10 Storytelling Wines for Valentine’s Day

Impress your sweetheart with some fresh wine knowledge.


There are countless delicious wines you could enjoy with your Valentine this year, but this special holiday calls for more than just outstanding. You need a wine that tells a tale; one preferably told over a candle-lit dinner. With this in mind, here are ten terrific Valentine’s Day bottles that provide intrinsically romantic stories -- in addition to a good drink.

Tell your Valentine, “This wine is so hot right now…”  

The color red is everywhere on Valentine’s Day, including this Cava. And everywhere you look  these days, you’re seeing Cava. Exports are surging largely thanks to the Millennial generation’s affinity for the beverage. Red flowers, strawberry and a bit of crème fraiche light up the nose. Red cherry and strawberry lead a cavalcade of fresh red fruit on the palate. White pepper and hints of hazelnut appear on the finish. This crisp Cava will pair well with an exceptionally wide range of foods.
Click here for more Cava factoids. 

Tell your Valentine, “This wine comes with a REAL story…” 
Henry’s Drive wines each have a different theme tied to the Australian Postal Service, of all things. This offering combines the concept of love letters with Hawthorne’s signature story, The Scarlet Letter. Black cherry and raspberry lead the nose. Oodles of bold dark berry fruits fill the juicy palate. The finish shows off a cornucopia of spices and chocolate covered raspberry characteristics. Whether you want to pair it with leg of lamb, pork or conversely rich chocolate desserts it will work. All of that makes this a delicious love letter for the big day.
Click here for Cliffs Notes on The Scarlet Letter.

Tell your Valentine, “You’re never going to believe this wine grape…” 
This wine is made with the Pais wine grape, which used to be a mainstay in Chile but fell out of favor due to the rise of Bordeaux varietals. It produces low-tannin, easy-drinking red wines from incredibly old vines that were brought to Chile by the Peruvians in the 16th century. The success of this beautiful wine has help put the grape back on the map. Pais was a damsel in distress, now rescued – how romantic.  The nose is a bit austere and the palate perfectly dry with tenacious red fruits, loads of spice and a memorable finish. It’s a perfect wine to kick-start a celebration!
Learn more about the Chilean wine experience here

Tell your Valentine, “This wine comes to us from Pierce Brosnan…”
This selection comes from a single vineyard block in the Dry Creek Valley (Sonoma). It happens to be Block 007, so for all we know secret agent James Bond is involved (though the winery says otherwise). If he was involved he probably wouldn’t tell us anyway. That makes this an intriguingly sexy and mysterious bottle for the holiday of romance. It’s a bit enigmatic in the glass too: dark as night when you pour it. Its intense dark fruit aromas and bits of violet fill the nose. Tons of sweet berry fruit informs the layered palate. More dark fruits and wisps of chocolate continue on the lengthy finish.
Click here or more sounds bites on Sonoma wines.

Tell your Valentine, “This wine comes with a trip to the museum…”
The label art for this wine dates to 1591. It comes from a painting by Flemish artist Jacob de Backer. The piece speaks to the yin-yang components of extreme drunkenness juxtaposed with the morning after aftermath. It was created as an allegorical warning to "use wine sparingly or suffer the consequences." If you and your Valentine stick to just one bottle you’ll likely only experience the unbridled joys. Plums, blueberries and violets appear on the nose. The palate is studded with mouthwatering black and purple fruits. Plum pudding spices, chocolate sauce and chicory are all part of the long finish. Pair it with a full flavored holiday meal.

Tell your Valentine, “It’s from Italy…’nough said.” 
Italy is responsible for some of the most romantic wines in the world. This 100% Sangiovese wine brings to mind offerings from neighboring Brunello, but at a better value. Sip and contemplate this one over a leisurely meal with your love. Leather, violets and red plum aromas inform the nose. Red and black cherries and plums along with a host of spice fill the substantial palate. Earth, kirsch liqueur and leather are all apparent on the long finish. Firm, racy acid adds to the mouth quenching quality.
Learn more about Vino Nobile di Montepulciano here.

Tell your Valentine, “This wine will teach you how to dance…”
Rod Strong, the founder of Rodney Strong, was a professional dancer until he decided to bet it all on his love for wine. He was one of the first to plant extensive vineyards in Sonoma in the early 1960s, a time when wine was seldom found in the area. He eventually owned thousands of acres in Sonoma and Mendocino Counties. How’s that for a story that gets you on your feet? Bits of cigar box and cherry fill the nose. The palate is stuffed with spices and red fruits. Cranberry, rhubarb and continued spices dominate the long, crisp finish. This is a very good Pinot for the price.
Learn more about Rodney Strong here.
Tell your Valentine, “This Italian wine grape is the Next Big Thing…”
The story of Acorn Winery is one of love. Betsy and Bill Nachbaur have been tending the vines on their Russian River property for 25 years, and they raised their family on the land where they grow wine. Here, they’ve poured their love into the Dolcetto wine grape, which brings high tannins with low acidity.  It hails from Italy, and is quietly growing in popularity. Black, brooding fruit fills the dense nose. Sour black and red fruits, cherry and rhubarb dominate the palate. Bitter chocolate and spice are present as well. Blackberry characteristics emerge on the lengthy finish.
Click here to find out why Dolcetto is the next big grape.

Tell your Valentine, “It’s possible to visit Chile and France at the same time!” 
This Bordeaux blend is a premier selection from Chile. It uses Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carménère grapes – all the best of Bordeaux at an incredibly reasonably price. Grab this now before the prices shoot sky high! Cherry aromas and bits of spice emerge from the nose. Red and black fruits along with savory herbs dominate the remarkably cohesive palate. Rhubarb, black pepper, and minerals dot the memorable finish. 

Tell your Valentine, “This is a Cali Cab…”
California Cabernet is synonymous with quality. Brothers Stu and Charlie Smith have grown wine on their estate for over 40 years. The wines represent exceptional value, as the brothers keep their prices quite fair considering their premier location atop Spring Mountain in the Napa Valley. The elevation maxes out at 1,900 feet.  If you decide to take your sweetie for a visit to the winery someday, you’ll be in for a real treat: The Smith Brothers personally host all tastings (by appointment only). This wine is top-notch, and there’s nothing sexier than buying your love the best of something. Red and black fruit fills the nose of Cabernet Sauvignon along with hints of toast and vanilla. The palate is full flavored with excellent weight. White and black pepper, blackberry, and chocolate notes are all evident. Earth, cocoa, and plenty of spice are present on the persistent finish.
Gabe Sasso is a freelance writer. In addition to his own blog, GabesView.com, founded in 2007, he has been the wine columnist for Bullz-Eye.com since January of 2009, and writes a weekly Wine & Spirits column for The Daily Meal. In 2009 he founded Drink Dry Creek, dedicated to that appellation in California. His curiosity about wine stems from, in no small part, his large Italian family. Most of his uncles, his father and his grandfathers were home wine makers. With that and many childhood trips to Italy as his baptism into wine, his wine interest flourished. 

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