Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Valentine's Day Wines

As we head towards celebrating a rather made-up "holiday", the annual ode to romance, our liquor store shopping habits tend to shift away from the usual towards the romantic with sweet and carbonated wines showing up in our shopping carts where normally a friendly, go-to dinner wine would be enough. Valentine's Day is an excuse to open a nice and celebratory bottle of wine and these are our three favourite categories:

Pink Bubbly
Often marketed as the perfect pairing for Valentine's Day and certainly undervalued as a dinner course companion, blush sparkling wine has many applications, the least of which is adding a bit of panache to any meal or celebration.

Chateau Des Charmes 2009 Rosé Sparkling Wine - $29
Produced in the traditional method with an off-dry palate bursting with cran-apple, cherry and nice yeast flavours all well balanced by mouth-watering acidity keeping the texture vibrant and refreshing.
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery NV Cipes Rosé - $30
Offers a nice mixture of fruity fun supported by an underlying richness which adds some depth and complexity. Gorgeous light cranberry hue makes for a lovely splash of colour on any table.
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Sweet Wines for your Sweetie
Treat yourself and the object of your desire to an equally elegant, intriguing and sexy wine whose only purpose in life is pure enjoyment. Whether it be a classic Sauternes, a fortified wine or Canadian royalty (icewine), sipping a sweet wine can be a passionate and sensual experience.

Château Bastor-Lamontagne 2007 Sauternes - $19
A good, entry-level Sauternes from the exceptional 2007 vintage (for white Bordeaux) which offers excellent value for money. Pair with a semi-sweet chocolate fondant cake for a sumptuous desert that will send you and your guest to frenzied sugar heaven.
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Cassini Cellars 2010 Moscato - $24
This charming, honeydew and spicy peach flavoured wine opens with a lovely nose of pecans, tangerines and violets and will compliment your favourite nutty pie or crème brûlée rather than compete with it.
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Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2011 Oldfield Series Kerner Icewine - $30
It's the juxtaposition of the sugary, fruit puree syrup and mouth-watering acid that makes for the uniquely icewine experience: an intense, lively texture, worth the price of admission.
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Worth a Splurge
A classified growth from Bordeaux doesn't necessarily pair with a great cut of beef any better than a quality Chilean Cabernet, yet Valentine's Day seems to amplify our inner voice that says "you deserve something special tonight." Treat yourself and your someone special to one of these beauties.

Stratus Vineyards 2009 Red - $44
This is not a "big red" blend but rather a nuanced wine offering layers of plum, blackberry, coffee grinds, green pepper and light tobacco characters. An altogether different wine than previous vintages yet recognizable by its impressive use of each varietal component.
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Painted Rock Estate Winery 2009 Red Icon - $54
A harmonious blend of 30% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Franc, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Petit Verdot and 1% Syrah delivering massive complexity and concentration that never overloads the dry palate rather evolves slowly in the glass to reveal layers of the flavour profile.
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Blackwood Lane 2007 The Referènce - $99
This attention to detail and use of elite components is all done to add complexity to the wine. Time must be taken with this wine to fully appreciate the complexity as it evolves in the glass revealing hidden layers and clues to its secrets.
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- Liam Carrier ©copyright 2013

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