Romance is in the air this Valentine’s month, with the cooing of turtle doves and the twang of Cupid’s bow drowning-out the usual clatter of the word-processor as I write this piece. Our food theme is romantic too, so what wine should you serve with an intimate dinner; perhaps on the 29th with an important question waiting to be asked? Pink fizz is always suitable for such an occasion, but make it a good one like the finest rosé Champagne from Billecart-Salmon. A more modest sum will buy the lovely Cuvée Napa rosé, made by Mumm in California and widely available. Perhaps the most aptly named wine for the occasion is St. Amour, a silky red from the Beaujolais. This is a “Cru” Beaujolais from a top village – a world removed from cheap and cheerful Beaujolais Nouveau.
Domaine de Pontcher Tourraine Sauvignon
Lively, fresh nose of gooseberry and exotic lychees. Crisp on the palate, it is dominated by zippy pear and apple fruit with a tangy lemon and herb acidity in the finish. This will cut through the creamy risotto very nicely.
Organic Soave Superiore
A classic Italian wine for a classic Italian dish. This has a lovely honeyed richness and floral edge to ripe pear and citrus fruit. Quite full on the palate, there are layers of peachy fruit and fine acidity. A cracking Soave.
Capelands Ruby Cabernet
From sunny South Africa comes a wine filled with blackcurrant and red berry fruit, but also a suitably earthy quality. On the palate it is easy to drink, the fruit is simple and forward yet there’s enough tannin to keep it fresh.
Chianti San Vito
What a wonderful Chianti this is. A gorgeous nose crammed with juicy black cherries, nutmeg, tobacco and polished-wood leads on to a palate brimming with succulent, crunchy black fruits. But there’s also a definite spark from a bitter plum-skin edge and grippy tannins.
Bonterra Cabernet Sauvignon
Sumptuously rich cassis aromas rise from the glass with this Californian wine. There are super-sweet violet notes and plenty of vanillin oak. The palate strikes a fine balance between unctuous fruit and a bitter-sweet firmness. The finish is long and lip-smacking.
Love-heart sweets spring to mind on nosing this flowery, peach and mango scented wine, which is rather appropriate. There are nuances of darker, rum-soaked sultanas too. The palate is deliciously sweet, with honeyed peaches and light, zipping acidity. Modest in alcohol at only 8.5%, it would be perfect with this month’s passion fruit dessert.