Ah, Valentine's Day. It conjures up images of chocolate, flowers and Champagne. We're deep in the month of romance. Whether you've been planning for weeks or need some last minute ideas, we've got you covered.
This Valentine's day, tempt the one you love by preparing one of the recipies found in our Seduction Dinner.
No romantic evening is complete without a bottle of bubbly to set the mood. Consult our handy how-to on opening your sparkling wine. Not sure which sparkler to chose? Or maybe in the mood to celebrate the color of love with some red wine? Try some of our favorites.
Don't have someone special this Valentine's Day? No problem—why not invite some friends over and pamper yourselves with a cocktail?
Always wanted caviar on Valentine's Day but too intimidated to know which one to get? We've demystified caviar for you.
Whether you want wine, caviar, Champagne, cocktails or other good food, be sure to spend Valentine's Day with people you love and something delicious to eat and drink.
|92 Chandon 2000 Single Vineyard Blanc de Blancs (Mount Veeder); $45. Rich as sin, and packed with white peach and vanilla flavors, this dry wine shows the finesse, lightness and elegance of a Chardonnay-based sparkling wine. The mousse is creamy, the finish long and decadent. Will be lovely with cracked crab and sourdough bread. Editors' Choice.||91 Pommery NV Brut Rosé (Champagne); $60. Quite seductive, with clear widespread appeal. It offers vanilla and peach aromas that draw a smile, while the ripe citrus and apricot flavors are really exact and tasty. Finishes with clever spice notes. Explosive throughout. Will age nicely for several years. Imported by W. J. Deutsch & Sons. Editors' Choice.|
|92 Montenisa NV Brut (Franciacorta); $30. Nice and smooth, with pure green apple, citrus and rosemary aromas. Bold in the mouth, with melon, pineapple and subtle spice flavors. Finishes seductively dry, with stylish mushroom and toast flavors, almost like a good dry Sherry. Imported by Remy Cointreau USA. Editors' Choice.||88 Astoria 2004 Cuvé Tenuta Val de Brun (Prosecco di Valdobbiadene); $9. No surprises here; just good, clean fun. The nose is fresh as a spring garden and the palate delivers nothing but pure lemon-lime. The feel and bubble bead are lively and friendly, while the finish is crisp, smooth and somewhat long. Mildly sweet but not at all cloying. Imported by Astoria. Best Buy|
|92 Piper-Heidsick NV Brut (Champagne); $35. Toasty aromas leap from the glass in this deliciously mature wine. It is soft but still very dry, with acidity tamed by both fine, mature fruit and a creamy texture that sits well in the mouth. This is a very fine, tasty wine. Imported by Remy Cointreau USA. Editors' Choice.||87 Korbel NV Brut (California); $11. One of Korbel's most consistent wines, this brut shows a rich elegance and balance, with doughy flavors of peaches and a hint of smoke, vanilla and cherry. Best Buy.|
|91 Bellavista NV Cuvée Brut (Franciacorta); $36. Snappy yet smooth, with subtle apple, toast and vanilla aromas. Very good in terms of feel, with dry, spicy flavors of baked apple, white pepper and herbs. Slightly mature notes of mushroom and Sherry rise up on the finish, lending this bubbly added complexity. Imported by Empson (USA) Ltd. Editors' Choice.||87 Rotari NV Arte Italiana Brut (Trento); $11. Gold in color, with aromas of wheat bread and Golden Delicious apples. Lots of fresh peach, apple and tangerine on the palate make for a pleasing flavor profile, while it finishes full and toasty. Nothing overwhelming, but rock solid as a whole. Imported by Prestige Wine Imports Corp. Best Buy.|
