Shinn Sparkling Rose
Valentine’s Day can feel like the day that tugs at more than just your heartstrings. If dinner for two this year feels like an exercise in futility, with barely any room separating you from your coupled up dining neighbor, why not consider a different approach?
Which is to say: Why not build your romantic evening around the romance of a great bottle of wine? A holiday spent at home can be just as festive and impressive as a holiday spent at a restaurant. Or, if you’re still bent on dinner out with that special someone, consider a bottle of wine as a bespoke representation of your adoration.
Better than a box of chocolates? Methinks so.
Here are my 2020 picks for wines you can share with the person you love (hint: the person you love can also be you).
Clean, Crisp and Sparkly
Cutchogue’s Suhru Wines produces a traditional method Brut sparkler made from Chardonnay (85 percent) and Pinot Noir (15 percent). This is a lean, crisp wine that recalls the sensation of biting into a tart apple. It’s a great introductory wine, for the kind of night that requires more than one bottle. At $29, it’s affordable, too. Find it at suhruwines.com.
Pink, Bubbly and Celebratory
Such is the inaugural release of Shinn Estate’s 2016 sparkling rosé. This is a medium-bodied wine that’s perfect as an aperitif but can also hold up to a multi-course meal — if you have any left, that is. Retailing for $38 a bottle, you can find it online at shinnestatevineyards.com.
Dry, Perfumed and Different
Rosé is not only for summer. I’m of the mindset that this color of wine is great all year-round. And on Valentine’s Day, shouldn’t we all be drinking pink? Lenz’s 2017 Estate Selection Blanc de Noir is a rosé wine made from red grapes — notably, thin-skinned Pinot Noir. The result is a wine with delicate flavors, an impressive nose, and a sustaining finish. Find it at lenzwine.com for $24.
Rich, Dark and Brooding
Mount Veeder Winery in California has long since been known for their smart, thoughtful wines. The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon is no exception. Retailing for $44, this wine promises red fruits, deep and earthy notes, and a long, exceptional finish. It’s the kind of wine you can open with dinner and keep drinking well into the night. In other words, it’s perfect for sharing with someone you love.
Lengthy, Bold and Spicy
In Napa Valley, Double Diamond is a name with recognition. The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon is a wine to remember — and it’s perfectly paired with a night you’re trying to make a little less ordinary. Black and blue fruits, oak spice, and a long finish make this an obvious choice with red meat.
Honeyed, Sweet and Sublime
Icewine is a rarity, and definitely something you’ll want to save for an occasion. Grapes are harvested after they have frozen on the vine. Kept cold, they are pressed in a frozen state, allowing the juice to be separated from the water. The result is a concentrated nectar, incomparable in its quality. Canadian producer Inniskillin is known for their superlative icewines. The 2017 Vidal teems with ripe stone fruit, fresh white flowers, and citrus. At $49.95 for a 375ml bottle, this is definitely a bottle for those more important nights.
Esoteric, Bright and Rare
Inniskillin also produces a rare red version of their icewine, from the Cabernet Franc grape. The 2017 Cabernet Franc icewine is full of notes of strawberry, cherry, and fresh raspberry. This is wine for the Valentine who truly loves and appreciates wine. A 375ml bottle goes for $84.99.
Mature, Cerebral and Satisfying
End your evening with brandy, old school style. Brandy is a spirit made from grapes, and, at Wölffer Estate Vineyards in Sagaponack, you can find a local version that’s worth its salt. This brandy has been made from Chardonnay grapes that are subsequently aged in barrel. Have a snifter and leave the bottle in your cabinet for months to come. The good news is that this is a spirit made to last, and you can revisit it over and over again after the first taste. The brandy is available only at Wölffer’s store, which is on the premises at their winery in Sagaponack.
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