Wine for a Valentine
Copyright 2001 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved. Originally printed Feb 12, 2001. For more information go to www.wineloverspage.com.
Let's take a break from serious wine-tasting topics this week for a quick seasonal romp through wine label country, as we survey wines with "romantic" names and labels for Valentine's Day. After all, what better way could there be for a wine lover to treat his or her sweetie than by sharing a glass of good wine with a seasonal twist?
One good choice is Joseph Pepi's Sangiovese called "Two Hearts Canopy." Although it's actually named not for romance but because of the technical name for the way the grapevines are pruned, the name alone would make a bottle of this California red wine a natural for a Valentine basket.
Another wine name that speaks of love is "Saint-Amour," the northernmost of the Beaujolais villages that's permitted to use the village name on the label. Georges Duboeuf makes a widely available Saint-Amour that enhances the romance with an attractive picture of flowers.
Sticking with the Beaujolais theme, consider gifting your true love with a bottle of Fleurie, another village of the region with a name that's as appropriate as, well, flowers.
I invited participants in our Wine Lovers' Discussion Group to suggest more wine names related to love, romance and the gifts that lovers bring, and we came up with quite a list. From the wines above and the list below, you should be able to find something that's just right for your Valentine!
* Another excellent Saint-Amour Beaujolais is the "Des Champs Grilles" bottling from J. Guy Revillon.
* Chateau Calon-Segur in Bordeaux is known for its heart-shaped label. Another seasonally named Bordeaux is the Margaux producer Chateau Deyrem-Valentin.
* Vincent Girardin makes a Burgundy (Chambolle-Musigny) called "Les Amoureuses" ("the lovers"). Another excellent Burgundy with romance in its name is Domaine Comte Lafon's Meursault "Desiree."
* The Alsatian winery Hugel's trademark Pinot Blanc is called "Cuvee Les Amours."
* In the Rhone, Domaine des Amouriers makes Cote du Rhone and Vacqueyras.
* A well-known winery in Cotes de Gascogne is Domaine de Joy.
* Turning to the New World, don't forget the Argentine winery, Valentin Bianchi.
* Tempus Two is an Australian winery whose "special release" come wrapped in white tissue paper adorned with red hearts, and more hearts on the bottle's understated label.
* California's Iron Horse winery makes a Chardonnay Cuvee Joy, and Brander's four-grape white blend, Cuvee Natalie, has a big rose on the label; Stuart Bryan's "Il Cuore" ("the Heart") is another limited- production California item. Too bad Ridge no longer makes its old "Heart's Desire" late-harvest Zinfandel.
* Diebot-Valois Champagne Blanc de Blancs features a small colorful rose on the label; and of course, the ultimate Valentine wine, pink as a lover's heart and with a flowery name to match, is Perrier-Jouet Fleur de Champagne rose.