February 8, 2016 – Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Today on CTV Morning Live, Lianne Laing and I showcased some super sexy wines and foods that will make your Valentine’s day celebrations sweeter than you had ever imagined. Check out the video of the segment here: CTV Morning Live Video
A great wine and food pairing, like Osoyoos Larose red wine and a grilled steak, or an Inniskillin Icewine and Art-Is-In pastry, enhances the taste and experience of both the wine and the food making each taste better than they do on their own. Combine that recipe with aphrodisiac foods, high quality wines, and Valentine’s Day romantic celebration and you’re set to have more enjoyment than you could ever imagine!
Valentine’s Day does command ahrodisiac foods. For me chocolate immediately comes to mind and lets face it, who doesn’t love it? Chocolate contains a number of compounds associated with pleasure, well-being, and excitement,
such as phenylethylamine and anandamide. Chocolate also helps the brain produce feel-good serotonin. Now, be sure to indulge in the dark variety — it contains loads of antioxidants, whereas milk chocolate doesn’t…it’s just milk and sugar with a hint of cocoa.
Other aphrodisiac foods include oysters, caviar, and red wine – now we’re talking!
Oysters as an aphrodisiac sounds so clichéd, but they really can spark randiness. These shellfish are rich in zinc, a mineral that boosts the production of testosterone, which has been linked to a higher sex drive. No wonder Casanova, the 18th century lover, ate 50 raw oysters every day…
Caviar offers similar benefits as Oyster do,
(by the way, sparkling wine, such as Champagne, pairs beautifully with oysters and Caviar)
Red wine: In addition to relaxing you faster than a simultaneous foot and neck rub can, red wine contains resveratrol, an antioxidant that helps boost blood flow and improves circulation before and during you know what…
Vanilla: The erotic effects of vanilla have been the subject of numerous studies, with men in particular showing a strong sensual response. The aroma
not only lowers stress levels to get you in the mood, but also evokes warmth, indulgence and euphoria. Just happens that most oak-aged red wines have vanilla aromas as do many baked goods…hmmm…I like where this is going!
Since the beginning of time, well ancient Roman times anyway, strawberries have been regarded as romantic fruits. In fact, they’re the symbol for Venus, the Goddess of Love, which makes sense given they’re naturally heart-shaped and red in colour. Often referred to as the Valentine fruit, they’re a perfect choice for a romantic dessert option. Moreover, they’re also rich in Vitamin C, which helps to keep your blood flowing. So think of this as nature’s undercover Viagra. Plus, they’re perfect for dipping into warm, melted chocolate (another known aphrodisiac!) and who doesn’t like the thought of chocolate dipped strawberries, especially if paired with a sweet Icewine…
Today I’ve chosen Art-Is-In bakery as my decadent goodie provider to add more sweetness to your Valentine’s Day plans. One of the most creative and gastroliciously awesome bakery-restaurants in Ottawa, they bake out-of-this-world delicious pastries, along with exotic breakfast, lunch, and take-home dinner items every
day. Art-Is-In has got you covered with every meal you need to make your Valentine’s Day perfect. It truly is the one stop shop for everything your foodie-heart could ever desire. Check out this delicious Valentine’s dinner menu…(sign me up!!!):
So, let’s get started with some sexy and super delicious wines for your Valentine’s Day celebrations.
Starting off, I’ve got an epic red wine from the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. Osoyoos Larose’s ‘Le Grand Vin’ is well known for being one of the finest Bordeaux-blends in the Okanagan. Osoyoos Larose have been producing this world-class red wine for a decade and a half now using a winning combination of French winemaking expertise and ideal winemaking conditions from their vineyards in the far south of Canada’s pocket desert, the Okanagan Valley. I met recently with their talented French winemaker, Mathieu Mercier, and gained an ever better appreciation for the high quality and super complex wines he’s producing. This wine would be great with a main course like charcoal grilled filet mignon or you could even enjoy it with some extra dark chocolate, such as IXCACAO, as the tannins in each work great together and the flavour concentration in the wine is capable of standing up to some pretty bold flavours.
