Oftentimes suggestive language is used to describe wine such as soft, elegant, bold or racy. If you are giving wine as a gift for Valentine’s Day, these are certainly descriptors you might want to see on the back label of a wine bottle. But do you really want to the read the back of every wine bottle? What if it was right on the front label instead?
Flirt is a “playful and provocative” California red blend made up of syrah, carignane, grenache and tempranillo. It is a fruit-forward red with hints of spice as well as toasty vanilla and toffee. An inexpensive wine, this would be perfect for a first Valentine’s Day gift. The name of the wine and the price doesn’t put too much pressure on the giver or the receiver!
If you are a fan of sarcasm like me, the wine you might choose would be Troublemaker. A bright red label keeps the Valentine spirit alive, and the full-bodied flavor certainly plays into the name. This is a blend of syrah, grenache, mourvedre, zinfandel and petite sirah hailing from Paso Robles in California. According to the folks at Troublemaker, this wine is “crafted with pleasure in mind” and has big flavors of red berries, pepper and cocoa.
How about a little Zin-Phomaniac to spice up your Valentine’s Day? OFFBeat Brands has introduced this new zinfandel with original artwork on the label that suggests the classic pin-up girl posters of an earlier era. OFFBeat Brands calls it a “hedonistic, plush, full-bodied wine with a bold and voluptuous mouth feel.”
Michael David Winery is very well known for huge wines with high alcohol contents, and Lust Zinfandel is no exception. At a whopping 16.9 percent alcohol, this zinfandel will warm any Valentine’s heart. Lust is blended with a little bit of petit sirah to increase its tannic structure and help balance the ripe fruit of the zinfandel. Flavors of dark raspberry and toasted caramel combine with hints of cinnamon, spiced gingerbread and chocolate abound in this rich and decadent wine.
It seems as if red blends and zinfandels have capitalized on Valentine’s Day appropriate labels, but I’ve saved the most romantic recommendations for last. The Beau Vigne Vineyard out of Napa Valley has two cabernet sauvignons named Romeo and Juliet.
As its name implies, the Juliet is lighter in style than the Romeo. The big, rich dark fruit brings to mind plums and black cherry, and the time spent in French oak gives it a beautiful background of vanilla and toasted butterscotch. The subtle acidity and nice, soft tannins keep the wine really pure and elegant, but there is a complexity with this wine that continues to grow as the wine opens up once you’ve pulled the cork.
Romeo Cabernet is a powerful and bold cabernet. Layers of flavor make this cabernet a hard wine to pin down, but it all works together to make a really gorgeous wine. There is more spice and herb notes in this cabernet than the Juliet. Massive fruit flavors, including blackberry, plum and black cherry, mix well with the baking spice flavors imparted by the French oak barrels in which the wine is held during aging.
Whether you are ready to “Flirt” or go all in with “Romeo” and “Juliet,” there is a wine out there for you.