One of the benefits of being single on Valentine’s Day is you can treat yourself to a special bottle of wine instead of spending your paycheck on a pricey (not to mention mediocre) dinner for two. Here are some picks for sparkling, white, rosé, red and sweet wines to toast that special someone: YOU!
Go big with Champagne. It’s the undisputed champion of sparkling wine. The only decision you’ll have to make is which glass to put it in.
Taittinger 2008 Millésimé Brut (Champagne); $95, 97 points. The balance between ripeness and acidity that is the hallmark of this fine vintage is expressed well in this impressive wine. Tangy, with a strong streak of minerality, it is crisp and rich at the same time. For its fruitiness, it is ready to drink; for more maturity, it will need to age until 2018. Kobrand. Cellar Selection. —Roger Voss
Drappier 2008 Grande Sendrée Rosé Brut (Champagne); $130, 95 points. This is a beautiful wine with its pink-orange color. The taste lives up to its appearance. A mature wine from a great vintage, it’s rich with spice and nuts along with tight acidity. From fruit grown in the southern Champagne region of the Aube, the wine is completely ready to drink. Dreyfus, Ashby & Co. —R.V.
Nothing says opulence more than Chardonnay from Napa Valley.
Jarvis 2014 Unfiltered Finch Hollow Chardonnay (Napa Valley); $130, 94 points. This wine is made from the same barrels as the producer’s Finch Hollow offering, using the wine from the top of the barrels and left unfined and unfiltered. The result is an ethereal experience, creamy and crisp in golden apple and nectarine, its body rich, round, lush and delightfully satisfying. —Virginie Boone
Pahlmeyer 2014 Chardonnay (Napa Valley); $75, 93 points. From the Pahlmeyer Estate and the Atlas Peak Vineyard, this wine is made in a huge, sultry and seductive style. Tingly acidity supports a reductive style of rich oak and honeycomb that delves into concentrated layers of baked peach and apple pie. This should stand up well to cellaring; hold until 2022–2029. Cellar Selection. —V.B.
Think pink in the one place it will make you smile: your wine glass.
Domaines Ott 2015 Château de Selle Rosé (Côtes de Provence); $52, 91 points. The pale rosé color doesn’t detract from this concentrated, ripe wine that offers yellow fruits, orange zest and spicy flavors. Pure acidity gives intense freshness and an impressive depth of flavor. The wine will be better after more aging, so drink from late 2016. Maisons, Marques & Domaines USA. —R.V.
Without anyone to distract you, contemplate the complexity of a Bordeaux-style blend.
Squawking Magpie 2014 SQM Gimblett Gravels Cabernets/Merlot Red (Hawke’s Bay); $79, 95 points. This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (62.5%), Merlot (25%) and Cabernet Franc (12.5%) is aged in one-third new French oak for 10 months, resulting in a lovely marriage of vanilla and cedar with cassis. The wine is youthful and primary, but the oak and fruit are seamlessly integrated, blending baking spices and chocolate into the mix. Richly textured, with a long finish, this wine is delicious now, but should age well through 2030. NZ Wine Direct. Editors’ Choice. —Joe Czerwinski
Paumanok 2014 Assemblage Red (North Fork of Long Island); $50, 93 points. While a shade brighter and brisker than the 2013 Assemblage, this gorgeously composed Bordeaux blend offers invigorating bursts of blackberry and plum flavors nuanced with spice, vanilla and fur. It’s full bodied and texturally quite satisfying, yet stately, framed by crisp cranberry acidity and penetrating tannins. It’s delicious now, but should gain further complexity and depth from 2020–2030. Cellar Selection. —Anna Lee C. Iijima
Enjoy some excellent chocolate or your favorite dessert, and pour yourself a small glass of something sweet and lingering. Looking for something stronger? Try pairing chocolate with spirits.
González Byass NV Noe Vinum Optimum Rare Signatum Pedro Ximénez (Jerez); $50/375ml, 94 points. Raisin and more raisin aromas come with touches of cinnamon, caramel and molasses. This feels viscous but not gooey, and thus it’s just right as P. X. goes. Flavors of caramel, fig and raisin finish with elegance and bolstering acidity. Vin Divino. Editors’ Choice. —Michael Schachner
Kracher 2013 Grande Cuvée Trockenbeerenauslese Nummer 6 Nouvelle Vague White (Burgenland); $95/375ml, 97 points. The heady, pure perfume of fig rind and foliage streams from the glass. A more tart and tropical note of passion fruit pitches in as well, along with green grapefruit spice. The aromatic spectrum is a sublimation of exotic fruit on nose and palate. The palate sustains this high-pitched balance by the purest lightening strike of zesty acidity. Even the tiniest drop of this amber liquid has the power to perfume the entire palate for minutes. The concentration is immense, the flavors are mind-boggling. This is high-octane stuff guaranteed to blow your mind. Drink now or cellar it through 2040 at least. Cellar Selection. —Anne Krebiehl