Valentine’s Day is a day to express love, a time to bring to surface one’s romantic character, to forgive mistakes and write off bitter instances, and the perfect time to open a great bottle of wine! Just like love, wine can be complex, sweet, bold and refreshing. Selecting the “one” bottle out of many for the occasion is no easy task. 

I have put together a list based on the name of the label, the story behind it, its trademark and finally the matching with a decadent chocolate dessert. Let’s look them through together … 

“Don’t judge a book by its cover” they say or “a wine by its label” I would add! Except when it makes perfect sense to do just that — such as on Valentine’s Day. The wine itself must, of course, be good or the value of the label will be lost. But the right wine name can help brighten the mood even before the first sip.

Romeo & Juliet

Romeo and Juliet, courtesy of Constantin Gofas Estate, is a red wine whose name seems tailor-made for the occasion and its taste matches it even more. In the role of Romeo, is the robust Cabernet Sauvignon, while Juliet is performed by the velvety Agiorgitiko. The final blend is 70%-30%, with Cabernet being the dominant variety. This is a complex full-bodied wine, from which we will taste plenty of juicy red fruits with an elegant touch of sweet spices, black pepper and notes of cocoa and vanilla. It will rise up to the challenge of accompanying a charcuterie platter or a steak dinner. 

Many winemakers are dedicated to producing outstanding wines. For a number of them, the love of their lives – their wives – have played the role of support and inspiration for their enterprise of wine making. Julia Lazaridi is one of them! The winery of Costa Lazaridi in Drama has been producing some of the best and emblematic Greek wines for decades. Chateau Julia are some of them! Chateau Julia is a series of four wines named after the lady of the Costa Lazaridi Estate, the wife of Kostas Lazaridis, Ioulia (Julia). The series includes wines with a distinct personality, each of which has a different story of taste to tell. 

Chateau Julia

I would opt for Chateau Julia Chardonnay for Valentine’s Day, because Chardonnay seems to make people relax and savor the good life. Moreover, enjoying it under the right lighting, the wine can create the mirage of suspending gems in one’s glass. Chateau Julia Chardonnay is an exceptional white wine, with an impressive structure, for every occasion! It doesn’t mature in a barrel, thus highlighting the aromas and flavors of the variety. In a glass of Chateau Julia Chardonnay, one will come across Freshness, Volume, Substance … Enjoyment…  an excellent opportunity to express his or her warmest feelings to someone he/she loves. Excellent with salads, small fish, pasta, poultry and yellow cheeses.

Lady Frosyne courtesy of Glinavos Estate Bubbles sets the stage for any celebration. Why not toast with your loved one with a pink bubbly called Lady Frosyne. Eyfrosyni Vasileiou (lady Frosyne) was born in Ioannina in 1773.

Lady Frosini

Her intensely erotic and turbulent life, has inspired operas, plays, historical novels, popular readings, poems, folk chants, films and television series. I find that the image on the label is minimal and emotional at the same time. The content of the bottle is equally interesting as it is a blend of local varieties, the white Debina and the red Bekari. The first bubbles bring strawberry and cherry aromas to the nose, followed by sweet spices and citrus fruit jam. Its taste is rich in red fruits while the intense acidity balances with the sweetness of the fruit and granting it elegance. It is ideally combined with pasta and plates served with sweet and sour sauce. If we choose to combine it with dessert, this should be light and based on cream and fruits like a fruit tart (not chocolate).

Saint Valentine may be a myth, a story made by people for people, but the chocolate that flows in a long way that day for his sake is absolutely true. There are perhaps no other combinations of flavors and tastes that can spark a more erotic atmosphere than that of rich chocolate with an appropriate wine, which speaks straight to your senses and creates an irresistible, romantic mood regardless of the season. Even more so, on Valentine’s Day.

Contrary to popular belief, wine and chocolate are a tough combination to match.  Even the best-balanced wine will taste like vinegar if you drink it after eating a sweet piece of chocolate or a dessert based on chocolate. In a later article, I intend to address the ideal matching of various types of chocolate with wine. 

Mavrodaphne Reserve

A chocolate-based dessert may usually contain chocolate or cocoa, nuts, butter, cookies or cake, caramel, praline, etc. So, we are dealing with an exuberant dessert. Equally exuberant is the wine that we will propose. Matching equally well with most chocolate desserts, the rich and complex character of sweet Mavrodaphne best pairs with the aromas of nuts, sweet spices, dried fruits and caramel. Mavrodaphne Reserve of Parparousis Estate has a full body due to its high alcohol content and with its fine tannins it manages to balance its sweetness. It also possesses a spicy character but it is quite smooth at the same time. Elegant & balanced, with depth and exuberance, Mavrodaphne is destined to make the perfect match for the dessert we will choose to sweeten this special day with our beloved one. 

A caveat: A sweet Mavrodaphne can be massive and powerful at first sip, so, it is advisable to decant it about an hour or two before dinner and preferably pair it with a rich dessert.

I hope you enjoyed this list of wines to drink on Valentine’s Day, no matter what your plans are! If you end up grabbing any of these bottles for the occasion, please, let me know in the comments below.

For more wonderful wine explorations, follow George on Instagram @george.winestories

George Kormaniotis

Athens local George Kormaniotis was introduced to wines in 2007 and since then he has spent time market researching, blind tasting, trying new labels, and exchanging ideas and opinions with other fellow wine enthusiasts. In his spare time, George has made it his mission to change people’s perceptions of Greek wines and shares his explorations on Instagram @george.winestories

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