Bottled Love

Choosing wine for Valentine’s Day can be tricky. Get it wrong and you face a lonely 2016. Pet names can be quirky, cute or downright embarrassing, but they usually reveal some truth about your beloved. Use them to guide your wine choice for the big day.

There’s only one way to prove to your “bae” that you mean it – and that’s with Champagne; the real stuff. To make it even more special, choose a grower Champagne – a wine that’s crafted by the grape growers and their families. Representing a tiny percentage of all Champagnes, grower offerings are as rare as your bae. One of my favourites is Pierre Gimonnet, Cuis 1er Cru, Brut (private liquor stores, approximately $70). This is a blanc de blancs, made only from chardonnay grapes, and it’s a super-fresh, focused wine with apples, citrus, white flowers, subtle toast and piercing minerality. Cupid would definitely approve.

“Bubs” are easy. Haywire’s the Bub is a shoe-in (private liquor stores, approximately $25-30). Made from pinot noir and chardonnay, this is a seriously good sparkling wine from the Okanagan Valley. Fresh and crisp, it has aromas of green apples, pears and subtle notes of bread, toast and spice. And if you want to go pink, there’s Baby Bub – a half-bottle offering of sparkling strawberries, raspberries and spice. (Baby) bubs everywhere are sorted.

If you have a “bo thang” in your life, you obviously aren’t constrained by convention. Opt for a more unusual grape – something as unique as she is. Italy is home to hundreds of less common varieties: aglianico, montepulciano, primitivo, nero d’avola, nerello mascalese to name a few. Amarone, from the Veneto region, is made from semi-dried corvina (mostly) grapes that give a big, full-bodied, concentrated wine. Plus, “Amarone” is so close to the Italian for love (“amore”), that you have to score some bonus points. The 2010 Masi Costasera, Amarone Classico is dense and complex (BCLDB approximately $50). Figs, plums, cherries, smoke, chocolate and floral notes jump out the glass and the palate is round and plush.

For all the honey buns, sweeties and baby-cakes it has to be something as sweet as they are. The 2014 Gehringer Brothers, Late Harvest Cabernet Franc is a dessert wine (BCLDB approximately $16/375 ml). It has a seductive nose of ripe blackberries, black cherries and strawberries – a perfect pairing with the chocolates that you’re buying – and the deep pink hue is Valentine’s Day perfect.

If you don’t have an angel-face, pudding pop, cuddly-wuddlly, pookie or dumpling in your life, indulge yourself with an elegant and refined Provencal rosé. The 2014 Caves D’Esclans, Whispering Angel (BCLDB approximately $28) has a classic nose of strawberries, peaches, citrus and a creamy palate of red fruit and spice, wrapped round a mineral core. Delicious and just what you deserve.

Enjoy Valentine’s Day – whatever is in your glass and whatever your nickname.

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