On Saint Valentine’s Day, you can’t go wrong with a bottle of wine. Every important moment of your Valentine evening calls for its own bottle: one chosen for its romance and sweetness, one for its sensuality, and one for its touch of surprising novelty. Follow our suggestions to awaken all your senses with the right bottle at the right moment.
If the wine is too good, though, is there not the risk that you fall in love with the bottle and not your date? Oh, the dramas that Valentine’s Day incites! And then there are the heart-wrenching decisions to make: romantic dinner at home or in a restaurant? Give the gift of a nice evening out spent together, or buy her a gift? And – the most difficult yet important of them all – which wine to drink? You know women don’t compromise when it comes to labels.
Don’t get too bent out of shape, because we can help you with that last decision with the suggestions of a professional. Wine Pass asked Gianpiero Gerbi for some drops of wisdom with two objectives to keep in mind: first, don’t finish the evening by drinking Barolo with popcorn; and second, propose wines that are agreeable to his and her palates, and that let the evening flow to a crescendo of sensuality and harmony of the senses. That shouldn’t be too hard, right?
Who is Gianpiero Gerbi? Oenologist for 28 years and a passionate wine taster, Gerbi is the palate and the nose that coordinates the team of tasters at Svinando. Svinando is a young and unique start up that acts like an online wine club by offering its members a changing selection of wine deals from all over Italy.
What are the right characteristics that a wine should have for St. Valentine’s Day?
“It shouldn’t be too intellectual, direct, or sensual. Valentine’s Day is one of those occasions in which a bottle needs to awaken and entice the senses. The choice of wine should therefore be well thought out.”
You mean we can’t just let ourselves go?
“A gift that’s appreciated has been given with the head: the Valentine’s Day bottle of wine should be seen as an important and thoughtful gift to your date. From personal experience, I can say that women aren’t especially impressed by important labels.” (…The personal experience of more than one guy here, ed.)
Should we amaze our date or focus more on the romance?
“You can do both. You can choose a label that will surprise her while keeping the tone of the evening intimate, always emphasizing the romance. But for St. Valentine’s Day, the wine must be chosen with the woman in mind. At least one time, let’s try to dedicate it to her.”
Scene one: Romantic dinner. The preliminaries.
“Begin with a white with some character, some great character. It should involve all the senses with something sweet (seduction), but its characteristics can be distinct from the palate. My advice is a Gewurztraminer from Alto Adige. It’s a wine that appeals to women and that touches upon excellence. It brings the attention of the evening to the wine at hand and awakens the senses.”
And the next move?
“Let’s concentrate on sweet wines and choose something decidedly … sexy. Strawberries and chocolate, for example, with their perfect pairing: a Malvasia di Castelnuovo Don Bosco.”
A wine unlike any other.
“It’s able to astonish someone beginning with its color: ruby, but slightly dark, a muted red. Just from its visual presentation, the Malvasia suggests an intimate evening in a secluded place lit by candlelight and softened with enticing shadows. In the mouth it’s frizzante, balanced between its sweetness and acidity, light because of its low alcohol content, and supported by an intense nose of rose and raspberry.”
Much better than a bunch of flowers! Let’s continue with the second scenario: restaurant, elegant dinner date.
“The key word is to astound. A nice bottle of Franciacorta bubbles is what you need. Let’s choose a Satén for the fine, delicate perlage, absolutely feminine but pleasing for both. And then let’s throw a red out there, classic, but with so much to discover.”
Not very original …
“And yet it is. We’re talking about a Nebbiolo from Alto Piemonte, coming from a unique zone, that surprises people every time: limited production, blended with Vespolina, spiced sensation, almost Oriental in character, able to transport a person to someplace exotic and far away. It’s a flight of fancy.”
Now we’re beginning to understand …
“It’s Boca. A wine that’s able to stand apart from the classic Nebbiolos, yet retain its importance and capacity for aging. It’s a true gem, definitely to try.”
We didn’t mention the wines for lovers: Pelaverga and Brachetto d’Acqui.
“Two excellent wines. I would suggest them to those who are already fans, however. They have a tendency to be both playful and intellectual, which would appeal to someone looking for a wine that’s a bit more complex.”
In conclusion, wine reconfirms its standing as an excellent Valentine’s Day ally.
“Exactly. On Svinando in these days, we’re proposing a wine studied just for the occasion. It’s the 1861 San Valentino Umbria IGT. A wine with a rich and seductive body, an explosion of flavors for an evening of passionate sentiments. And we’ve had an incredible response. We sold out just a few days ago.”