It’s February, and if your significant other hasn’t already reminded you, this is the month of love, per our favorite saint: St. Valentine. And, of course, we know the language of love is often à la Français, so we’ve got you covered. Your inspired wine club has found wines not only irresistible, but also French! Yes, these are delectable treats that will help set the tone with your sweetie on Valentine’s Day or any other day you seek some romance. Whether you lean toward whites or reds, this month features two amorous wines ready to bring a little passion to the day. In the immortal words of Earth Kitt, c’est si bon!
Schröder & Schÿler 2015 Chartron la Fleur, Bordeaux, France
With 86 points from Wine Enthusiast, you’re bound to enjoy this light and bright Sauvignon Blanc sourced from the Entre-deux-Mers region of Bordeaux. This wine is light, crisp and fruity, simultaneously citrus and floral. Its lime and grapefruit notes provide a vibrancy. A tang of lemon zest give the wine an even fresher character. Celebrating your Valentine’s Day with a lobster Newburg? An elegant seafood soufflé? Maybe oysters on the half shell? This is the wine to round out that meal. It complements any fish or seafood.
Arnoux & Fils Vacqueyras, Rhone, France
Another award-winner, this wine has been described by the Wine Advocate as “a more modern-styled, less –typique- as the French would say, well-made, dense wine with more pain grille/toast notes intermixed with espresso roast, kirsch, black currants and licorice.” We would probably just say that it’s a gorgeous blend of 70% Grenache, 25% Syrah and 5% Mourvedre. Its origin from old vines and 12 months of aging in oak barrels provides an impeccable richness. It is a bold, full-bodied wine, ready to marry up with a creamy steak au poivre, a succulent prime rib or even a garlicky pork roast. The only thing missing is Cupid.
Most of us return to our daily grind in January, trudging along slushy, icy sidewalks, racing to catch a train into Chicago or fighting to shovel our sidewalks as fast as the snow might fall. It can be a challenging time of year. Days are short. We see friends less often. And we yearn for a prettier, warmer time of year even on winter’s most picturesque days.
If only a dreary January day were more like this: strapping on a pair of ice skates to dash around the rink below Paris’ grand Hôtel de Ville. Or sauntering through a nighttime scene of the Champs-Elysées still festively lit up and punctuated with cries of “Chaud les marrons!” from vendors selling chestnuts roasting on hot coals. Or even better, taking in the smoky, cozy aromas of cassoulet, that classic white bean stew enhanced with sausages, pork and duck confit, as a waiter pours you the most amazing house wine you’ve ever had, in a café so petit that a wood stove makes the experience divine. Yes, we talk so much about Paris in the springtime, but winters there are just as magical. And it is exactly this kind of magic, and that “perfect” wine, we hope to provide you with this month. We can’t promise to erase a dreary, cold, damp day, but we hope these wines can provide for idyllic moments of your own in 2016.
2012 Château de Retout, Haut-Médoc Cru Bourgeois, Bordeaux
With 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot and 7% Petit Verdot, this lovely red wine will not disappoint. Both Wine Spectator and the Wine Enthusiast awarded it 88 points! Aged in French oak barrels for a year, the result is an earthy wine with fig, blackberry and black currant flourishes. Note a finish of graphite minerally-ness. This wine will mellow as it ages, with recommended enjoyment now through 2019. A lovely sipper in its own right, this wine also marries well with hearty fare, like a garlicky beef roast served on a bed of slow-roasted root vegetables.
2014 Viognier “Cuvée Stéphane Bouix,” Domaine Haut de Mourier, Languedoc
From the rocky limestone between Avignon and Nimes comes this elegant specimen of Viognier at its best. Known for its powerful aromas of peaches, apricots, and violets, Viognier is one of the world’s most recognizable grape varieties. And this embodies exactly that profile. The gorgeous golden color also entices. In the mouth, the fresh, well-balanced wine shows great richness, flavors of peaches, apples, pears, lavender and honey – and with a mesmerizing long finish. It is typically best-drunk young although it will be at its best through 2018. Viognier wine pairs well with creamy dishes and can handle spice, too. You might find it’s the perfect wine to accompany a luscious, coconut-y chicken Korma or a Moroccan tagine dotted with olives and dried apricots.