Love it or hate it, Valentine's Day is upon us. Most people equate chocolate with this lovebird's holiday, but chocolate has been widely available only since the 1500s. I'd like to assert wine's place at the aphrodisiac table; after all, nobody strips down to their skivvies after too much chocolate. Wine on the other hand has an altogether different effect. After trying one of (or all) the following sexiest wines around, your Valentine's Day experience is sure to improve.
First thing's first, roll out of bed with your one and only (which could be just you, I'm not here to judge) and pour yourself a chilled glass of Moscato d'Asti. Produced in the northern Italian region of Piemonte, Moscato is lightly sparkling (frizzante in the parlance, which just sounds sexy to begin with), it's sweet, and it's low in alcohol. I can't think of a better way to begin your celebration/loathing of romantic holidays.
Now, nothing says hot and bothered better than Rose Champagne. There are many domestic pink bubblies, but for this occasion, you should splurge on the good stuff. By that, I mean the ones that say "Champagne" on the label. Very few wines, if any, spell l-o-v-e better than a great French pink sparkler. Plus, it'll go great with whatever you're making for brunch, whether it's heart-shaped chocolate croissants or breakfast burritos for one.
After your mid-morning nap (or whatever you want to call it) you'll need something to refresh your palate. Here's where you turn to possibly the most alluringly sensual wine on the planet, Sauternes. Hailing from Bordeaux, France, Sauternes is made from late- harvest Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon and usually is infected with that noblest of rots, Botrytis. Candied orange peel, sweet melon, an unctuous mouthful of this stuff will have you ready for whatever you have planned, even if it is watching a Lifetime marathon of Meg Ryan movies.
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Quit opening the freezer and staring at the carton of chocolate ice cream. Just open it already -- Sleepless in Seattle doesn't start for another 15 minutes. And while you're at it, crack a bottle of Brachetto d'Acqui. This sweet red sparkling wine also comes from Piemonte and definitely is in the dessert wine category, which those of us in the business like to call "stickies" (the more impolite among us call them "panty droppers"). Either way, three scoops of chocolate ice cream and a glass of Brachetto will go a long way toward wherever it is you'd like to go this Valentine's Day.
At the end of all of this merrymaking, a nightcap is just what you need. Port doesn't immediately conjure "sex appeal" -- it's more likely to remind you of a British gentlemen's club. But port is deceptively sexy, like a hot librarian. A good bottle of vintage, or LBV, port alongside a well-made chocolate bar is the perfect way to send yourself and whomever you've spent the day with off to bed with visions of Eros dancing in your head.
When I'm not writing this column of reading vintage charts to my daughter, you can find me pouring wine at FnB.