Valentine vino 

Valentine’s Day brings out the silliness in some, and this writer is no exception. Some winemakers, alas, are goofy year ’round, and one such is Bonny Doon’s Randall Grahm — who would counter that his wines are entirely serious, even if he isn’t.  

We can start with his Syrah Le Poseur. Potentially emblematic of anyone “seeking same” through the personals or an online site, it is endowed with “an especially seductive perfume,” per Grahm. Once the hookup has been made, we can move on to his Cardinal Zin. In Grahm’s words, this zinfandel is characterized by “fervent, fecund, and tongue-enveloping pleasures” — evocative of the early phases of infatuation, in other words.  

The Aussies are also irreverent when it comes to wine names, Mollydooker (left-hander) being one that comes to mind. But closer to a hearts and flowers theme is The Love Grass by the dependable folks at d’Arenberg. Sadly, this earthy shiraz isn’t really suggestive of a tumble in the weeds but rather is named for a seed that sticks to vineyard workers’ socks. (The intended recipient will probably never get around to reading the back label if the seducer plays his or her cards right.)

While still on the bucolic theme, there’s Picnique Red Cuvée, a wine from Northern California evocative of Southern France. It’s the perfect budget bottle of wine for that special thou beside you on a blanket in the wilderness.  

If your relationship has now progressed to the point that you occasionally need to apologize for straying, there’s always the single-rose approach in the form of Rose Shocking, a beautiful rosé of cabernet franc from Montesquieu. For multiple indiscretions, there’s the full bouquet of George Duboeuf’s flower series, representing many of the wine villages of Beaujolais. The winery’s French website calls the relationship between Duboeuf and Beaujolais a “histoire d’amour,” the wines a “happy marriage” between the fruit and its terroir. One could do worse. 

If a happy marriage, sanctified or not, is indeed yours, now’s the time for a splurge; the Terra Valentine Cabernet from California’s Spring Mountain is truly worth the outlay of around $42; s/he will love it. But if things have gone irrevocably sour, revenge is both sweet (metaphorically) and cheap in the form of the $12 Bitch grenache from Australia. The wine’s name came about with the breakup of a wine partnership, but could equally well apply to a more carnal one. Sorry if it seems sexist, but I don’t know of one labeled SOB — though there is a Fat Bastard line, come to think of it. 


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