Valentine’s Day calls for some delicious wine to celebrate: it’s a day to plan in advance — you don't want to just grab any old bottle off of your shelf. Sure, you could run out to the store and buy some sparkling wine for this celebration. They can be delicious and they’re certainly readily available. But think about how many Valentine’s Days you’ve celebrated with sparklers. This year why not consider doing things a bit differently. It’s winter, the weather is chilly, and based on the way things have gone so far this season, it may well be snowing. This is a great occasion to light a fire, cook a hearty meal, and tuck into a bottle of some bold and vivacious reds with your significant other. Here are four that I recently tasted and heartily recommend. Each of them is right around $20 too, so they won’t break the bank.
Koyle 2011 Reserva Syrah — The fruit for this wine came from Chile’s Colchagua Valley. In addition to Syrah (93%), a bit of Malbec (7%) was also blended in. Fermentation took place over two weeks. Barrel aging was accomplished over 12 months In French oak. This Syrah has a suggested retail price of $16.99. Bits of pleasing green herb form an undercurrent that play off of rose petals, violets and welcoming black fruit aromas. The palate is rich and luxurious with black fruit flavors taking center stage. Blackberry and Raspberry are of particular note. Spices such as black pepper are present as well. Minerals, earth, and continued dark fruit flavors continue through the above average finish. Medium tannins yield with some air. This is a fine example of Syrah that offers a window into the great things Chile can do with this varietal when it’s planted in the right spot and handled appropriately thereafter.
Zin-Phomaniac 2012 Lodi Zinfandel — The fruit for this wine was all sourced within the Lodi appellation. Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks. 40% of the wine was aged in a combination of French and American oak over nine months. 10,000 cases of this wine were produced and it has a suggested retail price of $18. Cinnamon and clove spice aromas leap from the nose of this Zinfandel along with copious black cherry fruit. The palate is filled with raspberry, black cherry which leads a cornucopia of bold, black fruit flavors. This wine is fruity and lush as well as balanced and proportionate. Sweet and sour red and black cherry characteristics are strongly evident on the mellifluous finish which has good length and persistence. This Zinfandel shows off the hedonistic side of the grape with loads of appealing fruit but maintains its decorum and never goes over the top.
Tintara Mclaren Vale 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon — The fruit for this wine came from vines that were between 13 and 38 years old. All of the fruit is from McLaren Vale and it is composed entirely of Cabernet Sauvignon. Fermentation took place in stainless steel followed by barrel aging over 12 months. This Cabernet has a suggested retail price of $19. Raspberry and green herb aromas are joined by hints of black olive on the vivacious nose of this Cabernet Sauvignon. Both red and black raspberry are in play through the palate along with cassis and blackberry. The finish shows off sour black cherries, earth, roasted espresso and hints of dusty dark chocolate. This is a balanced Cabernet Sauvignon with good varietal character as well as sense of place. It’s delicious now and will drink well over the next 8-10 years.
Henry’s Drive 2010 Pillar Box Reserve Shiraz — This wine was produced from fruit soured in the Padthaway region of Australia. It’s composed entirely of Shiraz. 30% of the wine was aged over twelve months in a combination of French (85%) and American (15%) oak. 10,000 cases of this wine were produced and it has a suggested retail price of $21.99. Blackberry, plum and pine resin aromas are all in evidence on the nose of this Shiraz. The first sip reveals cherry, blueberry and bits of gentle and pleasing green herb. Both red and black raspberry fruit characteristics are in play as well. The lingering finish here shows off black tea, licorice and rhubarb. This is a lovely expression of Australian Shiraz that offers a ton of even keeled black fruit flavor in an evenhanded and proportionate package.
So cook up some pot roast, a hearty stew, or some other full-flavored, rib-sticking meal, and pair it with any of these wines, or better yet a couple of them. They will make for a delicious, warm and cozy Valentine’s Day.