A Valentine’s day wine

Around the world, love is the same. But wines carry a distinctive character that only the soil and climate of that region can produce.

There are still those who insist that chocolate doesn’t pair well with wine. We beg to differ. Tell that to someone who has tasted a fine Spanish Madeira while munching on the best French truffles. The robust, fruity taste of this heavy red stands up well to even the darkest chocolate. Neither overpowers the other.

Or, consider how romantically perfect is a pairing of fine strawberries with a delicate Champagne from Champagne, the famed region in France that gives its name to this sparkling wine. Be bold and go against tradition. Dip the strawberries in chocolate sauce.

Even a fine Gew├╝rztraminer, a light German wine, will be appreciated by lovers around the world. Think romance and Germany may not come first to mind. But Goethe and Schiller were THE romantic poets/playwrights of the 19th century – when Valentine’s Day was invented. Indeed, this flavorful, dry white is the perfect way to say ‘I love you’. You can just say it to the glass while that special someone is near enough to hear.

But, you protest, Valentine’s Day is associated with red. No argument there. Have it both ways. Go with a superb Cabernet Sauvignon made in the heart of Portugal. Too strong? Select a delicate ros├ę from California and serve it with some roses.

No, you need something a little more passionate. Never fear, there are lots of choices. A French Framboise with an infusion of raspberries will provide the fruity red that says ‘Meet me after work’. There’s nothing more passionate than a wine with the exact ingredients needed to celebrate this day dedicated to love.

Some of that French influence migrated to Canada generations ago. Try a fine Chardonnay from Quebec and find out why this region – making wine since the 1800s – produces wines that lovers have truly loved for the past 25 years.

New Zealand is known for its passion, as well. Thankfully, that comes in liquid form ala the great Syrahs from down under. Say shazam and a shiraz will appear that will light your heart on fire.

Surely, you haven’t forgotten about Italy? No country in the world is more closely associated with romance, after all. It also happens to be one of the major wine producers. Methinks, that’s no accident. Enjoy a superb Merlot from Tuscany and you’ll soon know what love is all about.

And, while we’re on the subject of geography and wines…. America has its own distinctive contribution to the world: Zinfandel. If this hearty red doesn’t get your blood racing, you probably shouldn’t be celebrating Valentine’s Day at all.

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