouth watering finish.
Jacques Scott wine professional Sarah Howard explained why Muscadet has a special place on the Valentine’s Day table.
“Muscadet and oysters are one of the iconic pairings and oysters on Valentine’s Day gets people... excited,” she said, perhaps referring to the aphrodisiacal reputation of the food.
What’s even better is that Château de L’Oiselinière Muscadet is only 12 per cent alcohol - enough to get everyone in the mood for romance, but not so much as to hinder performance.
I know what you’re thinking: What’s so special about Chardonnay, the most common of all white wine grapes, in terms of romance on Valentine’s Day?
The answer is the maker - Gaja. Pretty much any of the wines produced by this Piedmont wine maker are brilliant, and the Rossj-Bass ($68.95) blend of Chardonnay with a touch of Sauvignon Blanc is no different.
“If you want a wine to impress a woman, giddy up with this wine,” said Howard. “It’s floral and aromatic and not you’re typical Chardonnay. It’s light on its toes; it’s pretty.”
Over lunch at the Cracked Conch this wine was tasted with a shrimp ravioli and the pairing was excellent.
Jacques Scott Wine Marketing Manager Lee Royle loved the wine.
“I think it’s well balanced.”
Cracked Conch Manager Matthew Moore was even more to the point.
“This is awesome.”
With comments like that, just think what she will say when you whip out the Gaja Rossj-Bass at the candle light dinner you’ve painstakingly prepared or had Fine Dine-In deliver.
Yes, it’s a bit more expensive than the Muscadet, but with the beautiful floral and honey aromas coming from this wine, it makes buying flowers superfluous. And in any case, she’s worth it, right?
In the Cayman Islands, a special day isn’t needed for bubbles - whether they be sparkling wine or Champagne. However, on special days like Valentine’s Day, bubbles can go a long way in making your romantic evening a success. In the spirit of the colours of Valentine’s Day, it’s a great touch to make your choice of bubbles pink.
Depending on your budget, you have lots of choices. Those who blew their Valentine’s Day budget on expensive Italian lingerie and fur-lined handcuffs could opt for Lunetta Rosé ($24.99).
Lunetta is known for being one of the top selling Prosecco’s, but by law in Italy now, Prosecco can only be made with the Glera grape. Lunetta Rosé is a sparkling wine made mostly from Chardonnay but with some indigenous red grape varietals from the area like Teroldego, Lagrein and Pinot Noir.
This wine is an easy-drinking ‘fun’ wine with aromas of red berries and a fresh and fruity taste. Take this wine along while watching the sunset and holding hands on the beach, or have it with appetizers. With only 11.5 per cent alcohol, Lunetta Rosé could be the perfect foreplay for that big bottle of wine to come, or it can carry you through a meal featuring shellfish or other seafood.
Those with a little extra cash can make a grand impression by popping the cork off a bottle of Gosset Grand Rosé ($95.99) an elegant Champagne that is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and a small percentage of red wine from Ambonnay and Bouzy grapes. It has intense aromas of berries and spice and is luscious and silky in the mouth.
This is the type of prestigious Champagne that is brought out for special occasions in a relationship like a couple’s first Valentine’s Day, when one is proposing, on a couple’s wedding night or even after a divorce.
“It’s really intriguing and compelling,” Howard said, noting that unlike other bubbles that are often fun and light, this Champagne speaks to love and commitment. “The aromatics really draw you in.”
At the dinner table, Gosset Grand Rosé has the complexity to stand up to many foods ranging from fish to poultry to pork and veal.
There’s a saying that the best luck is the luck you make yourself and when you open a bottle of Gosset Grand Rosé at Valentine’s Day, someone is going to get lucky.
If you don’t buy flowers for your woman on Valentine’s Day, and even if you do, it’s best to buy her some chocolate. Flowers are pretty and rose petals can sometime be erotic, but chocolate does something to women that can’t be replicated in any other way.
Chances are that at a Valentine’s Day dinner, chocolate will be incorporated in some way. Howard said it’s important to have the right wine to go with chocolate.
“People think that it’s easy to pair chocolate with red wine, but it’s actually quite difficult,” she said.
Another problem is that chocolate usually comes at the end of a meal, probably after another wine. Port can be a good choice under normal circumstances, but it’s a fortified wine high in alcohol and it’s better as a nightcap than a prelude to romance.
Jacques Scott offers two excellent low alcohol wines that will pair well with chocolate, but not impair you.
One good choice is Roscato Rosso Dolce ($19.99) a slightly sparkling - frizzante as it’s called - red wine from Lombardy, Italy that is seven per cent alcohol. Although this wine could take you through a meal with a tomato-based sauce or spicy foods, it’s also good with chocolate desserts.
Made from three mostly unknown grape varietals - Croatina, Teroldego and Lagrein - this brilliant ruby red wine has intense berry aromas and a delicately sweet finish.
An even better option is Castello Banfi Vigne Regali ‘Rosa Regale’ ($30.99), a festive sparkling wine made from the Brachetto grape in Piedmont, Italy.
This sensuous wine is the colour of red roses and it offers aromas of rose petals in a glass. On the palate it has flavours of fresh strawberries and raspberries that make it a perfect pairing with velvety chocolate. With only seven per cent alcohol, Rosa Regale is a great way to either start a romantic Valentine’s Day (think thick red lips eating juicy strawberries) or to end it (use your imagination).
“Brachetto and milk chocolate is classic,” said Howard. “It works 100 per cent of the time. Chug-a-lug, into bed!”