As Tina Turner sang, “Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken?” Whether firmly hitched, dating, or just out for fun, brokenhearted you won’t be, if you uncork these sexy wines to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day!
READY FOR ANYTHING
Head High Wines ‘19 pinot noir, Sonoma County: A smooth operator from mood to food, this velvety wine is made from grapes culled from top California vineyards including Gap’s Crown, Riverfront and Deodora. Consider yourself Valentine’s Day picnic-ready. ($25)
Kind of Wild Wines ‘20 Organic tempranillo-garnacha: When sourcing grapes, Kind of Wild Wines discovered this rich, spicy red blend from a grower in the heart of Spain, the ancient land of castles and kings. Fragrances of rose and violet with layers of exotic spices awaken the senses – but if that’s not enough, it is said to inspire a more chivalrous demeanor, hopefully like Don Quixote. ($25)
Unshackled ‘20 sauvignon blanc: Feeling cooped up this winter? This racy California blanc will set you free! Delightfully unconventional with juicy peach, fresh citrus, lime, and tropical fruit flavors, its booster of chenin blanc and roussanne – personal faves – add opulent texture. (About $30)
ELEGANCE BECOMES YOU
Stags’ Leap ’19 Napa Valley viognier: Hello, gorgeous – think Grace Kelly with a splash of Samantha Jones from the original Sex and the City. Exquisite and crisp with ripe juicy apricot, a tease of honeysuckle, and a lengthy mouth-watering finish. Wow. (About $30)
Calera ‘16 Mt. Harlan pinot noir Mills Vineyard: Robust and expressive with layers of black currant, raspberry and sophisticated notes of mushroom and black tea lead to a lush finish. Crafted from grapes grown in the cool climes of Monterey County, this pinot is splurge-worthy! (About $75)
Etude ’18 pinot noir Carneros: Racy red berry, plum and currant flavors are backed by brilliant acidity and a firm finish (about $35). Explore the other silky pinot noirs in the portfolio or its stunning Santa Barbara County rosé.
FROM SICILY WITH LOVE
Corvo: This oh-so-affordable, versatile collection of wines – with a history of almost 200 years – is an authentic declaration of love to the sunny island where they originate. Corvo Nero d’Avola Sicilia DOC ‘18 is a soft, balanced red and a perfect aperitif with medium-aged cheeses on a cold winter night – and you two in front of a roaring fireplace. (About $12)
Gemma di Luna: Beautifully packaged Prosecco DOC is extra dry and delightfully easy-to-love ($14.99/$5.49/mini bottles). Pinot Grigio DOC Delle Venezie is as fragrant as fresh cut peaches and marries well with poultry, light seafood, and less sweet desserts like lemon tart or crème brûlée. ($14.99)
Santa Julia Brut rosé NV Argentina: Strawberry, guava and hints of lemon zest leap from the glass and fresh, creamy bubbles dance on your palate. It’s a party the minute it goes “pop!” (About $13)
Montrose Cheese & Wine Houston: Rather hand over the important decision making to the pros? Stop by Montrose Cheese & Wine (or order online, delivery available) for small batch wines, boutique cheeses and sweet treats. It Had to Brie You ($90) package includes Cottonbell Heart triple crème cow’s milk brie from Boxcarr, North Carolina; strawberry and rose petal jam from France; sweet Spanish orange tortas; pack of 4 handmade chocolate bonbons, and a bottle of extra dry 2018 Thierry Tissot Bugey rosé.
CHOCOLATE MELTS HEARTS
Vine to Bar & Jackson Family Wines: Chocolate and wine have long had a steamy love affair even though pairing the two can create clashing between chocolate tannins and wine tannins. Enter Vine to Bar. The scrumptious chocolate bars, made with trademark chardonnay Marc – a by-product of grapes – softens the tannin clash with natural sweetness. To share the love, order the Chardonnay and Chocolate Lovers Dream gift box: Matanzas Creek Alexander Valley and KJ Santa Maria Valley paired with a set of chocolate bars ($100). For friends/Galentine’s wines (with or without the chocolate), pick Cambria Julia’s Vineyard rosé, exuberant with fresh strawberry, watermelon and citrus flavors ($25).
Cover photo courtesy Jackson Family Wines
Robin Barr Sussman (email@example.com) 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 Modern Luxury Magazine, Prime Living and Houston House & Home. Her work also appears in Texas Monthly, Fodor’s and Private Clubs Magazine.