The Wine Curmudgeon does not like the holiday that must not be named. The reasons aren't important; chalk it up to my natural crankiness, and leave it at that. Because of this, I have traditionally vacillated about whether to do a post for this holiday.
This year, you get one. Yes, I know, the last thing one expects from me is inconsistency, but that's the effect that the holiday that must not be named has on me. More, after the jump:
• Don't buy someone a gift because you think they should like it, but because they will like it. So if the most important person in your life enjoys sweet wine, but you don't, you know what to buy, right?
• Wine and chocolate is a marketing gimmick. For one thing, anyone who pairs $50 cabernet sauvignon with chocolate is missing the point of $50 cabernet. Or, to quote the eminently quotable Gil Kuhlers: "The inherent problem does not lie with chocolate per se, but the sugar within. Chocolate by nature is insanely bitter, so most chocolates you see in the candy aisle, even the bars that say 70 percent cacao, contain sugar. ... Sugar, or more precisely its sweet taste, is the enemy of all dry wines, especially red wines."
• Red wine for Valentine's Day: Two red blends fit the bill -- from the Argentine producer Alamos ($13, sample) and California's Colby Red ($13, sample). The former has lots of sweet black fruit, but it isn't syrupy and there is enough other stuff going on to provide some sort of balance. The Colby has normal enough tannins and acid, but what seems to be almost an cherry lollipop sweetness in the middle. It throws the wine off kilter, though people who like that sort of thing probably won't think anything of it.
• White wine for Valentine's Day: Robert Mondavi Winery Chardonnay ($20, sample) may not seem sexy or exciting, but it's a solid, winning choice -- lots of green apple, oak for people like oak, and more value than you would expect.
More about Valentine's Day wine:
• Valentine's Day wine 2011
• Valentine's Day wine 2010
• Expensive wine 36: Two Hands Gnarly Dudes Shiraz 2008