Valentine’s Wines & More

It’s the perfect holiday for us romantics who not only love our significant other but also love dark chocolate and vino. Each is fabulous by itself, but combine them and wow – you’ve got something special.

If you’re looking for a special bottle of bubbly this Valentine’s, maybe a romantic red or even a dessert wine to share with your mate, I’ve put together a list of some of my favs in those categories. Most of these are easy to find at HEB or other wine stores around town, and they won’t be too hard on your pocketbook.

Some pair nicely with chocolate too – an added bonus this time of year.

Sparklers that Shine

Beaumard Cremant De Loire Rosé – about $18

This is one my all time favorite sparklings. Priced less than $20, you can enjoy it just about any time. It comes from Alsace, so though it’s French, it can’t be labeled Champagne because it’s not from the Champagne region. It’s known as a ‘cremant’…a designation the French use. Not only is it beautiful in the glass, its bouquet of strawberries and rasberries is lovely as is its taste with hints of spice and vanilla – a beautiful cremant and a great value.

Lucien Albrecht Rosé – about $20

This, too, is a lovely cremant from Alsace. It’s delicate salmon color, sweet fruity nose of strawberries and rasberries makes it a go-to treat for any occasion. It has a yummy finish…reminds me of a tart plum.

J Sparkling – about $32

This Sonoma beauty is always a crowd pleaser with its bright citrus, pear and yeasty notes. A glass of J always takes me back to the beautiful J winery and those lovely Sonoma hills.

Taittinger Brut – about $30

A traditional champagne that’s crisp, dry and balanced with notes of citrus, toast and honey. Taittinger is one of the finest Houses in Champagne. You can’t go wrong.

Bargain Bubblies

Yellow Tail – about $10

Simple, but fun and inexpensive…a sweeter taste. Try the rosé.

Korbel Rosé – about $13

This wine has lovely fruit on nose,,,think strawberries. It’s also nice and dry on the palate for under $15.

Korbel Brut – about $13

A hint of yeast, pear and apple.

Barefoot Rosé – about $10

Smells like candy – the nose on this one is delightful. If you like a sweeter wine, you’ll like this. A fun bargain sparkling.

Pinot Noirs & Big Reds

Buena Vista Pinot Noir Carneros – about $20

Buena Vista is one of the oldest wineries in California, and it’s pinots are always consistently good. You’ll taste a lot of cherries and just a slight hint of spice.

Gary Farrell Pinot Russian River – about $34

A step up here. Gary Farrell makes beautiful wines. If you go to the Russian River Valley, visit his winery. This pinot tastes of strawberries, cherries and vanilla…an elegant, lovely wine.

Villa Pozzi Nero di Avola – about $13

I first tried this wine at a wine dinner in Boerne. It was served with a dark chocolate dessert, and it worked beautifully. It tastes of blackberries, vanilla and a hint of cocoa.

Ridge Zinfandels – start at about $25

Zin lovers know these Zins all too well. Dark fruit like plums and blackberries with some vanilla and cocoa. Sorta sounds like an exotic dessert – it is!

Terra d’Oro – $16

A heck of a deal! Jammy fruit with a hint of spice. Goes great with dark chocolate

Dessert Wines

I often choose wine over dessert, and ice wines are a fun twist on the traditional after dinners like port. Ice wine is made from grapes that were frozen on the vine. The sugar in the grape doesn’t freeze but the water does, and the result is a lovely sweet wine.

Covey Run Reserve Semillon Ice Wine – about $28

This truly is dessert in a glass. Tropical and citrus aromas and tastes with a bit of spice…yummy.

Ste. Chapelle Reisling Ice Wine – $21

You’ll taste peaches on this one – a sweet finish to any meal.

Tawny Ports

Graham’s 10 yr old Tawny Port – about $29

Sandeman’s 20 year old Tawny Port – $45

Unless a decadent dark chocolate is on the dessert menu, I opt for a Tawny Port. It’s a bit more mellow than port (too sweet for me) and on occasion even works well with chocolate. There are a number of good ones with favors of nuts, raisins and softened red fruits like cherries and plums.

I hope these suggestions will add to your Valentine’s celebrations. Enjoy!

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