Saturday, February 14, 2009

Be My Valentine (and Bring the Wine!)

With Valentine's Day today, I thought it would be fun to query some Chicago wine experts, the following question:
"What's the most romantic bottle of wine you have ever drank?"

Kyle McHugh of Drinks Over Dearborn:

"On my first visit to Bern’s Steak House in Tampa, Florida, I shared a bottle of 2002 Van Duzer Dijon Blocks Pinot Noir with my girlfriend Kelli. If you’re a fan of great food and wine, Bern’s is like Willy Wonka’s factory – I spent an hour just reading the menu and perusing the encyclopedia-esque wine list. Over this great bottle of Pinot from my homeland (I grew up about 30 minutes north of the Willamette Valley), I asked Kelli to live with me. We are now engaged and getting married in October of ’09. I don’t know if it was me or the wine that sealed the deal, but I’ll let the Van Duzer take a lot of the credit!"

From Rachel Driver, of Lush Wine and Spirits:

2004 SAXUM 'Heart Stone Vineyard', Paso Robles, California. This wine is all out sexy. Although I gravitate toward fairly eclectic, dry, dusty and austere Italian reds by default, I didn't want to think about my wine this particular evening. I wanted something lovely, delicious, and very accessible. Hence, the Saxum. Purchased from Lush in 2007, our very first 3 bottle allocation of Saxum, I drank the 'Heart Stone' by candlelight paired with a homemade, handcrafted Valentine's Day meal. Saxum is the 'estate' project of Justin Smith, meant to showcase the terroir of the James Berry Vineyard and the Templeton Gap...rocky calcareous soils, steep hillsides, and cooling ocean breezes speak through these wines. Yields are kept extremely low, fruit is handpicked at the peak of ripeness, and a minimalist approach is utilized in the cellar. Justin produces beautiful, structured, textured 'big' wines.

Tasting Notes:
This Central Coast blend of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre pours a deep, plush purple. Immediately, the nose is an intense array of black pepper and black fruit, a touch of toasty vanilla oak, and just a hint of dusty dark chocolate. The palate mirrors the aromas and builds with white pepper, weathered leather, blackberry and silky dark chocolate. This wine definitely tastes of West Side Paso...deep, rich, and full of spicy tannins. Definitely a sensuous, racy number...not shy, but flashy and rather elegant all at once. Yum!

From Anne Markovich-Girard of Robert Kacher Selections:

A bottle of Mas de Guiot Rose, on the deck, with grilled salmon, with my husband on a perfect July evening.

From Brian Wiig of Flow Wine Group:

Definitely when Meg and I enjoyed Ceretto Barolo 1997 with pizza in the moonlight on the Amulfi coast. It was a "life" experience!

From Michael Bottigliero of Eno and Windy City Wine Guy:

The most romantic bottle of wine I have ever drunk? I would normally like to say it was a red, but due to the story behind it, I would have to say Principessa Gavia Gavi. A young Italian Princess named Gavia ran away with a handsome soldier, against the wishes of her father. When news of their romance spread though the countryside, the father forgave them and threw a huge wedding. He gave them the town they were hiding in and named it Gavi along with the wine which the town produced.

Gavi is made from the Cortese varietal in Piedmonte. This particular wine is light and floral, with crisp acidity, lime and baked lemon flavor. It also has a hint of sparkle and white wine spice. A great value under $15 as well.

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