Valentine’s Day is a delicious day to celebrate love.
For those who have been blessed with a charming and romantic partner, it’s not difficult to find a way to spend February 14th together. A huge industry is ready to reinforce your every passionate instinct by selling you roses, chocolates, champagne, even diamonds. I can suggest a roster of appealing wines, too, depending on your pocketbook and proclivity—from insincere Prosecco to hearts a-flutter Cotes de Nuits Burgundy to seal-the-deal Roederer Cristal.
But what if Valentine’s Day is difficult for you? If you are on your own, without a honey, this can be the loneliest day of the year.
One solution is to get together with friends and drown your sorrows with beer.
Another, if you are a true homebody who prefers an evening with your pet to a night out at Applebee’s, is to mellow out chez vous in sweet harmony with your furry, feathered or scaly pet companion. You’ll have a good time, the pet can watch you, and you won’t have to share the bottle because pets don’t drink alcohol.
Here is a guide to what type of wine to choose depending on what sort of pet you have, including specific suggestions from local wineries and/or far-away vineyards.
For a sweetheart kitty who follows you around trilling: Raphael’s full-flavored but youthful 2010 Sauvignon Blanc; Guy Saget’s Les Perrières (Loire).
For An irascible, hair-raised skittish kitty: Peconic Bay 2010 Dry Riesling, with plenty of zesty acidity but enough enticing aroma to calm everyone down; Ravines Finger Lakes 2010 Riesling.
For an old tomcat who would rather not sit with you but will just this time: Grapes of Roth 2004 Merlot, dark and tenacious and extremely lovable despite its challenging character; Ridge Vineyards California Zinfandel.
For a soft and purry cat who will sit on your lap but who is also somewhat elitist: Bedell Cellars 2007 Musée (Bordeaux blend), if you can find it, or a Chateau Beychevelle 2005, which is as velvety as your cat but far more expensive.
For a playful kitten who will entertain you no matter what you drink: Channing Daughters 2008 Cuvée Tropical, a blend of Chardonnay and Muscat that reflects the playful nature of the winemaker, Christopher Tracy; or a light Prosecco, like Valdo Brut from Italy. It’s fizzy, fruity, and not too, too sweet.
For a fat, indolent Persian window sitter: Pellegrini Vineyards’ Vintner’s Pride Finale, an “ice” wine made of Gewurtztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc, with the kind of satisfying sweetness that will help you fall gently to sleep. Vignobles Dauré, Les Clos de Paulilles Banyuls (south of France) has similarly sybaritic qualities in a dessert wine.
For a panting, tail wagging retriever: Fresh, enthusiastically citrusy Castello Di Borghese 2010 Chardonnay, or Domaine William Fèvre 2009 Chablis (as energized as the pooch).
For a protector dog, like a bull mastiff or German Shepherd: There aren’t any LI wines I know of leathery or tough enough for this, but how about an earthy Napa Cab like Chappellet? Or an insurmountable red blend, Orin Swift’s “The Prisoner”?
For a jubilant, gamboling and uncontrollable Irish Setter: Frizzante sparkling Merlot Rosé from Croteaux, or an aromatic Crémant d’Alsace sparkler like Lucien Albrecht’s Brut Rosé.
For a wise, humorous standard poodle: the joyfully effervescent Sparkling Pointe Brut or the sophisticated but also joyful Pol Roger Champagne.
For a hyper-blissful, peppy Jack Russell terrier: the lean, delicate and searingly fresh, disarmingly honest Macari Vineyards 2010 Early Wine, or the Alto Adige Abbazia di Novacella Gruner Vetliner.
For an old, faithful Labrador: choose the steady, reliable, fully satisfying 2007 Leo Family Red (mostly Merlot), or the tummy-warming Château de Beaucastel from Châteauneuf-du-Papes’ sunny slopes.
Birds, Turtles and Fish:
For Tweetie Bird: This bright cheery oiseau needs an equally happy wine: Lieb Cellars’ Pinot Blanc, or Schloss Johannisberg German Riesling.
For a turtle: The theme here is slow and steady wins. I choose Martha Clara’s Bernie’s Rose, a nice sipper even if it does have a dog on the label.
For a goldfish, swimming mesmerizingly in a circle: Laurel Lake’s spicy 2007 Cabernet Franc help you meditate with the fish.
For assorted tropical fish: If they’re frisky, try Palmer Vineyard’s lively 2009 Gewurztraminer; if languid, drink the blowsy St. Jean de Minervois Muscat.
For a piranha: Do you have one? Really? Then get a bottle of Channing Daughters bizzaro fortified Pazzo. If you can’t find it, try any big ol’ Australian Shiraz.