Today on CTV Morning Live, CTVs Trisha Owens and Sommelier Matt Steeves showcased some sexy wine picks that are perfectly suited for a romantic Valentine’s date night.
When planning a special Valentine’s date night, there are so many wine styles from all over the world to complement and enhance your night. From starting the evening with a bottle of Champagne, to enjoying a decadently sweet ending with a glass of world-renowned Canadian Icewine, and many great wine styles in between, there are no shortage of sexy wines to enjoy and we’ve got a great line-up to share with you today for your romantic Valentine’s date night!
Valentine’s Day is also a great time to enjoy aphrodisiac foods like chocolate.
Chocolate contains a number of compounds associated with pleasure, well-being, and excitement, such as phenylethylamine and anandamide (the ‘bliss’ or ‘joy’ molecule). Chocolate also helps the brain produce feel-good serotonin which you can never have too much of, can you?
Other aphrodisiac foods include oysters, caviar, vanilla, and red wine – yes, wine! Just one of many benefits of enjoying a glass or two of wine. No wonder why we love it so much!
Here is a short list of some aphrodisiac foods that you may want to add to your date night, and pair with some great wines.
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, boosting libido. By the way, sparkling wine, such as Champagne, pairs beautifully with oysters and Caviar… try a delicious bottle of traditional method bubbly with some fine caviar or oysters on the half shell and enjoy the complementary pairings and the possible side effects…
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…hmmm, so a nice California Cabernet seems like an essential ingredient for a romantic Valentine’s date night!
Strawberries: 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 Canadian Icewine like the Inniskillin Vidal Icewine.
Enough of that, let’s get into my top romantic wine picks. This year I decided to showcase some of my favourite wines from romantic wine regions, including California, Niagara, and Verona (Italy) – the home of Romeo and Juliet, the international city of love!
So, let’s get into the wines that I chose to showcase for your Valentine’s date night.
Bubbly is a must!!! When it comes to Valentine’s, traditional method sparkling wines, especially Rosé bubbly, makes the ultimate statement!
Here are a couple gorgeous examples of fine traditional method sparkling wines…
Moët & Chandon is celebrating 276 years as one of the world’s most celebrated Champagne houses. The Rosé Impérial is a soft rose-petal pink with coral highlights and a fine-textured mousse. Lifted aromas and flavours of strawberry , citrus, rose petal and fresh pastry. Dry, with medium body and palate-cleansing acidity. Fantastic on its own, or when paired with popcorn, it’s also delicious with seafood, game, cheese, and even desserts. Champagne is one of the most food-friendly wines and this is a fantastic example! Also, in addition to it being one of the finest Champagnes available, here’s a neat tidbit of trivia, Roger Federer is the brand ambassador for this Champagne House.
Ferrari has been producing world-class Methodo Classico sparkling wine since 1902. A pioneer in premium Italian traditional method sparkling wine production, Ferrari, has been loved by many around the world for over a century. Not to be confused with another iconic Italian brand, this Ferrari has relied only on its delicious wines to build its international following. The founder’s focus on creating a luxurious sparkling wine continues today with this third generation family business as Ferrari sparkling wine is enjoyed by many of the world’s celebrities as their celebration wine of choice. Fortunately, this is the most affordable Ferrari, and Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine you can find, making it very accessible to all, not just those A-list celebs.
The Ferrari Brut is a non-vintage Blanc de Blancs (Chardonnay only) sparkling wine that was disgorged after over two years on its lees. The colour is a rich straw yellow, with a nose of sweet baked apples and pears, vanilla bean, biscuit, and wet stone. The delicate mousse has a wonderful palate cleansing rich tree fruit and lemon curd finish. A very attractive and complex wine that sells for under $30, making it an absolute buy-by-the-case wine! Some of the finest bubbles I’ve enjoyed, especially at that price! Tasted December 2014, October 2015, and September 2016. 92+ points each tasting. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca
PS: In 2016 Ferrari’s Brut won the prestigious “Best Italian Sparkling Wine” & “World Champion Classic Blanc de Blancs” at the Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championship! Incredible awards for a $25 Blanc de Blancs!
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 great value and is a go-to for many when looking for a fine bubbly. Dry with lively acidity and a fine palate cleansing mousse, it has lovely field berries, cran-apple, strawberry shortcake/biscuit, 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. 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, January 2016, April 2017, and August 2019. A consistent 91 points each tasting. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca
Rich and juicy Chardonnay is a great option for anyone that loves white wine…here’s one of my top local wines that will certainly be a hit this Valentine’s!
