On Valentine’s Day when glasses clink, thoughts float to romance. A thick, sexy liquid whispers sweet somethings to lovers gazing over brimming goblets, priming them for whatever might arise. Assuming these aphrodisiac niceties cultivate cravings for sensual pleasures, it’s no wonder wine flies off the shelves during February.
And sweet wine only amplifies the emotions. It makes us sugar-highed with youthful energy; causes us to say sappy things and (sometimes) mean them; magnifies amorous feelings and makes everything taste that much better. It’s pretty amazing how a thoughtfully chosen bottle of dessert wine can top off the pleasure of a simple Valentine’s meal, be it $10 or $10,000. Remember that on holidays ordained for romantic expression, it really is the thought that counts.
For many people, sweet Champagne is the quintessential Valentine’s Day offering, enticing because of its tiny stars floating to the top, soft color and rarity. Look for labels listing “Extra Dry,” a wine that is, ironically enough, sweeter than the drier Brut. “Demi Sec” (translation: half dry) is the sparkler that drinks like dessert. If the “thought” is what you’re going for, plenty of sweet white and rosé sparklers are available at reasonable prices, especially those from outside of France’s Champagne region. Look for Italian Banfi Rosa Regale ($20) or a fizzy Moscato d’Asti.
In the still wine category, sweet wine doesn’t have to be white zinfandel. Muscat (Moscato) and Riesling grapes, as well as fortified wines, exist for your dessert dining bliss. Substitute them for dessert, pour them over fruit or ice cream, or on any body part.
Wine’s romantic reputation was crafted by society. Its descriptors are rife with tactile romantic adjectives like silky, smooth and velvety, and winemakers are revered as artists who pour their heart and soul into each bottle. No other edible item reflects its producer’s personality as much as a bottle of wine. So whether you’re creating a meal for that special someone or treating that special someone to a night on the town, remember it’s not the price that counts, it’s the love in the bottle (or in the couple).
Dashe 2006 Late Harvest Zinfandel
Warre Ottima 10 Year Tawny Port