Experts Opine

What to Drink With Your Valentines


Holidays often carry heavy weight. The expectations included in say a New Year’s Eve, or Valentine's Day are enough to cause one undue panic. Well, we’re here to help you handle that panic, and bring your expectations in-line with reality, at least as far as your wine selection is concerned. You’re on your own for the rest of the details. Don’t screw up the gift!

We’ve asked our favorite wine writers what their  perfect Valentine’s Day wine is, and they’ve given us a fabulous range of wines to choose from. Read their thoughts for great inspiration and guidance this Valentine’s Day. On that note, I am a big fan of dessert wines for V-Day, so I also asked them to list their faves. Offering a little of my own guidance on the matter.

Susannah Gold

My indispensable Dessert Wine

Barbaresco, this Nebbiolo based wine is a tad more feminine than Barolo. I think it is a very elegant wine with finesse. Pio Cesare makes a beautiful one as does Produttori del Barbaresco and La Spinetta to name a few. Barbaresco is slightly warmer in climate than Barolo so its wines are a bit softer. They too contain the same beautiful aromas and flavors of flowers and spice but have mores supple tannins and a bit more minerality.
My indispensable dessert wine Vin Santo. I usually have one from Susanna Crociani in my home. Vin Santo, is made from dried grapes of Trebbiano and Malvasia, which are aged in Caratelli - small barrels and are aged in a Vinsantaia. It is nutty and has wonderful dried fruit and honey notes on the nose and palate.
Susannah Gold


Jameson Fink

Best Wine for Valentines Day 

NV Vilmart & Cie Champagne Cuvée Rubis. Rosé Champagne, always.
My indispensable Dessert Wine
Just get some Madeira. It's a treasure of a sweet wine with surprising zip that makes it nice to drink on its own, even before a meal or in the afternoon.
Jameson Fink


Eric Guido

Best Wine for Valentines Day 
Every wine can communicate a message, and when that message needs to say Happy Valentines, it's Amarone that I'm speaking with.  Amarone is a big, rich, sometimes a bit sweet Italian red that can often show a bitter twang.  It's a yin yang of a wine that pleases on so many levels.  Open an Amarone and watch the night heat up.
My indispensable Dessert Wine
In some circles, dessert wine is still looked down upon, and that's a total shame.  With examples coming from nearly every region, it's still Vin Santo that finds it's way to my table more often than anything else.  However, Moscadello di Montalcino has recently blown me away.  Pair it with a slice of ricotta cheesecake or almond biscotti, and be prepared to be amazed.
2008 Tenuta Col d'Orcia Moscadello di Montalcino Pascena - The nose showed floral notes with lemon, kiwi and sweet spice. On the palate, it was full-bodied and mouth coating yet still refreshing with sweet floral spice. The finish went on and on and never became tiring. It was a pleasure to drink.
Eric Guido


Anna Savino

Best Wine for Valentines Day 
Something chocolatey, sexy and velvety like a Twomey Merlot. Ruby red with dark berry and vanilla flavors.  
a spicy full-bodied Silverado Vineyards Solo Stags Leap District Napa Valley with lots of dark berry flavors, plums, an earthiness LUSH smooth finish.
My indispensable Dessert Wine
I have just discovered Passito di Loazzolo from Piemonte made from Moscato. I believe it is the smallest DOC in Italy. Tasted it with homemade blue cheese.
Azienda Agricola C. Bianca Vendemmia Tardiva 1999. Intense nose of candied fruit and vanilla with the sweetness and freshness of Moscato D'Asti on the palate.
Anna Savino


Laura Burgess

Best Wine for Valentines Day 
Barolo. Like love, it's both delicate and powerful. Gianfranco Alessandria 2009 Barolo is my pick at the moment. Delicate roses meet deep, dark earth on the nose leads into a palate that's super smooth with fresh red and black cherries and beautiful peppery spice. It's the perfect splurge for a special night.
My indispensable Dessert Wine
Valdespino Contrabandista Medium-Dry Amontillado Sherry.  Nutty, with hints of maple and cooked apricot flavors this is the perfect wine for a cheese course--especially if you're sharing with people who aren't crazy about dessert wine.


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  • Snooth User: Zuiko
    Hand of Snooth
    540750 833

    I have been a fan of dessert wines since the mid 70's and was a bit surprised to not see any Beerenauslese or Australian Tawny listed. Mid to lower Mosel Beerenauslese get my vote. Coming in at a close second are the Tawnies from Morris of Australia. I should mention Wente's Late Harvest Riesling as well, since it is a winner as well.

    Feb 12, 2014 at 5:54 PM

  • Snooth User: orink3
    1443504 27

    I like @Zuiko's choices, but I would suggest a "4 sips of each" tasting between any of those and a bottle of Hirschbach & Sohne's 2011 bottling of Piesporter Michaelsberg Riesling Auslese @ $ 13.00/ bottle... (or less). That addition won't set you back much more and will provide an interesting "bang for the buck" comparison.

    Feb 12, 2014 at 6:18 PM

  • Snooth User: EMark
    Hand of Snooth
    847804 7,294

    C'mon guys. Is everybody afraid being the one who picks the obvious? GDP came close when he suggested Terra Valentine Cabernet Sauvignon as an alternative to one of the Valentine's Day light meals the other day, but how can nobody pick Terra Valentine Amore?

    -- It has "Valentine" in the name.

    -- It has a heart on the label.

    -- It also has "Love" in the name.


    Feb 12, 2014 at 6:26 PM

  • Snooth User: qutiful
    1333123 36



    Feb 12, 2014 at 7:09 PM

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