The 2017 Le Grand Clos Chardonnay explodes from the glass with ripe tropical fruits, pineapple, baked apple, perfumed spring blossoms, and sweet yet subtle vanilla bean notes. One taste of this fine wine showcases how rich, complex, and unique it is, and serves as a great reminder for how loved Le Grand Clos was in earlier vintages and how much it’s been missed until now! Full bodied and beautifully textured, with zesty citrus, ripe orchard fruit, creamy butter, and toasty lees persisting on the long finish. A great example of what exceptional terroir and skilled winemaking can achieve when they overlap. I greet the return of Thomas Bachelder and Le Grand Clos with open arms and thank him, once again, for showing what’s possible here in Ontario. This is an outstanding expression of Niagara Chardonnay that I’d recommend enjoying over the next decade. A terrific wine to begin a vertical with in anticipation of other great vintages of Le Grand Clos to come. Tasted November 2019. 94 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca
Pinot Noir, so commonly known as the heart break grape, given the challenges that winemakers go through trying to grow Pinot successfully throughout the year. Pinot is also a grape that many have a love interest in…and you can count me in that camp. I love a fine Pinot, and although some can costs thousands a bottle, you can find great Pinot at affordable prices, which I’ve got a wonderful (local) for you to try today.
Icellars 2015 Pinot Noir is light ruby in colour with a garnet hue. The aromas show the warmth of the vintage with sweet baked goods (imagine fresh gingerbread cookies), spice box, dried cherry, sweet herbs, and flinty minerality that shows the complexity of this premium Ontario Pinot Noir. Tart cherry and spice on the palate, with fine tannins and refreshing acidity providing the structure to this incredibly well balanced Pinot. Great on its own, yet the subtle texture and zesty mineral finish complement grilled salmon with fresh dill beautifully. Enjoy year round and drink 2017-2022. Tasted April 2017. 91-92 points. Matt Steeves
Now, I’ve got a couple wines from the City of Love, Verona! Verona is famous for the the love story of Romeo and Juliet, and the famous balcony and ‘Juliet wall’ that hosts a million love notes, but it’s also famous for gorgeous Valpolicella wines, and these are both gems! Pictured below are photos of Verona’s ‘Juliet’s wall’ in the city centre of beautiful Verona, Italy.
Starting off with a Ripasso…
Ripasso’s offer exceptional value. Farina’s (2013) Ripasso is no exception to that rule. A blend of 45% Corvina, 20% Corvinone, 25% Rondinella, 5% Molinara, 5% Dindarella, don’t worry if those don’t ring a bell, as those are the tasty and traditional grapes found exclusively in Valpolicella wines, including the storied Amarone, and it’s little brother, Ripasso. Farina’s Ripasso was refermented on the skins of their Amarone grapes, to concentrate flavours and produce a silky smooth texture. The nose shows dark cherry, raspberry, clove, cedar and leather. The palate is juicy and smooth with dark cherry, plum, and spice on the finish. A great wine to enjoy with beef brisket, grilled lamb, firm cheese, or simply on it’s own. 88 points. Matt Steeves
And voila, the icon of Valpolicella…Amarone!
Bold, layered, and full flavoured – Farina’s Amarone is a wine that everyone will love! Rich and delicious, it’s packed full of black cherry, plum, dried figs, nutmeg, BBQ smoke, and cedar. Full bodied with a velvety smooth texture, sweet dried fruits and refreshing savoury flavours persist on the long finish. It’s no wonder why Canadians love this Amarone so much! Enjoy with Risotto all’Amarone, beef medallions with figs and blue cheese, and save a splash for dessert and enjoy with dark chocolate – all incredible pairings with this wine! Score – 93 – Matt Steeves www.quercusvino.ca
Now, moving to Niagara, where they’re renowned for more than their waterfalls. Yes, Niagara Falls is unofficially know as the eighth natural wonder of the world, but for me, especially this time of year, it’s their ultra premium Icewine (and terrific cool-climate Chardonnay) that get me excited, which is why I chose to include one of each in my top Valentine’s date night wine picks.
Canada is renowned for its prized Icewine production, and Inniskillin is Canada’s original estate winery that’s become world-famous for their ultra premium Icewines. The 2014 Riesling Icewine is exceptionally rich and decadent. Equally refreshing, it’s perfectly suited for enjoyment with spicy Asian cuisine as the rich sugary texture provides the ultimate relief to the spiciest dishes. Equally incredible with the richest desserts, Icewine is so versatile it’s perfectly suited for enjoying with just about any meal you can imagine. Enjoy over the next couple decades, served chilled with good company. Tasted January 2016. 95 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca
I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s and that you’re able to enhance your special evening with a few of these wine picks, which IMHO are the perfect catalyst to heat up this chilly Canadian Valentine’s.