“No other red is as silky or seductive” – Michael Sager on Pinot Noir
Valentine’s Day is upon us once again, and with that we ponder which wines would be the most romantic, wooing couples across the globe. We chatted with top sommeliers from around the world to hear what they would suggest sharing with your loved ones on Saint Valentine’s Day.
“Creamy dreamy Champagne, namely Pommery’s Blanc de Blancs aptly named ‘Summertime,’” proposes Australia’s Kara Maisano (Masani, Melbourne), as her top pick for creating a romantic ambiance. Another option in the form of a classic Alsatian from Domaine Zind-Humbrecht is spicy floral Gewurztraminer – which can provide exotic aromatics and subtle sweetness with the meal, making it a suitable accompaniment to the romantic holiday.
Bobby Stuckey MS, owner Frasca Food and Wine, Colorado, USA, comments, “Whatever wife is in the mood to drink. But, if I’m giving advice to a guest:
“There are so many dining choices a guest has on Valentine’s Day - from getting dressed up and going to a fine dining restaurant, or sitting on the couch eating Thai food. With any of that, I would recommend a great bottle of Champagne. My favorite is Pierre Peters ‘Les Chétillons’.”
With a range of depth, textures and flavors, it comes as no surprise that silky and seductive Pinot Noir is a coveted wine for Valentine’s Day. Pinot Noir was a top suggestion by many sommeliers, including Michael Sager (Sager + Wilde, London), who highlights Domaine de la Côte by Californian producer Santa Rita Hills.
“Pinot is my Valentine’s day choice. You don’t look cheap if you buy that and no other red is as silky and seductive,” says Sager. Decision made!
Silky red Burgundy (Chambolle-Musigny if you can! Joseph Drouhin’s 2012 is delicious), plus fine Barbaresco from the likes of Bruno Rocca and Roagna, are Kara’s top selections, highlighting the 2010 and 2011 vintages specifically.
“These wines can be seductive on their own or perfect over dinner all night long,” she finishes.
Kimberly Prokoshyn, head sommelier of Rebelle on the Bowery, NYC, suggests some popular options including Château Calon-Ségur, a Château in Bordeaux in-tune with the romantic holiday due to its heart on the wine label. For an exceptional wine, try a bottle from the vineyard of ‘Les Amoureuses’ in Burgundy, because it means ‘The Lovers’, suggests Kimberly. She presses; however, that selecting a wine your loved one will be “enthralled” with, is the best move.
With An Affair To Remember in mind, we wonder if there is a common trend towards rosé Champagne? The festive and fun sparkling wine is certainly an excellent selection.
Kara supports the trend: “Especially with such fine expressions from the Grande Marques on offer, namely Bollinger, Lanson, Laurent-Perrier, G H Mumm, to name a few. Rosé Champagne is renowned today for subtle red fruit aromas and flavors, as well as being a luxurious choice with our Australian seafood’s and crustaceans. At Masani we kick the night off with The Champagne Cocktail - a classic made to perfection, and a hint of orange oil is divine with Cognac.”
Sparkling rosé is a popular option, agrees Kimberly, “The pink color, the light freshness and the fun bubbles are appealing for a romantic meal for many,” she finishes.
Michael is of the alternate view, however, on the rosé Champagne front. “[I] Wouldn’t say so. Although that IS made from Pinot Noir so you have me there… [The] Trend is more towards grower Champagnes rather than Grande Marque Champagne,” he comments.
So, what are the most romantic wines? Well, there are certainly plenty of possibilities. Great support is given towards both Grandes Marques and grower Champagne, and silky Pinot Noir is an equally amorous wine to share, whether, as Bobby states, you’re enjoying your time at the home, dining out, or elsewhere. Which wines will you be enjoying on Valentine’s Day? Tweet us @worldoffinewine
Champagne Pommery Blanc de Blancs “Summertime”
£32 ($39.91 USD)
Gewürztraminer Domaine Zind-Humbrecht
£21 ($25.94 USD)
Chambolle-Musigny Joseph Drouhin 2012
£41 ($51.14 USD)
Domaine de la Côte, Santa Rita Hills 2011
£44 ($53.35 USD)
Château Calon-Ségur Saint-Estephe
£89 ($111.29 USD)
Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru Amoureuses
£1,166 ($1458.08 USD)
Bollinger Rosé Champagne NV
£42 ($52.38 USD)
Lanson Rosé Champagne NV
£29 ($36.17 USD)
Laurent-Perrier Cuvee Rosé Champagne Brut NV
£43 ($53.63 USD)
G H Mumm Brut Rosé Champagne NV
£33 ($41.16 USD)
Pierre Peters Cuvee Speciale ‘Les Chétillons’ Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut
£107 ($132.17 USD)
Bruno Rocca Barbaresco 2010
£56 ($69.17 USD)
Roagna Pajé, Barbaresco 2011
£66 ($81.52 USD)
*Average price excluding tax, according to wine-searcher.com 06/02/02017