Wine Wednesday: Be My Valentine Wine

by Robin Barr Sussman on February 8, 2023 in Food+Drink,

Looking for the right wine for Valentine’s Day? Prefer rosy, lovely and maybe bubbly, or rich, dark and seductive? Whatever your mission – be it a message on a bottle, a luxurious bath, smashing dinner pairing, or a joy ride – here’s your perfect 10 to uncork or gift for Cupid’s Day!


Love you Bunches, Stolpman Vineyards, California

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This bottle says it all. The 2021 sangiovese blend produced by carbonic fermentation was named for the “loving” treatment of whole grape bunches kept intact during fermentation. Expect a happy balance between quenching tart, ripe red fruit, and juicy watermelon notes. Optionally, 2020 Syrah So Hot intrigues with scents of rose and violet ($24-$42).

Domaine Carneros 2019 brut rosé and “bubble” bath set

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Give the gift of bath time bliss with this luxurious set featuring San Francisco- based elizabethW’s small batch spa indulgences and DC’s opulent Carneros brut rosé. Delight in flavors of tangerine, wild strawberry, peaches and floral scents. Besides body scrub, body lotion and bath fizz hearts, a sparkling cuvée candle is included. The price ($106) is unbeatable for the entire package – what gal wouldn’t love this?

RedThumb Natural Wines tempranillo 2021 Navarra, Spain

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Strawberry and raspberry drive this fresh, racy red with a savory finish. Other recent 2021 releases include a beautiful grenache rosé with notes of tart cherries and pink lady apples, and a brilliantly balanced unoaked chardonnay. Each made with organic grapes, native yeast and minimal interventions – it’s all on the label. Nationally available including HEB and Central Market (about $20).

Grochau Cellars ‘Joyride’ 2021 sparkling Willamette Valley, Oregon

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Take a spin with this impressively crisp and creamy sparkling pinot noir packaged in a fun next-gen bottle with easy pop top closure. Founder-winemaker John Grochau came to the wine via a cycling career in France and sommelier career in Oregon ($23).

Nicolas & Jay 2019 L’Ensemble pinot noir Willamette Valley, Oregon

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This smooth operator will steal his or her heart. A blend of top pinot noir vineyard sites, it showcases currant, blueberries, baking spice, fresh cranberry and hints of vanilla with forest floor notes. Ideal for food pairings, it truly is a wine with finesse and power ($70).

Catena Zapata Nicasia Vineyard 2018 malbec, Mendoza, Argentina

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Here’s a rich and romantic bottle of one hundred percent malbec with intense aromas, gentle tannins and a long, flavorful finish. Notes of chocolate, blueberries, meat and crushed berries make it a spot on pairing for roasted veal, shitake mushrooms and beef tenderloin (about $100).

MacRostie Winery 2019 brut rosé with scented candle

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Set the mood with candlelight and this kiss-of-pink sparkling blend of Sonoma Coast pinot noir and chardonnay. Fragrances of gardenia, rose petal and fresh Honeycrisp apple bubble over in a rich mousse that cleanses the palate and tickles the tongue. Gift includes MacRostie wine bottle candle and an Estate House tasting gift certificate for two (set $80).

Adobe Road, Sonoma County, California

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Get his heart racing with Adobe Road’s Racing Series, a collection of cutting-edge California blends featuring packaging technology designed to connote the thrills of racing. One option is its 2019 Shift, a daring combination of zinfandel, tempranillo, syrah, and petite sirah ($63).

Graham Beck Cap Classique

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Cap Classique, South African sparkling wine, is a beautiful alternative to Champagne. Made in the methode champenoise tradition, Graham Beck, with vintage and non-vintage collections, is a household name for high quality, affordable wine. Choose from brut (crisp with buttery notes); brut rosé with hints of lavender, or brut zero made with no sugar! (starting at $20)

Bezel Central Coast, California

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This approachable new line of wine from renowned Napa Valley winery Cakebread Cellars showcases grapes grown from California’s central coast including chardonnay and pinot noir. The name Bezel is a nod to craftsmanship, symbolizing the winemaking expertise that the Cakebread family brings to its new Central Coast venture. The 2021 chardonnay has a vibrant, fruit-forward style with fresh pear, vanilla, and lemon zest notes – a little like bottled sunshine ($25).

Sip This!

The Texas Wine Lovers Celebration Event is Jan. 30 through Feb. 24 at 40+ wineries in the Texas Hill Country. With the purchase of a digital Event Passport, you can taste at four wineries per day over the course of each event and receive exclusive discounts on bottle purchases. Passport tickets are $100/couple or $65/individual and valid for the duration of the celebration. More information, the list of participating wineries and the ticket sales link can be found here.


 Cover photo courtesy Graham Beck

Robin Barr Sussman ( is a freelance culinary and travel writer who studied at the Culinary Institute of America Greystone, Calif. As a chef for Sonoma County wineries, her specialty was food and wine pairing. Sussman is a columnist for Houston CityBook, Houston Modern Luxury Magazine, Prime Living and Houston House & Home. Her work also appears in  Texas Monthly, Fodor’s and Private Clubs Magazine.