As a manager of fine wine boutique Oeno House, I am surrounded by a wine collection that has been curated with great dedication and commitment, so the connection between love and wine is a pronounced one for me.
But I am curious to know how an alcoholic beverage that could be humbly defined as fermented grape juice became the libation most associated with love.
From ancient Greek philosophers to legendary Giacomo Casanova and Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda, they all talk about the link between wine and pleasure.
It seems that wine, more than any other beverage, has the uncanny ability to tickle our senses.
At Oeno House, we carefully select producers that put their minds, body and heart into making their wines. So if you’re on the hunt for the most exciting wines this Valentine’s Day, here are my suggestions…
Why not kick off the evening with one oysters and champagne? It’s a classic for a reason – and I can’t imagine anything more suitable than the 2008 Comtes de Champagne by Taittinger. The 2008 vintage is deservedly regarded as exceptional. Its punchy pure citrus fruit alongside a mineral freshness forms a perfect marriage with the briny, umami flavours in the oysters.
For your mains, pair fish with a fine Burgundy. Domaine Lamy-Pillot Morgeot, Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru 2017, for example, offers an intense and extremely fresh wine with grapefruit, green apple and vanilla flavours highlighted by mineral-lead acidity. This match will be ideal, as any butter or lemony flavours in your fish dish will connect to the wine’s citrus and light oaky vanilla notes.
For meat lovers, then how about suckling pig matched with a Federico Graziani Profumo di Vulcano Etna Rosso 2019. This deep ruby red wine, with its aroma of raspberries and wild blueberries, citrus, and Mediterranean scrub is rich to the taste, but never heavy. The finish is complex, with minerality and ripe fruit that shows personality and persistence, which will complement the delicate sweetness that tends to characterise this meat.
The final course must include chocolate. Velvety and sweet with a big mouthfeel and layers of rich fruit, fortified wine is the perfect partner for chocolate’s earthy flavours. Quinta Do Noval Vintage port 2003 is an exceptional vintage. The palate is full-bodied and luscious with flavours of blueberries, cherries, and candied strawberries. It is wonderfully long with great depth; its dense and rich character resembles those found in chocolate, and its natural freshness helps to clean your palate.
What if you’re a new couple and want to keep it casual? A silky and light rosé should help create a light mood. Palais Constance Côte de Provence Rosé 2021 is an ideal choice.
And if you’re celebrating a relationship milestone on this upcoming Valentine’s Day, why not commemorate it with a significant vintage? You can easily find a vast selection of vintages at Oeno House from around the world. Adding a little sentimentality when you choose your wine is surely a great way to kick off a wonderful evening.
After all, as Euripides said: “Where there is no wine, there is no love.”
Oeno House, The Royal Exchange, Unit 16-17, Cornhill, EC3V 3LL; oenogroup.com/house