Valentine’s Day and vino — the two go hand in hand. This holiday selection ranges from an ultra-festive pink (!) port by Croft to the world’s first single-vineyard lambrusco, and from a tried-and-always-true Champagne with a 2018 pink twist from Moët & Chandon to two top-notch romantic reds out of those lands of love, Napa Valley and Tuscany. Food-friendly, versatile, and offering out-of-the-box tasting adventures, these diverse selections showcase creative winemaking craftsmanship. Your loved one deserves no less.
Croft Pink Port ($22)
Built on Portugal’s classic indigenous red port grapes, including touriga nacional, tinta barroca, tinta roriz and touriga franca, this peppy fuchsia-pink wine brings some serious freshness to the glass, with the lively sweet flavor of ripe raspberry mingling with a bit of Bing cherry. Considerably lighter in body than a classic ruby port, this dazzling pink port delivers some real versatility: Serve it chilled, over ice, in cocktails, or with a splash of tonic like the white-port-and-tonic mixer often served in Portuguese homes and bars. Cupid’s pick for Portugal’s most festive fortified toast this Valentine’s Day must be this innovative twist on traditional port.
Concerto Reggiano Lambrusco 2016 ($23)
Ruby red with cheery bubbles and carrying full-throttle aromas (think cherry and violets), this semi-sparkling, frizzante-style bottle is the flagship wine from Medici Ermete and represents the world’s first single-vineyard vintage lambrusco. Made from 100 percent salamino lambrusco grapes, the Concerto Reggiano is completely dry, and capable of pairing with a range of flavors from lamb and lasagna to grilled poultry, red meats, and a variety of vegetable dishes.
Moët & Chandon Rosé Valentine’s Edition 2018 ($50)
There’s just something about Champagne and Valentine’s Day. Moët turns up the volume with their latest limited-edition bottle, dubbed “Love Unconventional,” a 2018 capsule-collection offering with fun and funky love-inspired artwork adorning the tried and true Moët & Chandon Rosé Imperial bottle. Made from over 200 crus of pinot noir, chardonnay, and pinot meunier grapes, the wine presents a dry profile with a heady balance of ripe, red fruit and lively florals, underpinned by an unmistakable minerality.
Ramey Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2014 ($62)
Classic Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon, sourcing fruit from some of the Valley’s most cherished appellations (St. Helena, Oak Knoll, Carneros, Mt. Veeder, Oakville, and more), this full-bodied bottle, from an exceptional vintage, pairs perfectly with Valentine’s favorite foods — filet mignon, New York strip, beef tenderloin, braised short ribs, roast duck, dark chocolate, and so much more.
Le Serre Nuove Dell’ Ornellaia 2015 ($72)
Say “amore” with this Italian beauty, inspired by the synergy of Bordeaux’s best blends. Leaning heavily into merlot, with generous support from cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, and petit verdot, it goes full throttle in terms of body, structure, and complexity. A profound marriage of power and elegance leaves the rich black fruit character well managed by the sheer structural integrity of the well-rounded tannins and seamless textures. Lively now, and sure to continue to age well for the next decade, this could be a gift for the evening or one that ages towards a Valentine’s Day yet to come.
Some of the wines reviewed here were provided by their producers or importers at no cost to the writer.