I remember my first Valentines day, gathering keepsake cards and candy from friends on the playground, innocent and without expectation. The stakes went up as time passed by: a florid card professing undying love, a rose, a bouquet, gifts, dinner, a weekend getaway. While of course, every day with your soulmate should be Valentine’s day, life is full of its little disappointments, and we’ll gladly lean on the romantic power of Valentine’s day to make that operatic, grandiloquent gesture of passion to woo (back) our loved ones. Love is a many splendored thing, and so should be your drinking life: as we gear up to celebrate one of the most popular days of the year, we thought it may be a good idea to suggest some of our favorite pairings for you & your loved one on this glorious occasion.
- The First Date
“Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.” Romeo & Juliet, William Shakespeare
The first blush of love deserves something emblematic of that bold leap into the void, and nothing accompanies that vertiginous jump better than bubbles. (Did you think we were going to steer you away from our all-time favorite?) The story and history of bubbles is effervescent with magic and romance, from its starry beginnings, through the love story of the widow Cliquot, and as you pop a bottle, you can talk about how both Houses of Clicquot and Bollinger reached its iconic status thanks to the women who took over after the deaths of their husbands or how Jay Z had a helping hand in making Cristal the “it” champagne in pop-culture—take your pick on how to lay your romantic cards. Finally, if you’re too busy staring into each other’s eyes and all that surrounds you seems redundant because of your amazing date, well, the cork should then be a keepsake as a wondrous beginning of an unforgettable relationship. On the other hand, if Champagne feels a bit stuffed-shirt for your preference, why not go for some rather unusual bubbles? What could be better than a sparkling Aussie red that delivers power, elegance, fun and a slightly odd photo of “Uncle Dick”: NV Bleasdale Vineyards “The Red Brute” Uncle Dick Sparkling Shiraz
- The Boy/Girlfriend
“In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
You graduated to the term “we”, and have sound opinions towards each other’s friends and family. You enjoy the companionship and embrace everything that comes with it. Spain’s classic white, the Albariño, is a great candidate for said occasion because you’ve already run through the rounds of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Riesling. Clean, bright with delectable citrus notes, a 2015 Pazo de Señorans Albariño marries great with that grilled spot-prawn dish you’re prepping for dinner. As you immerse yourself in your new discovery, perhaps you can google map its origin the Rias Baixas and start planning your next vacation.
“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you.” Winnie the Pooh, A.A. Milne
You were overwhelmed by how much love you have for the tiny human laying peacefully in your arms, then you look at your other half and wonder how incredible and blessed you are to be parents to your little one. But months of sleepless nights down the road, bone-tired though you are, wouldn’t it be nice to have an adult meal involving a real conversation and where you aren’t wearing sweats stained with things better left uncontemplated? While it might not be able to find you a sitter, or guarantee the tiny tot sleeps through the night, a nice bottle of Burgundian red is sure to help you relax and appreciate the small beauties in life. While you can find Pinot Noir in all corners of the world, it is Burgundy that produces the most elegantly delectable: exceptionally floral with red fruit accents, subtle oak notes with lingering velvet finish. Cobble together a nice charcuterie board with your favorite meats, cheese and crackers, and open a bottle 2014 Domaine de L’Arlot Vosne-Romanee 1er “Les Suchots” to remind yourselves that while you cannot remember your last undisturbed shut-eye, life still has its adult pleasures.
- The Golden Years
“I have waited for this opportunity for more than half a century, to repeat to you once again my vow of eternal fidelity and everlasting love.” Love in The Time of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
You may wake and sleep at different times, but you live and move harmoniously as if you were one. You spend time in the garage restoring the ’67 Porsche 911 you found on craigslist. You spend your weekend with your adult children and possibly grandchildren, and reminisce how life seems to have passed by so quickly. You frequently find yourself picnicking on the beach dressed in all-white outfits. The right pairing for you is something refined but gutsy, something filled with soulful, intricate complexities that nonetheless revel in life’s rich joys. In a word (actually, three): Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Perhaps the most important appellation in southern Rhone, France, Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines consist largely of Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cinsaut and Counoise. It drinks rich in dark fruit, leather, tobacco and licorice with an everlasting finish that is sure to linger. Find something with a few years on it and you’ll be rewarded with a wine that’s meant to be savored and talked over with your significant other.
A classic choice: 2012 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape
An edgier choice for dungeon-lovers: 2010 Le Vieux Donjon Châteauneuf-du-Pape
“My heart might be bruised, but it will recover and become capable of seeing beauty of life once more. It’s happened before, it will happen again, I’m sure. When someone leaves, it’s because someone else is about to arrive–I’ll find love again.” The Zahir, Paulo Coelho
So, you’re alone on Valentine’s day. Maybe Valentine’s day is just another day, maybe you’re burnt out on Tinder and Coffee Meets Bagel, and maybe you don’t need anyone’s help to meet “friend of a friend” just because they too, happened to be single on Valentine’s day. Fair enough, but let us at least introduce you to one of our friends in hopes that you hit it off: Elliott’s Select from Four Roses. Four Roses is loved by many for their single barrel program, bottled at barrel strength varying from 100 to 120 proof, which is a sure-fire way to keep you happy if not mellow. The Elliot Select is an impromptu release from new Master Distiller Brent Elliot marking his first batch with Four Roses. The long-lasting finish with caramel, vanilla, and mature stone fruit is sure to satisfy one’s need to pamper themselves during the much-needed alone time.
Whether dining in or going out, Valentine’s day is a special day to remind you how loved you are by those around you. Tell us what you have planned for the special occasion and what wine you’ll be having in the comments section below!