Flowers and chocolates are sweet but serious Valentine’s Day intentions call for intense wines.
Corkscrews ready: These wines have all the right moves! After all, this is no time to slack. So, uncork bold, sexy or exotic vinos—and check out the #BrilliantPairing at the end for a sumptuous dinner idea.
Instrinsic ’17 Columbia Valley red wine blend ($20): An intriguing love dive into malbec and cabernet franc.
Weingut Malat – Crazy Creatures ’18 Grüner Veltliner ($20): racy, gorgeous blonde who plays hard-to-get.
Bonterra Organic Vineyards ’15 Mendocino County grenache ($25): flirty and full of voluptuous red fruit yet clean and sustainable.
Vina Pomal Crianza ’16, Rioja ($15): Pucker up for this smooch of violets, earthiness and bright cranberry-raspberry fruit made with tempranillo grapes.
Searching for the right words? Pour a few glasses of Lost Poet, a red blend millennial favorite. Winc Wines and Instagram poet Atticus have created a label that comes with his poetry or a spot to scrawl your own words. Wax poetic.
Chalk Hill Syrah ’16, Sonoma County ($60): blueberry jam, dark chocolate, allspice—too rich for words.
Kenefick Ranch Syrah ’12, Napa Valley ($45): Throw caution to the wind and never look back.
Difficult-to-craft pinot noir is pricey, but so is fine fabric.
Oceano ‘18 pinot noir, San Luis Obispo County ($48): cool Pacific Ocean breezes contribute to fresh, lean wine with mouthwatering fruit.
Clos Pegase Carneros/Napa Valley ‘18 pinot ($40): silk peppered with tart red berries, spice and rose petals.
Jackson Estate Petaluma Gap, Sonoma ‘17 pinot noir ($40): richly full-bodied.
Erath, Oregon ($17.99): Bing cherries meet savory meatiness. (Erath winery poured at Pinot in the City in Houston recently, a terrific event that introduces guests to an array of world-class Oregon pinots!)
Tall, dark and handsome, cabernet sauvignon is the wine for winter dates.
Francis Ford Coppola Director’s Cut cabernet: savory, lusty red begging for charcuterie followed by a grilled steak.
Mount Veeder Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon ‘16, ($40): one smooth operator with dark cassis fruit layers, mocha, and a kiss of fine oak.
Kenwood Vineyards Six Ridges Sonoma County cabernet ($35): Blueberries, blackberries, leather and a backbone of aged oak. A blast in a glass.
Moët & Chandon Champagne rosé Imperial ($60): Turn up the heat with this intense pink. Never met a Moet I didn’t like, and this splurge will take you from strawberries to the entrée and back to strawberries dipped in chocolate.
Fine wine needs an equally thrilling dinner companion. Snag reservations at Uchi in Austin, Houston or Dallas, now pouring its own custom wine, Uni. Produced by Stolpman Vineyards, California, this rich yet zippy blend of roussanne and chardonnay marries lusciously with decadent uni, inventive Japanese small plates, sushi or sashimi. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Cover photo courtesy La Table, Houston
Robin Barr Sussman (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 pens for Houston Modern Luxury Magazine, Prime Living and Houston House & Home. Her work also appears in Texas Monthly, Fodor’s and Private Clubs Magazine.