Top 5: Romantic wines and aphrodisiac cuisine
This Week’s Top 5: Romantic Wines and Aphrodisiac Cuisine for Valentine’s Week
By Christopher Sawyer
Still thinking about a last minute gift to get your loved one for Valentine’s Day? Need a wine that pairs with the aphrodisiac ingredients used in the special meal you’re making for your sweetheart? Or want to add a little somethin’ special to the romantic plans for your weekend getaway? Or maybe your busy schedules require postponing the celebration after the 14th? At any rate, here are some wine tips with “mood food” to consider.
Oysters: think bubbles
Oysters are an acquired taste. In addition to their evocative shape and texture, a raw oyster served on a half shell contains amino acids which can naturally trigger sex hormones. As an extra bonus, an oyster is also very nutritious and high in protein. For a tasty sensation to share with someone special, serve a dozen raw oysters with a citrus-based mignonette and a bottle of the Argyle 2009 Brut Sparkling Wine, Willamette Valley ($22) featuring elegant aromas of fresh stone fruit, lemon curd and roasted almonds. On the palate, the flavors open up with lively notes of ripe pear, green apple, citrus, hazelnut and a long crisp finish.
Salads: sexy sauvignon blanc
Another way to stimulate the senses is to integrate fruit and citrus into your salads. An easy way is to serve a spinach salad with raspberry vinaigrette, fresh raspberries, red onion and roasted walnuts. But if you’re looking for another tasty alternative try a cirus and fennel salad. The refreshing and vibrant flavors of this salad deserve an equally active wine. A delicious example is the Honig 2011 Sauvignon Blanc, Estate Grown, Rutherford (S22). Made with 86% sauvignon blanc, 10% semillon and a splash of muscat, this elegant white wine offers lovely floral aromas and generous flavors of ripe grapefruit, kiwi, lemon zest and fresh tarragon.
Truffles: expressive pinot noirs
Truffles have a musky scent that stimulates the senses and wild mushrooms are said to pleasurably affect the neurotransmitters in the brain, especially for women. To match the aromas of earth and forest, try the Drew Family Vineyards 2010 Pinot Noir, “Fog-Eater,” Anderson Valley ($35-$42). It’s rife with notes of ripe raspberry, cherry and mountain herbs; beautiful structure, invigorating mouthfeel, and only 13.6% alcohol.
Pesto: sangiovese with power and finesse
The classic ingredients used to make a fine pesto are filled with aphrodisiac qualities, too. Sweet basil is said to stimulate the sex drive and boost fertility. Garlic, a pungent member of the lily family, has been used to stimulate the appetite by the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Chinese and Japanese for centuries. And pine nuts are rich in zinc to help maintain male potency. A sophisticated wine to complement these flavors is the Colleoni 2010 Rosso di Montalcino DOC, Tuscany ($38). The sangiovese grapes used in the wine are organically grown so the true purity of the fruit shows with perfumed aromas and rich flavors of ripe red fruits, fresh violets, anise, tobacco, mineral, chewy tannins, and a long, elegant and seductive finish. Big, sexy and serious!
Chocolate: rich cabernet sauvignon
Yes, chocolates taste great. But did you know that the same sweets contain a related substance to caffeine (another aphrodisiac) and packs more antioxidants than red wine? Just those facts alone are reasons to indulge on Valentine’s Day or any day of the week. For big spenders looking to make a lasting impression, try the Hourglass 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Blueline Vineyard, Napa Valley ($130). The newest version of this opulent Bordelaise-style wine has rich, concentrated flavors of red fruits, cola, blueberry, cassis, licorice, pepper, dried coconut, vanilla, savory spices and a hint of chocolate fudge. Think layers upon layers. “If you’re a hedonist, this wine will bring out the best in you,” says winemaker Anthony Biagi. To add extra flair to this already seductive wine, serve with dark chocolate on a plate ensconced with fresh blueberries, blackberries and rose petals.