Osoyoos Larose’s 2010 Le Grand Vin is their 10th vintage of their flagship wine. A blend of 67% Merlot, 20% Cab Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot, 4% Cab Franc, and 3% Malbec, all harvested between mid-October and early-November. Upwards of 20 months of barrel aging, in a balance of new and one-year French oak, and after a couple years of bottle aging, this wine is now showing beautifully with all it’s components assembled in harmony. Although it would be easy for Osoyoos Larose to make a top selling 100% Merlot from their expressive high quality fruit, Osoyoos Larose instead focuses on blending their wines to produce the most complex wines available, just as they do in France, producing wines well suited for cellar aging that intrigue the taster with great depth of flavour and attractive texture. Following a two hour decant, this expressive wine shows layers of plum, black cherry, sage, cedar, underbrush, leather, and clove. Full bodied, rich and very well integrated, the fine tannins help support the rich fruit and savory notes making this wine ideal with premium grilled steaks, artisanal cheese or even organic Belizean dark chocolate such as IXCACAO. Enjoy 2016-2022. Tasted January 2016. 91+ points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca
Next up, for those that like a slightly sweeter style of red wine, Menage à Trois Midnight is a relatively new product that’s perfectly suited for a Romantic Valentine’s night. Whether it’s enjoyed while snuggling by the fireplace, or to complement a nice meal, the name alone would suffice to make it an interesting choice for Valentine’s Day celebrations but what’s in the bottle is what will do the trick! This sexy, volumptious, sweet and delicious red blend builds off the popular Menage a Trois and provides a slightly drier style of wine making it that much more suitable for enjoying with main courses, especially tangy BBQ fare or even mildly spicy Asian cuisine. Equally great on its own, this crowd pleasing wine is sure to be enjoyed by those that appreciate the bold sweet reds from California. Pop ‘n pour! Tasted January 2015. 88 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca
Now, one of my favourites for any celebration, sparkling wine! This one is perfectly suited for Valentine’s Day with the beautiful bright pink colour, the colour of love. The 13th Street Winery Cuvée Rosé sparkling wine from storied winemaker Jean-Pierre Colas (who’s made some of the finest wines in the world while working in France, and now is doing that in Canada!) is a great choice for many reasons this Valentine’s besides the colour, but the quality and taste make it a top pick for me. And, during February it’s $2.00 off so a great time to stock up as this wine is equally excellent in the spring and summer too.
13th Street Winery Cuvée Rosé is a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, with a hint of Gamay Noir. Produced in the same labour intensive manner as Champagne, this traditional method sparkling wine offers incredible value for such a lovely wine at such a low price.
This is a wine I’m really excited about. Dry with lively acidity and a fine palate cleansing mousse, it has lovely field berries, cran-apple, and mineral notes. Perfect as an aperitif, or on it’s own, and made even better with smoked salmon, charcuterie plates, or fresh garden salads with strawberries. Dip a strawberry in super dark chocolate on a special date night and let this wine take you to new places. Such a versatile wine and terrific value for a traditional method sparkling wine. Enjoy now or cellar for a few extra years.
Tasted March 2015. 91 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca
And now, what we’ve all been waiting for, the sweet ending, iconic, world-renowned Canadian liquid gold…Canadian Icewine! Inniskillin has been doing this the longest and they’ve built an incredible business and name in the industry as one of the finest Icewine producers. Their Icewine is sold around the world and loved by many. Given the challenging conditions required to produce Icewine, there aren’t many places that can do it and no other place that does it as well as Canada.
Today I’m showing a few incredible Icewines from Inniskillin. Starting off with their Sparkling Vidal Icewine…a bubbly Icewine…you can’t get anything sweeter or more refreshing than this on the planet!
From the masters of Vidal Icewine comes this sparkling take on a classic. It opens with intense apple and peach aromas, along with lovely baking spices. The sweetness on the palate is nicely offset by brilliant acidity, and the bubbles give extra effervescence to the delightful flavours of honey, peach preserves, cantaloupe and lemon custard. Chill and sip, or pair with peach tarts. (VINTAGES panel, June 2015)
The 1989 vintage of this Vidal Icewine won the Grand Prix d’Honneur at Vinexpo and put Canada on the global wine map. Delicious creamy peach, candied citrus peel and honey flavours. Delectable with raspberry mousse, pear tart or an assertive cheese such as Gruyère. Matt’s picks for Valentine’s Day are Art-Is-In pastries and other baked goodies.
Absolutely delicious. Strawberry-rhubarb flavour that would complement virtually any dessert you could imagine. Try Stilton cheesecake with rhubarb compote or homemade strawberry-rhubarb pie. Icewines are delicious with spicy Asian fare also, making these urber versatile and ultra sweet and refreshing wines great before, during, and after dinner. Tasted January 2016. 92 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca
Featherstone Select Late Harvest Cabernet Franc – $19.95 (375ml). This is the best value ‘IceWine’ you can find! Not officially called ‘IceWine’ because it was picked at -6C, not -8C or colder as required by law. So sweet, and refreshing, this is a must and would pair terrifically with any rich dessert, with chocolate, or fresh berries. Some of my favourite pairings for this wine include strawberry shortcake and raspberry scones. Tasted February 2015. 92+ points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca