A look at Valentine’s Day wine suggestions from around the Internet, because the Wine Curmudgeon doesn’t want to do it himself, given this is The Holiday That Must Not be Named:
? From a supermarket: HEB, the Texas grocery store chain that is one of the largest independents in the country, focuses on sweet and cute, including chocolate-flavored wine. I’m not sure there is anything here I would recommend, but the Wine Curmudgeon is not the target demographic for this post. Also note how the post uses descriptors that focus on sweet, like candied fruit. Anyone who wants to know why sweet red wine has become such a cash cow need only look here.
? From a wine magazine: Decanter, the British equivalent of the Wine Spectator, sticks to sparkling wine, but includes cava and Prosecco, including “10 great value Cavas” and English sparkling wine. The point here is not whether these wines are available in the U.S., but that the editors understand not everyone wants to spend $200 on a bottle of Champagne. Would that wine magazines in this country took the same approach. My favorite pick? The Jansz sparkling from Tasmania, about $20, which I drank on New Year’s as part of my Champagne boycott.
? From a financial news website: The Street runs a lot of wine-related items; why is anyone’s guess. But most of it is solid information, and its choice of 11 Valentine’s Day wines is more of the same. The 11 wines are mostly white, mostly quality (though not always easy to find), and mostly around $40. Having said that, the Marcel LaPierre from Morgon in Beaujolais, about $30, is an impressive recommendation.
Suggestions from around the Internet for The Holiday that Must Not be Named, covering a variety of contingencies. I also have a bubbly suggestion here and a more affordable one here:
? Bring out the wallet: My pal Blake Gray, who is championing the five percent of Americans who buy wine that costs more than $20, should enjoy these suggestions for Valentine’s day — the $56 Moet Rose Imperial and the $119 version, which comes with the wine and two Champagne flutes. Because, for your money, you deserve something more than just quality sparkling wine. Says one expert quoted in the story: “They ?re racy, they ?re elegant, they got that aroma of red fruits, they strike a chord.” What more can we ask for?
? Two-buck Chuck, anyone? Seriously, suggests Christy Strawser in Detroit, who has a compiled a cheapskate’s guide to the holiday. Which, frankly, made the Wine Curmudgeon shed a tear in admiration. Her favorite? The Charles Shaw merlot, available at Trader Joe’s for $3.49 or so. You’ll have to supply your own glasses, though.
? Scoring? Really? When the Wine Curmudgeon was a youth, many similarly-aged young men boasted of “scoring with chicks.” This was, of course, a foreign concept to someone like me. Nerd and geek were insults then, and we didn’t get to be network television stars. So I’m at a bit of a loss about what the headline for this post means: “10 Valentine ?s Day Gifts to Score With.” Does it mean pleasing someone or does it carry the other — dare I say — sexual connotation? Because, frankly, I’m not sure anyone is going to score with a chick or dude with the wines mentioned in the article. They’re Red Diamond pinot noir and merlot, $10 grocery store-style wines sold mostly in restaurants. There is certainly nothing wrong with them, but I think Blake’s 5 percenters would most decidedly turn their noses up.
There won ?t be a specific post for wine and Valentine ?s Day this year, but I will cover the subject today, tomorrow (featuring Valentine ?s Day suggestions from around the Internet), and Wednesday. I did a Valentine ?s post last year because I wanted to emphasize sparkling wine, but that job is pretty well done. And I ?m not a big fan of the holiday that must not be named, anyway.
I am, however, a huge fan of the J Vintage ($90, sample, 12.5%), price be damned. Is ?very yummy ? too technical a wine term to describe it?
Look for layers and layers of complexity and flavor ? some pear fruit, some yeastiness (but not overdone the way many French wines at this price are), and even some melon. Don ?t often get that in a bubbly. In all of this, the wine is not as aggressive as J ?s non-vintage wines, which means less citrus and more subtlety in the fruit flavors. But there are still lots and lots of tiny bubbles, for those of us who love that.
Is it worth nine bottles of a quality $10 Spanish cava? That all depends who you are going to share it with.
Ordinarily, the Wine Curmudgeon does not participate in the festivities surrounding The Holiday that Must not be Named. But this year, given the rough winter that so many of us are having, I figured, why not? Plus, it gives me a chance to write about champagne and sparkling wine, which was the blog’s New Year’s resolution. (If you really don’t want to do bubbly, this Chalk Hill is quite nice.)
Bubbly fits Valentine ?s Day like a red paper heart (and yes, you can even drink it with chocolate). The sparkling wine glossary explains all, and the 2009 New Year’s post explained the difference between the world’s various sparkling wines.
So if you ?re wondering where to go with Valentine ?s Day wine, here are three sparkling suggestions:
? Freixenet Cordon Rosado Brut ($11, sample). Spanish bubbly is called cava, and this one is more fruity (some citrus) than similarly-priced cavas. Plus, it’s pink, so you’re getting with the holiday theme.
? Simonnet-Febvre Cremant Brut ($20, purchased). Bubbly from the Chablis region of France, which means the grapes approach champagne quality at less than half the price.
? Pol Roger White Foil Brut ($45, sample). The real stuff, ?with champagne ?s classic green apple flavor and great bubbles that stream to the top of the glass.