When it comes to Valentine’s Day, wines are gender-neutral.
By Roger Morris
It is more than being politically correct to say that wine is gender-neutral. In the past, both wine writers and consumers have tended to refer to wines as being “masculine” or “feminine” based on their color and fragrance and also in relation to their tannins and alcohol content. Burgundy was even cast as a feminine wine, and Bordeaux as masculine.
Similarly, it was the assumption that women would want to sip white, pink and bubbly wines, while men always drank red, and thus the former was always recommended for Valentine’s Day, along with the roses and chocolates, because it was a woman’s holiday.
That notion is no longer acceptable, and it was never an accurate one. So what we have for this Valentine’s Day are some wines that are smooth and elegant and some that are bolder and assertive. If you are in love or being loved, make your own choice. We’re even adding a 13th bottle for good luck.
And while we’re in a romantic mood, take a look at the “Wishing Tree” (photo above), located at the Belden Barns wine estate in Sonoma – a place where guests can hang their romantic wishes that perhaps will come true.
2019 Theorem Moon Mountain Sauvignon Blanc ($48). This Sonoma white has lovely floral aromas to go along with its Bordeaux-style textures, with flavors of honeycomb, Asian pear, light citrus and tart apple-skin notes.
2018 Vietti Moscato d’Asti ($16). Minerally and fizzy with soda-pop grapey flavors – a little more concentrated in structure and flavors than the Moscato that follows below but equally low in alcohol.
NV Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut ($19). Lightly tart fruit with good flavor intensity and minerality.
2019 Marquesi di Gresy “La Serra” Moscato d’Asti ($19). Lovely fruitiness – red raspberries and candied violets – in this lightly sparkling, low-alcohol (5 percent) fizz that tickles the palate and has a long finish.
2019 Anarchist “15 Minutes of Fame” Clarksburg Sparkling Rosé ($32). More frothy on the pour than bubbly on the palate, the wine is very engaging and enjoyable with light strawberry fruit and a satisfying crispness in the finish – food perfect.
2010 Gloria Ferrer “Carneros Cuvée” Late-Disgorged Sparkling Wine ($68). Very intense bubbles that balance mellow fruit and a delicious, toasty finish.
2013 Nyetimber “Tillington” Single Vineyard English Sparkling Wine ($133). A mature and lovely sparkler that has a lot of savory, lightly herbal notes along with flavors of the skins of apples and pears.
2019 Sonoma Cutrer Russian River Valley Rosé of Pinot Noir ($22). Very refreshing with lots of acidity and citrus flavors – orange and grapefruit – and a metallic minerality.
2017 Donnafugata “Floramundi” Cerasuolo di Vittoria ($30). Very lively and rich, yet with bright cherry and black raspberry fruit.
2017 Frank Family Napa Valley Zinfandel ($38). A vibrant, lively Zin with bright and lightly tart berry flavors and good acidity.
2018 Belden Barns “Epiphany” Sonoma Mountain Grenache ($50). Just a lovely wine and a very granular one – the difference between eating a fresh black raspberry and drinking raspberry juice. It has very fresh fruit tempered by a Rhone-like earthiness and lots of lingering fruit in the finish.
2017 Inman Family “OGV” Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($73). Delicious! Very flavorful with ripe but not overly rich cherry flavors, well-balanced with a few savory notes.
2017 C. Elizabeth “Game Farm Vineyard” Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon ($150). Very Medoc-like with concentrated yet lean blackberry fruit and dry herbal savory notes with good acidity and dusty tannins.
Prices listed are generally SRP or from wine-searcher.com. As more wineries are now shipping direct-to-consumer, check the winery website if you can’t find a bottle in your retail store.