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Splurge on Wine for Valentine's Day

We always have found Valentine’s Day a bit galling. Steeped in mythical interpretations, it is a holiday cleverly marketed by greeting card companies, florists, chocolatiers, and restaurateurs who are happy to help you express your love with dollar signs. Why do we have to spend a wad of cash one day of the year to express our appreciation for someone? Okay, we need to get over it. Valentine’s Day should be fun; it doesn’t have to be expensive.

With about half of marriages ending in divorce, there are obviously a lot of people who didn’t show enough appreciation for their spouses. So, maybe you should be really showing your loved one a lot of attention on Feb. 14. No matter how much you spend, it will be cheaper than a divorce.

Since the holiday is soaked in everything red, we suggest a pink or red wine to mark the occasion. Rosé champagne, still rosé, a smooth pinot noir, or a complex cabernet sauvignon can set the tone of an evening in a restaurant or over candles at a home-cooked dinner.

Champagne’s bubbles excite the senses and symbolize elegance and luxury. If you can afford it, consider French rosé champagne – Bollinger, Billecart-Salmon, Henriot, and Nicolas Feuillatte. American producers make luxurious sparkling wine too – Domaine Chandon, Iron Horse, Domaine Carneros, Schramsberg, J Cuvee, and Domaine Mumm are solid choices.

Provence rosé is a great way to start a dinner and a versatile wine that can go with a lot of food, including fish. Likewise, pinot noir is a sexy wine to complement elegant dinners of salmon, pasta, and duck. If you’ve got pasta on the menu, consider an Italian montepulciano.

If your dinner plans include beef, turn to cabernet sauvignon.

Here are a few recommendations:

  • Chateau Peyrassol Cuvee de la Commanderie Rosé 2018 ($20). This is a charming blend of cinsault, grenache, syrah, rolle, mourvedre, cabernet and carignan. Strawberry and raspberry notes dominate the wine with a hint of citrus. It would complement salmon, chicken and even pasta.

  • Bonterra Rosé 2018 ($16). With a commitment to sustainability and the environment, Bonterra continues to make excellent wines across the board. This rosé has fresh red berry fruit and lively acidity.

  • Raeburn Winery Rosé 2019 ($20). This may be the first rosé from the 2019 vintage to be released. Fresh off the press! Pinot noir, grenache and zinfandel are blended to create a floral bouquet and strawberry notes.

  • Domaine Anderson Estate Pinot Noir 2015 ($40). We liked the bright and fresh fruit character of this cool Anderson Valley pinot noir. Floral aromas with cranberry and raspberry flavors. This cooler region isn’t always hospitable to the ornery pinot noir, but the cooler temps are perfect for the grape variety.

  • The Prisoner Wine Co. Eternally Silenced California Pinot Noir 2017 ($55). The Prisoner has become an iconic name in zinfandel-based blends, but this is the first pinot noir it has released. Drawing grapes from five wine regions, it has created a rich and aromatic pinot noir with black cherry and clove notes. Nothing in the title suggests love, so maybe this is for couples who wants to end a relationship!

  • Knudsen Vineyards Reserve Pinot Noir 2017 ($70). This delicious pinot noir from the Dundee Hills appellation of the Willamette Valley strikes a great balance between fruit and acidity. Fragrant cherry, earthy aromas give way to fresh red berry flavors with a dash of mushroom. It is more akin to a burgundy style than the fruit bombs of California. Long finish, full body and a soft mouthfeel. The grapes come from four blocks using different clones.

  • Calera Central Coast Chardonnay 2017 ($25). Using grapes from several Central Coast vineyards, including the revered Bien Nacido Vineyard, winemaker Mike Waller has crafted a great chardonnay at a reasonable price. Apple notes with hints of anise and vanilla.

  • The Hess Collection Cabernet Sauvignon “Allomi” Napa Valley 2017 ($34). This is a very dark deep and intense Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon. Classic cherry, cassis elements produce a very satisfying red wine that can pair with the boldest cuisine.