Valentine’s Day is certainly a holiday you just can’t miss. Whether you were avoiding the flashes of pink and red hearts or embracing the day with plans of a romantic evening, our simple answer is that there is a wine to accompany whatever your day entailed. This in mind, last week’s tasting featured six wines connected by the holiday at hand, whether stating a label fit for lovers or having a lovey-dovey reference in its name, or simply fitting into what we think of drinking for this celebration. Now, we understand Valentine’s only happens once a year, but these wines will be there for any romantic celebration and give cause to plan one if you missed out last week. The tasters certainly enjoyed their pre-Valentine’s plans with a night of tasting wines to inspire love…of all sorts.
Besitos 2010 Moscato, Valencia ($9.95)
When one thinks of Moscato it is often the sweet, low alcohol sparkler from Italy, however this wine is a bit unique for its type. Besitos (or, little kisses) is a tad bit drier for the style at 11% alcohol, offering a slightly drier, yet still a bit sweet Moscato. This wine tastes simply of peaches and citrus with a slight effervescence to bring some life to the fruity flavors. Crisp, refreshing and sweet enough to inspire actual besitos, this wine is perfect to start or end your next romantic affair.
The Furst NV Blanc de Blancs Cremant de Alsace ($21.95)
Hailing from north-eastern France, Alsace is a primarily white-wine producing region nestled between the Vosges Mountains and the Rhine river, essentially isolated from its home and the neighboring Germany. Produced in the method Champenoise, this 100% Pinot Blanc evokes bright apple flavors with a crisp tenure and vibrant acidity yet retains a slightly rich palate without the yeasty flavors of Champagne. The style is a bit unique for the region, but is a perfect accompaniment to any celebration, whether for a dinner party or a lover’s feast. Quantities are extremely limited for this wine, and people are quickly discovering just how good this sparkler is – a new favorite we are sad to see go!
Gruet NV Brut Rose, New Mexico ($19.95)
Born and raised in Champagne, Gilbert Gruet was once a producer of Champagne until a visit to the American southwest inspired a relocation. Producing wines from some of the highest elevation vineyards in the US, Gruet crafts the classic Champagne varietals Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier in to some of the best valued sparkling wines around. With bright strawberry fruits and a yeasty backbone, this wine has a creamy palate from two years of lees aging, and has enough acidity to keep it refreshing. Creamier than the Furst, this wine is the perfect pink for the Valentine’s holiday for those seeking a more sensual style of sparkling wine.
Terra Valentine 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley ($29.95)
This one is all in the name. Terra Valentine is a small producer located in Napa’s Spring Mountain District where they produce higher-end wines. This offering is their entry level wine sourced from valley floor fruit, yet still showing the excellent skill of the winemakers. Juicy, fruity and smooth, this Cabernet is full of cherry and black currant fruit, with a hint of brown spice and a lusher palate and little grip, creating a juicier wine perfect for an evening where smooth and lush are ideal. The label shows two hearts connected by arrow, reassuring us this wine is appropriate for Valentines. Tasters were split on this wine, though it’s time in our shop has shown its emergence as a new favorite among our customers.
Some Young Punks 2009 “Lust Collides” Mataro, McLaren Vale
What’s a Mataro you might ask? An alias. Mataro is best known as Mourvedre found primarily in France, and Monastrell in Spain, providing a unique character to blends or varietal bottlings. Known for dark fruit, a bit of tannin and a wild, savage character, this biodynamically produced, 100% Mataro from southern Australia shows just how expressive this grape can be when treated right. Spending 14 months in French oak, we find an incredibly aromatic nose full of floral notes, a meaty, savage note and spice, all perfectly integrated and providing quite the stunning aroma. On the palate, this wine shows smooth and well-structured, with dark purple fruits, a long finish, and a well-balanced acidity. This wine is certainly one of a kind, and for any wine geek or appreciative palate, this wine is simply captivating. The provocative, yet classy, label is a bit sexy, showing when marketing and great winemaking unite, art is made. Quantities here are limited, and only a few bottles are left in the shop.
Some Young Punks 2009 “Fierce Allure” Cabernet Sauvignon, McLaren Vale
Harvested from the same vineyard block as the Mataro above, this Cabernet defies all expectations with a low alcohol of 13.5%, medium body and nuance one wouldn’t expect of such a hot climate. Restrained, yet still fruity and complex, this Cab is a great value given its pedigree. Black currants and black raspberries with a bit of tobacco and earth, a lush smooth palate and old world acidity make this wine truly remarkable. Also donning a sexy label, this time with a white tiger replacing the bull, this wine is perfect for a Valentine’s holiday or any time you seek truly delicious wine. This was a tasting favorite and only a handful of bottles remain – though they may not last very long!!