We’re no matchmakers, but we do know that romance and wine go hand in hand, especially this time of year.
For many of us grown-ups, Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be the same without a date with our beloved and a beautiful bottle of vino. Maybe it’s the fact we so often share wine with people we hold close to our hearts. Or maybe it’s the fact wine is such a sensory, sensual thing. We savour it, not unlike those first heady days of love.
Even if romance isn’t on your list this February, why not fall in love with a new wine—or wine region—this year?
With that in mind, here are five wonderful North American wines to try.
Stratus 2012 White, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.
Only bottled in the best vintages, this lush white wine is a blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, plus a bit of Chardonnay. It has ripe, rich aromas of tropical fruits and flowers. A white that will age for a few years, it will pair beautifully now with roast chicken or a simply prepared pork loin. Serve chilled. About $38.
Benjamin Bridge 2008 Méthode Classique Brut, Gaspereau Valley, N.S.
This crush-worthy sparkler hails from a family-owned winery near Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy, a little over an hour from Halifax. Expect delicate bubbles and beautiful aromas of pear and peach, with just a hint of the sea. Made the same way as fine champagne, it will go with sushi or fresh oysters. Serve chilled. About $45.
Bella 2013 Sparkling Rosé Brut, Okanagan Valley, B.C.
Skip the paper hearts and pour pink bubbles instead. Former chef Jay Drysdale and his wife, Wendy Rose, own Bella, a winery that focuses solely on sparkling wines. Made from gamay grapes, this crisp rosé sparkler has floral and pomegranate notes. Pair with charcuterie or smoked salmon. Serve chilled. About $24.
Colby Red 2012, California
Daryl Groom made wine at Australia’s legendary Penfolds before following his heart to California. He and his family came up with this rich Cabernet Sauvignon-based red blend after their son, Colby, now a healthy 17-year-old, had heart surgery at age nine. In the past four years, Colby Red has raised more than half a million dollars for heart-focused charities. Pair with steak or pizza. About $13.
Caduceus Cellars, Merkin Vineyards 2012 Chupacabra, Jerome, Ariz.
Created by winemaker-musician Maynard James Keenan, whose bands include Tool and A Perfect Circle, Caduceus Cellars uses grapes from both Arizona and New Mexico. The winery, however, is near Jerome, Ariz. This Syrah-based red blend has jammy purple fruit notes and will pair with lamb or roasted duck. About $30.