|91 Iron Horse 2002 Wedding Cuvée (Green Valley); $34. Maybe it's all marketing, but this does seem to be an ideal wedding-toast bubbly. There's something for everyone. Despite being almost all Pinot Noir, it's light and delicate, with a crisp elegance and a fine mousse, and that effervescent pleasure that only a fine bubbly provides. Editors' Choice.||84 Barefoot Bubbly NV Brut Brut Cuvée Chardonnay Champagne (California); $7. The Chard gives it lightness and lift, with a hint of peaches and cream. Dry and clean in bubbles and rich in yeast. Best Buy.|
|91 Mitchell 2002 GSM (Clare Valley); $15. A GSM, yes, but one with Sangiovese rather than Shiraz in that secondary position. It's dry grown, handpicked and unoaked, the Sangiovese bringing a pleasant tanginess to complement Grenache's juicy, black-cherry fruit. Medium-sized, and finishes with black pepper. Imported by Click Wine Group. Best Buy.||90 TerraNoble 2003 Gran Reserva Carmenère (Maule Valley); $13. Loaded with ripe aromas of cola, dark fruit and earth, and that's followed up by the full allotment of blackberry and black cherry flavors. Chocolaty and full on the palate and finish, with supreme juiciness and laudable balance. Makes the grade and then some. Imported by Winebow. Best Buy.|
|91 Foppiano 2003 Bacigalupi Vineyard Petite Sirah (Russian River Valley); $17. This is an intricate, detailed Pet that's not as heavy or tannic, and considerably more complex, than most. It has the weight of a fine Zin, with rich flavors of spiced plums, blackberries, espresso, clove and anise, and a brambly finish of fresh, wild berries and pepper. Editors' Choice.||89 Santa Ema 2003 60/40 Barrel Select Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot (Maipo Valley); $11. A Cab/Merlot blend that's ripe and alluring, with easygoing but still power-packed aromatics. Flavors of cassis, black cherry and raisin are full-bore, and the chocolaty finish scores. Balanced and correct. Imported by T.G.I.C. Importers. Best Buy.|
|90 Artezin 2003 Zinfandel (Mendocino-Amador-Napa); $15. This is a new brand from Hess, and a very good wine. The winemaker calls it a field blend, meaning it may or may not be Zinfandel. It doesn't taste entirely like Zin. There are blueberries and cherries in there along with the brambly, peppery stuff. The wine is claret-style, meaning it's balanced and harmonious despite 15.5% alcohol. Best Buy.||88 Viña Bisquertt 2003 Casa La Joya Reserve Merlot (Colchagua Valley); $9. Deep in color, with sweet, rich aromas that revolve around molasses and bacon but fold in plum, blackberry and toast. For the price this is an excellent wine, and price notwithstanding it's very good. The black fruit is ripe, the feel just right. Just short of lush but full. Best Buy.|
|90 MontGras 2004 Quatro Reserva Red Blend (Colchagua Valley); $15. Leather, earth and bold fruit on the nose, and then sweet plum, berry and chocolate on the palate. It's a blend of Cabernet, Malbec, Merlot and Carmenère that really couldn't have come together much better. It's rich, ripe and tasty, and at 14.6% alcohol it's nothing if not a New World heavyweight. Imported by Palm Bay Imports. Best Buy.||88 Jacob's Creek 2002 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (South Australia); $13. Very dark in color. This wine's aromas are pretty straightforward, just red berry and wood. On the palate, there's red fruit and earth. The highlight here is the wine's velvety, wooly texture. It's mainstream, yes, but it's food-friendly and tasty. Imported by Pernod Ricard. Best Buy.|
|90 Bonterra 2002 Merlot (Mendocino County); $15. Rich and deep are the words that come to mind for this intensely flavorful Merlot. It's as full-bodied as a Cab, with the prettiest cherry and chocolate flavors and a smooth finish that turns blueberry. Best Buy.||86 Robert Mondavi 2003 Private Selection Zinfandel (California); $11. A nice Zin and while it's a little light, this is a decent price for a wine of this character. It's dry and full-bodied, with ripe cherry, blackberry, raisin and chocolate flavors and a spicy finish. Best Buy.|