Erin’s Valentine’s Day Picks
Maison No. 9 Rosé
Maison No. 9 Rosé, Mediterranean IGP, France, 2020
It was the night before the Grammy’s and Post Malone was in the house. An idea was stirring…and a coalescence of hip-hop culture and fine wine emerged to boast the biggest launch in industry history. In the spring of 2020, the Maison No.9 brand hit the market and it generated the highest-ever demand for a single product in one day and it broke the internet. Whether it’s breaking records or making records, Post Malone epitomizes the intersection of crass and class and the clear expression of quality of this wine is as explicit as his lyrics.
Maison No.9 checks off all the boxes of a rosé wine made in the quintessential Provençal style – a soft pink colour with delicate aromas of orchard fruit, melon rind, and a hint of lavender. Grenache is the dominant grape in this juicy blend to deliver fresh and focused ripe red berry fruit flavours. This hint of French confection is supported by a decadent silky texture that puts this wine in the ‘dangerously quaffable’ category. Dry rosé wines are unequivocally versatile for matching with food so the sky is the limit – hearty salads, lobster, roast chicken – any and all of it!
Blend: 45% Grenache, 25% Cinsault, 15% Syrah, 15% Merlot
Graham’s Late Bottle Vintage Port 2015
On its own: Port is a sweet (100g/l residual sugar), red fortified wine with origins dating back to the inception of the Kingdom of Portugal in 1174. At the time, the fortification process (adding brandy to wine to achieve alcohol levels ranging from 18-22%) was initiated to ensure the wine didn’t spoil with the suffering of long oceanic trade routes. Port wine is strong and sweet with marked aromatic complexity and a deep, fruity intensity – in a word, it’s delicious. It can be sipped on its own and it is also a classic pairing with chocolate and cheese.
Buffalo Trace Bourbon
On its own: The Whisky Bible calls it: One of the world’s great whiskies.
Buffalo Trace Distillery has been perfecting their bourbon whiskey on the banks of the Kentucky River for more than 200 years. This is an outstanding sipper on its own with pronounced vanilla and molasses aromas to compliment rich, spicy flavours that give way to dried fruit and toffee notes that persist through to a smooth, weighty finish expressive of its decidedly hefty depth of character.
Port & Bourbon Together:
VALENTINO’S DELIGHT – It’s dessert in a glass. It entertains the fiery heat of bourbon, the warmth of a sweet fortified wine, and coffee-infused (Kahlua) pick-me-up all wrapped up in the seductively rich, frothy foil of heavy cream. If you don’t have anyone to offer you a warm embrace this Valentine’s Day, this cocktail will cradle you in sweet solitude to deliver all the liquid love you will ever need.
- 1.5 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon
- 1 oz Graham’s LBV Port 2015
- 1 oz Kahlua
- 1.5 oz Heavy Cream
Combine over ice in cocktail shaker – shake and strain into chilled martini glass and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
On its own: Cassis is a fruit-based liqueur made from blackcurrants that can bring a balancing sweetness to citrus driven cocktails or it can be enjoyed as a Frappé – a fancy term for an after-dinner option of simply pouring the liqueur over shaved ice. The sweet berry fruit of cassis is commonly partnered with dry white wine or dry sparkling wine to make the classic French aperitif cocktails: Kir and Kir Royale, respectively.
Dry White Wine:
Famille Bougrier Muscadet Sèvre et Mains
$17.30 – 750ml
On its own: A crisp, dry, light-bodied white wine from Pays Nantais – the coastal subregion of the Loire Valley in France. Known for their marked freshness and distinct mineral complexity, Muscadet wine is a quintessential oyster pairing which will invariably deliver an irresistible element of sensuality (and nutrition) to your Valentine’s Day celebration.
Wine Wine & Cassis Together:
KIR – It’s soft with a subtle and elegant measure of sophistication. The Kir is a classic French wine cocktail that combines the luscious sweetness of cassis liqueur with dry white wine.
Simply pour ¼ – ½ oz (add more or less to accommodate your personal preference for sweetness) into a wine glass and add 4 oz of dry white wine.
Dry Sparkling Wine:
Bohemian Sekt Château Radyne Extra Brut
$24.99 – 750ml
On its own: While it may seem like an emerging wine region due to its relatively recent arrival to North American shelves, this sparkling wine has been produced in the Czech Republic since 1945. It is unequivocally a benchmark for top quality expressions in the Extra Brut (5g/l residual sugar) category. Made from a blend of Welschriesling and Grüner Veltliner grapes this is another perfect option for oysters and will also compliment everything from Charcuterie & Cheese to Fish & Chips.
Sparkling Wine & Cassis Together:
KIR ROYALE – Substitute dry white wine for a dry sparkling wine with the cassis for a soft and fruity sparkling wine cocktail. Change up the glassware to a Champagne flute and use the above ratios outlined for the Kir. Try it with the outstanding Czech Republic traditional method sparkler Château Radyne to bring a little bubbly finesse into the equation.
Oatmeal Stout & Dry Sparkling Wine Together
It’s the odd couple. It’s the unlikely and unmistakably perfect marriage of stout beer and dry sparkling wine.
If you don’t fancy a cocktail with a sweet, fruity-flavoured base but still want bubbly elegance, then put the cassis back on the shelf and pick up any one of our selection of local craft Oatmeal Stout to pour with that gorgeous Château Radyne Extra Brut sparkling wine for the often forgotten but forever classic: BLACK VELVET
Simply half-fill a Champagne flute with the sparkling wine (wait a minute or so for bubbles to subside somewhat) and then fill to the top with Oatmeal Stout. It’s fun, quirky and delicious and together with a basket of onion rings will undoubtedly deliver a next-level Valentine’s Day experience. Put a ring on it!
Local craft brewery stout selections:
BOAT TRAFFIC – Lone Oak
$4.79 – 473ml
KEN’S STOUT – Copper Bottom
$4.29 – 473ml
SYDNEY STREET – Gahan
$4.49 – 473ml
Oatmeal Stout on its own:
English-Style Oatmeal Stout is a smooth, rich brew expressed by roasted malt aromas and distinct caramel and chocolate-like flavours that combine with the dry sparkling wine to magically transform into a tasting experience to the tune of dark fruits dipped in even darker chocolate.
Sartori I Saltari Amarone Box
Sometimes the simplest things are the most romantic and opening a bottle of red wine has long been a gateway to all things carnal. That said, why buy one bottle of red wine when you can triple the romance factor with a three-bottle box set?
Arguably, there is no better introduction to Italian wine than a fine Amarone. These wines beguile with their seemingly equal and opposite forces of power and polish – a product of the unique method of production that employs dried grapes to intensify flavours and extended aging (up to 3 years in oak) to resolve tannins and soften the expression. Amarone delivers uniquely complex aromas and flavours ranging from smoky, exotic spices, dried herbs and dried fruits to sweet milk chocolate and aged rum. This three-bottle vertical tasting (one producer/multiple vintages) is sure to turn horizontal before the end of your Valentine’s Day weekend celebration.