Claire @ fromthegrapevine
Whether you love or hate Valentines Day, there's no avoiding it. Here's our suggestion for 3 wines to pair with the most romantic of food...
Wine One - Famille Brocard Chablis Premier Cru, Asda £16
If you’re serving your valentine the most romantic of dishes, Oysters, or other such seafood, then Chablis is the perfect partner.
Chablis is an appellation in the northernmost part of Burgundy, meaning it is the coolest part of Burgundy with a climate similar to the Champagne region. This coolness brings about high acidity in the grapes, which makes you want to drink more and more of the wine with every sip.
However, it's the soil in Chablis that is its defining characteristic. The vineyard sites of the premier crus and grand crus are on Kimmeridgean soil, made up of limestone, clay and fossilized oyster shells (crushed down from millions of years ago).
It’s said the soil gives Chablis wines their mineral, flinty, steely taste. The wines are bone dry, less fruity than Chardonnay produced in warmer climates, but they have a "pureness" about them.
This particular Chablis premier cru is from a family winery - Famille Brocard - headed up by ex-farmer Jean-Marc with input from his son Julian. Since 1997 the family have been experimenting with organic and biodynamic wines; the first winemakers in Burgundy to do so. Whilst organic winemaking adheres to strict standards regarding the non-use of chemicals both in the vineyard and winery, a biodynamic approach is more spiritual and based on the relationship between celestial and terrestrial energy.
We think it's a quality wine and a great price; you'd normally have to pay over £30 for a premier cru.
Wine Two - DV Catena Malbec, Sainsburys, £12
So to a wine that will pair perfectly with a delicious steak. Heeding the advice of "what grows
together, goes together" means that the Argentine cattle and Malbec are perfect partners.
For the best Malbec wines, head to Mendoza in the foothills of the Andes where the cooler temperatures mean the grapes can bask in the sunlight without cooking. There's also a good "diurnal range", which is the difference between the warmth of the days and cold of the night times, keeping the wines fresh.
DV Catena is a family winery run by Nicholas and his daughter Laura. Their ancestors first planted Malbec grapes in Mendoza in 1902 after emigrating from Italy in search of a better life. They had their struggles over the years as Malbec wasn't widely recognised, and then Argentina had a turbulent economic times. The family ploughed on, and four generations later, the father and daughter team are winning awards and making the world take note of great Malbec.
This one is bursting with black fruit flavours, a touch of woody smokiness and hints of chocolate. Another From the Grapevine favourite!
Wine Three - Gibo Asti, M&S, £7
For the sweet toothed amongst us, pair your fruity desserts with this affordable bottle of bubbles from Italy!
Asti is a sparkling wine from the Piedmont region in Northern Italy, made to a sweet style from the Moscato Bianco grape. Like Prosecco, it's made in a tank (rather than having an expensive secondary fermentation in the bottle) which keeps its price point low. It's also low in alcohol (so less chance of a hangover) and very quaffable.
It tastes of floral, apples and pears with some citrus undertones. It's sweet, but not sickly sweet, so a perfect partner with a fruity tart or cheesecake, just cake, or on it's own.