Wine writers hate Valentine’s Day, and this includes many who aren’t as cranky as the Wine Curmudgeon. We hate it because it’s annoyingly difficult to pair wine with the holiday’s basic food group, chocolate. As my pal Gil Kulers always says, “Chocolate and wine go together as well as the Hatfields and the McCoys at a Sunday barbecue.”
And we hate it because no one believes us when we say things like that. Or point out that it’s kind of silly to pair $50 cabernet sauvignon with $2 chocolate. (And this doesn’t take into account whether Valentine’s Day is a legitimate holiday that deserves wine suggestions.)
A less conscientious wine writer than the Wine Curmudgeon, in fact, wouldn’t even bother with Valentine’s Day. He or she would make a snotty comment, maybe link to someone else’s suggestions, and then talk about how wonderful they are.
I, of course, will soldier on. After the jump, some wines for Valentine’s Day that have nothing to do with chocolate.
• Sparkling wine, which kind of, maybe, pairs with chocolate. Mondoro Moscato d'Asti NV (about $18) isn’t as sweet as some Italian sparklers, and has a floral aroma and a clean finish.
• Chardonnay, because you can never go wrong with chardonnay. I got to taste the Freestone Ovation (about $60) last week, and was pleasantly surprised given my skepticism for high-end California chardonnay and its 14 percent alcohol level. But the Ovation, part of the Joseph Phelps empire, had almost Chablis-style acid and the apple fruit was quite restrained for Sonoma. It will age well, getting richer and more interesting. Try it at Valentine’s Day in five years.
• Pinot noir, if you must drink red wine. It’s not supposed to be cold enough in Australia to produce quality pinot noir, but the Coldstream Hills 2007 ($25) certainly is quality wine. It had a bit of New World cherry fruit and even some Burgundian rusticity. Call it the poor cousin to a top-notch Oregon pinot.