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Two Women on Wine: Make it a day of wine and roses

Employ wine for a perfect Valentine’s Day

Posted: February 3, 2012 6:00 a.m.
Updated: February 3, 2012 6:00 a.m.
Lil Lepore and Shari Frazier Lil Lepore and Shari Frazier
Lil Lepore and Shari Frazier

A day of wine and roses is reserved for non other than Valentine's Day. It's a day dedicated to romance, when lovers express their love for each other by giving gifts of jewelry, flowers, chocolate and, of course, wine.

So how did Valentine's Day come into existence? There are many legends surrounding its origins. The most common one involves the Roman Emperor Claudius II and a priest in A.D. 269. As this popular story goes, the Emperor believed that single men who had no family responsibilities made better soldiers than married men, so he decided to outlaw marriage. In defiance, a young priest named Valentine began to secretly perform marriages. When Claudius discovered this, he arrested Valentine and ordered him to death. While in prison awaiting his fate, Valentine is said to have fallen in love with his jailor's daughter. Before he was executed, he wrote a letter to her and signed it "From your Valentine".

Since Valentine was a priest and considered a martyr, the early Catholic Church declared him a saint. In A.D. 496 the papacy established February 14 as the feast day of St. Valentine until it was deleted by Pope Paul VI in 1969.

But Valentine's Day lives on and its essence remains true to its romantic origins. Wine by its very nature, history and ritual captures the spirit of romance. From popping of the cork to the swirling of the glass, all paths lead to the ultimate satisfaction of tasting the wine. If you have any doubt that wine is romantic, consider some of the descriptors: soft, supple, elegant, feminine, and luscious. Why wouldn't you celebrate the most romantic day of the year with wine? Here are a few of our wine suggestions.

Champagne and sparkling wine are the ultimate celebratory beverages and top our list. There is nothing more romantic than French Champagne; the beauty of the bottle and, of course, the wonderful sound of the cork popping is sure to delight.
Choosing Champagne doesn't have to be complicated or intimating. As with all wine it comes down to a matter of taste. The different types of Champagne range in color and sweetness: Blanc de Blanc, Brut, and Demi Sec just to name a few. Blanc de Blanc is made entirely from Chardonnay grapes and is light in color and body; Brut is the driest and on the other end of the spectrum Demi Sec is the sweetest.

If Champagne doesn't appeal to your senses, you might want to consider a sparkling wine from Italy. Our suggestion would be the Abazzia Enchanted Rosé. This is a delicious sparkling rosé made from Malvasia grapes. Served chilled, this gem of a wine is absolutely, undeniably "romance in a glass". Its beautiful pink color, soft strawberry flavors with a just a kiss of sweetness makes this wine a perfect starter to the evening.

Since red is the color of Valentine's, it is also the color choice of wine for this holiday. Nothing beats a light-bodied, soft, aromatic Pinot Noir. This wine screams sensuality. It has feminine, youthful, lively and earthy characteristics, along with aromas and flavors of red and black fruits, making this varietal one of our favorites. The 2009 Garnet Vineyards Carneros Pinot Noir is deep garnet color with lively strawberry and rhubarb jam flavors and hints of spice and violets.

The heartier full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Syrah/Shiraz would also be good choices. But you might want to consider a blend. We recommend the 2007 Fieldstone Convivio from Alexander Valley, a blend of Merlot, Cabernet, Sangiovese and Petite Sirah. This wine has luscious, succulent flavors of dark berries with smooth, soft tannins. "Convivio" in Italian means "with life". What better way to enjoy life than with someone you love!

As we may all know, chocolate and wine make a wonderful pairing. As a departure from this traditional pairing, we suggest combining them both in the way of a chocolate wine. Chocolate Shop from Walla Walla, Washington is a "chocolate lover's wine". This is a full-bodied (14 percent alcohol) blend of wine and crème de cocoa, with aromas and flavors of dark chocolate surrounded by hints of cocoa powder, creating a silky smooth mouthful. Delicious and decadent, you've got to try it to believe it!

So whether you are planning an intimate dinner or cozying up with your sweetheart in front of a warm fireplace, you might want to think about the wine that you will both enjoy! Oh, and don't forget the flowers! Happy Valentine's Day and cheers !


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