Last Minute Valentine’s Day Wine Shopping!

If you are still looking for that perfect wine for tomorrow’s Valentine’s Day dinner — don’t despair! Read the rest of this blog and I guarantee you will at least have options (and the time to do something about them).

Traditionally, of course, the first choice is champagne! But that can be a problem for a couple of reasons. The first is cost – real champagne (from France) can be ridiculously expensive, with regular, non-vintage wines starting at around $50 and going up astronomically from there!

But the bigger issue is actually style. For those who haven’t tried it, the yeasty, toasty flavours can be quite unusual and even unpleasant!

If you want bubbles, I would go for a Spanish-style cava wine instead. A lot cheaper (<$20 for most) and the flavour profile is much more user friendly, with crisp, ripe green apples. A perennial best buy is the non-vintage Brut by Segura Viudas for about $15 and available in virtually all liquor stores.

But what if you want white wine? Well, I would go with a nice California style Chardonnay. Golden yellow, buttery citrus fruit, lush and mouth filling — it goes great with lobster or chicken in a rich sauce. There are also some great options out there. From B.C., Township 7 makes a nice one for <$20. And for few bucks more, Kendall Jackson offers the prototype in its Vintner's Reserve for $23.99. Both are available in good quantities in government specialty liquor stores.

Finally, if you are having lamb, duck or a nice tenderloin for dinner, give some thought to a Pinot Noir. Generally lighter and easier to drink than the other popular red – Cabernet Sauvignon – it can have wonderful red cherry, vanilla, earth, and spicy flavours that go well with most foods.

You have to more careful selecting Pinot Noir, as the style varies and the cost can be significant (some French Burgundies cost hundreds of dollars). But there are bargains out there. For about $12, South Africa's Two Oceans (2010 vintage) is light but very nice. And a truly great wine for the price is the 2009 Pinot Noir from NkMip in BC's Okanagan. The First Nation's winery does amazing things with Pinot, and at $19.99 this tastes like a$30 wine. Again, both are available in government specialty stores in BC.

So there you have it — good value, readily available options whether you want sparkling, white or red wine. Now get out there and put the finishing touches on a great Valentines Day dinner!



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