Friday, February 11, 2011

Valentine's Day Wines

Perhaps more than food, wine is the ultimate consumable Valentine's Day pleasure. For many, what makes wine the libation of lovers lies in the primal appeal of its aromas. Breathe in the bouquet of a worthy wine to experience wine at its most intoxicating, in the non-inebriated sense, that is.

Certain grapes and varietal wines are known for their distinctive aromatic allure. For some, it's the perfumed nose of light Moscato or the honeysuckle heaven of a full-bodied Viognier. Others may fall under the spell of Pinot Noir's cheerful cherries and roses or the blast of berries and spice that wafts up from a swirl of Syrah. Whatever your preference, the smell of wine is not only divine, but it's also what comprises much of what we taste and enjoy with every sip.  

These Valentine's Day picks are intensely aromatic wines. Both are sexy and delicious in completely different ways and each pairs beautifully with a variety of foods. Uncork at your own risk, and be prepared to give in to their charms.

Elio Perrone 2009 Sourgal Moscato d'Asti
Slightly sweet and refreshing on the tongue, this Italian Moscato is racy and delicious. At only 5% alcohol, it's light enough to enjoy as an aperitif or as a closer to your Valentine's dinner, either by itself or served with strawberries, berries, poached pears or a light puff-pastry dessert. Seductive aromas of orange blossoms, honeysuckle and sweet citrus set the mood for a mouthful of bright, fresh fruit rooted by a hint of sage and a bracing, lingering finish. Very sexy, and very Italian. Find it for under $15 at LA Wine Company.

Château Thivin 2009 Côte de Brouilly
This cru Beaujolais from a stellar vintage is bursting with scents and intrigue.  Admire the rich purplish-magenta color as you swirl, provided you can resist nose-diving into its layered floral and cherry-raspberry aromatics. Violets, roses and herbs weave their seductive way through a palette of herbed fruits and minerality juiced by food-friendly acidity. The earthy finish is kissed by sour cherry and smoke. Although this Gamay will surely get better with time, its heady, endless nose will have your head spinning before you take your first sip. A great wine for falling in love, again, now and later. About $20 at LA Wine Company.

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