We often talk about the best food to pair particular wines with but, on this occasion, I am prescribing a pairing with love. Very apt considering Valentine’s Day is around the corner. Popular culture is alight with references to wine and love; there are many magical moments in films, classic literature texts littered with clinking glasses and songs across the ages and genres that mention the ‘good stuff.’ Why? Maybe it’s the endorphins that are released when we have a glass, or maybe it’s the fact that the ‘theatre’ of opening and sharing a bottle of wine can be romantic in itself. Whatever the reason, sharing a good bottle of wine brings about its own ‘moment.’
Hollywood has tapped into the pairing of wine and love for years; one of the most memorable scenes in Casablanca (1942) is when the iconic line ‘Here’s looking at you kid’ Is delivered by Humphrey Bogart in a joyful Champagne toast to Ingrid Bergman in Paris, with a Champagne saucer in hand and ‘As time goes by’ playing on the piano. Ticking all the boxes there, Bogart.
We often drink wine in a celebratory way and what better to celebrate than the notion of love. However, there are historical and mythological references that empower the actual wine itself. Let’s take a look at the Zibibbo grape (also known as Muscat of Alexandria). Not only is it said to have been the grape of choice used for ‘wooing’ one another amongst ‘the Gods,’ but it is colloquially called ‘The Grape of Love,’ arguably as it was Aphrodite’s favourite grape and she was the Goddess of Love.
With all this said, at Vineyards we believe that a love for wine is enough reason to crack open a bottle. So, whether you are raising a glass to yourself or you are creating your very own ‘magical moment’ with someone you love, we’ve got three delicious suggestions this month.
Domaine de Nizas ‘Le Clos’ Rosé, £15 p/btl
From grapes grown on the heights of the medieval town of Pezenas in the Languedoc region of France, Domaine de Nizas’ rosé is a fresh and delicate expression of red berries, fleshy peach and a touch of blossom. If you like the more elegant and dry style of ‘the pink stuff’ this is definitely worth a try. Lastly, it looks divine; a very pretty pink hue and a glass bottle with glass closure that frankly, looks the business.
Rivani Chardonnay, £10.75 p/btl
Made by a Prosecco producer, but not Prosecco. This sparkler is something a little different and a true gem; it’s a stunning little wine for those who like a bit of structure to their fizz. Lush apple and pears at the forefront, but followed up by some biscuity goodness. It’s a fizz that simply delivers on everything that its dinky and voluptuous looking bottle promises – plus it doesn’t break the bank.
Pellegrino Passito Pantelleria Liquoroso 50cl, £15 p/btl
Cantine Pellegrino is one of Sicily’s most important and prosperous wineries. Today, they are one of very few families who can trace their lineage back to the original 19th Century founders of the Marsala trade. These luscious passito styles made from Zibibbo ‘Grape of Love’ are widely regarded as Italy’s finest sweet wines. They are produced on the tiny, volcanic island of Pantelleria which lies 100km southwest of Sicily and 60km east of the Tunisia. Pair this ‘nectar of the Gods’ with a lip-licking dessert for a real ‘magical moment’. Bellissimo!