Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Uncorked: Fiscally Friendly Valentine's Wine for under $25

Let these wines make a big impression on your crush and not your wallet. Top sommeliers around DC poured out their best recommendations for Valentine's Day wine for under $25.


Gruet Rosé, New Mexico ($17.99) is a garnet-colored wine with a floral bouquet of strawberry, raspberry and cherry. On the palate, it is rich and fruity with a hint of Brut-style dryness. It’s a festive sparkler, but at only 5,000 cases per year – don’t miss out! ~Scott Clime, Wine and Beverage Director for Passion Food Hospitality

Cave la Vinsobraise Côtes du Rhône Rosé 2011 ($12). From the cooperative winery in Vinsobres in the Southern Rhône Valley, made from equal parts Grenache and Cinsault. A combination of strawberry and red current with a hint of blackberry in there too. Just the right acidity to pair with salads, but it really shines with seafood, bringing out the natural sweetness of crab, mussels, and shrimp. ~ Tom Natan, Owner of First Vine Wine Imports and Sales

Mouton Noir Love Drunk Rose, Willamette Valley, Oregon ($17) Much like new love, you'll be intoxicated with this blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Provocative aromas of strawberry and raspberry, followed by refreshing flavors of wild strawberry, watermelon rind and a hint of kiwi will make your lips pucker and your heart throb. ~Christianna Sargent, Capital Cooking wine expert


Argyle Riesling, 2010 from Willamette Valley, Oregon ($18.99) carries an aroma of fruit and spice with hints of citrus and spice. Made entirely with Riesling grapes, this romantic white finishes on a nice, sweet note. ~Scott Clime, Wine and Beverage Director for Passion Food Hospitality

Jaqk Cellars Chardonnay "Her Majesty" 2009 ($24.99) is a cult, Cali Chardonnay with a rich golden hue. The palate is lush and full-bodied with flavors of buttery golden apple and pear. The rich palate is perfectly balanced with note of lemon zest, making it a perfect wine for lobster or roasted game hen. Sure to make anyone feel like royalty! ~Eric Rohleder of Cordial Fine Wine

J.J. Prum Riesling KabinettMosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany ($24/bottle for the 2011).  An off dry German Riesling with white peach, green apple, and a hint of minerality on the nose. The high acid balances the sweetness, allowing the wine to pair well with many different types of cuisines or to be enjoyed on its own.  ~Christian Eck, Bar Manager at Art and Soul

Cave la Romaine Côtes du Rhône Viognier 2011 ($16). A French Viognier from the cooperative winery in Vaison-la-Romaine in northern Provence. Much less sweet than Virginia-style Viogniers, with more minerality, aged in steel, not oak. A great balance of citrus and pear, soft but enough body to stand up to your favorite white-wine foods. Bring on the cream sauce or the fruit tart! ~ Tom Natan, Owner of First Vine Wine Imports and Sales


From Mendoza, Argentina, the Vina Cobos, 2010 ($16.99) is an enticing red with aromas of dark berries and anise. On the palate, intense, pure flavors unfold in velvety layers. Exotic notes of ginger balanced with white pepper blend perfectly with firm tannins and finish with a hint of cedar. ~Scott Clime, Wine and Beverage Director for Passion Food Hospitality

Fracchia Antichi Giochi Piemontesi Voulet Malvasia di Casorzo d'Asti Piedmont Italy 2012 ($14.99) is a decadent, Italian, ruby red wine bursting with flavors of raspberry, maraschino cherry and strawberry. The Voulet's slightly sweet, effervescent palate makes it the perfect wine to pair with chocolate truffles! ~Eric Rohleder of Cordial Fine Wine

Domaine de Montvac Cuvée Vincila 2005 ($24). Cécile Dusserre, a former professional ballet dancer, is the third-generation female landowner and winemaker in her family. Her winery is in Vacqueyras, in the southern Rhône valley. Cuvée Vincila is 60% Grenache, 40% Syrah, aged in oak. Rich earthy flavors of leather and tobacco along with lush ripe fruit and a little pepper, but not too overwhelming. Perfect with red meats and game, but also roasted vegetables and mushrooms. ~ Tom Natan, Owner of First Vine Wine Imports and Sales

Familia Zuccardi Malbec Serie A Mendoza 2010 ($15.99) presents a deep purple in the glass. The wine has soft aromas of spiced plum and crushed blackberries. The palate is lush with soft tannins and balanced flavors of peppered black cherry, black currant and smoked purple plum. A perfect pairing for Filet Mignon, or any other rich, red meat! ~Eric Rohleder of Cordial Fine Wine

Fiddletown Cellars Old Vine Zinfandel, Amador County, California ($20) Ultra smooth and succulent, laced with  fresh raspberry, plum and black berry aromas, followed by a touch of black pepper and layers of sweet oak and vanilla. Vibrant acidity makes this fiddle a heart crusher and valiant food wine to pair for with that rich dish you serve your sweetheart.~Christianna Sargent, Capital Cooking wine expert


The best way to celebrate Valentine’s Day is with Champagne or a sparkling wine such as the Thibaut-Janisson “Fizz” from Faber, Virginia ($10-25.) ~Moez Ben-Achour, Sommelier for Marcel’s 

Slightly less fizzy than Champagne, this sparkler carries aromas of crisp apples and leaves a light, lingering finish. Crémant de Bourgogne Rosé Fougeray de Beauclair, NV ($20-25) from the Burgundy wine region is a uniquely dark rosé that carries a robust bouquet with notes of vine-ripe strawberries, toasted bread and mandarin orange. From its alluring hue to its complex aromas, this rosé would enhance any romantic occasion. ~Moez Ben-Achour, Sommelier for Marcel’s 

The best value for a red on the market is the Rhône Vacqueyras, Xavier 2009 ($18.) This full-bodied Syrah and Grenache blend is concentrated and powerful, but is balanced with a slight tartness and acidity that appeals to connoisseurs and novices alike! ~Moez Ben-Achour, Sommelier for Marcel’s

Domaine la Croix des Marchands MéthodeAncestrale Brut 2010 ($18). From an independent producer in the Gaillac wine region of southwestern France, this is a naturally sparkling wine -- the way sparkling wines were made for 1,000 years before the French invented the story of a blind monk creating champagne. It's made from Mauzac, the oldest indigenous wine grape in France. It has a great green apple flavor with no bitter aftertaste and just a touch of sweetness. Perfect as an apéritif or with your favorite fruit desserts. ~ Tom Natan, Owner of First Vine Wine Imports and Sales

Chocolate Box Sparkling Shiraz, Barossa Valley, Australia ($19) Make her toes curl with this perfect red sparkler that tickles your nose with scents of dark cocoa and freshly roasted coffee, backed with silky tastes of luscious strawberry, blueberry and vanilla coulis, almond croissant and coffee liqueur. ~Christianna Sargent, Capital Cooking wine expert

JCB # 21, Cremant de Bourgogne, Brut NV ($19.99) It looks like Champagne, it has the yeasty toasty aroma of Champagne, it’s bone dry and crisp and exudes finesse like Champagne: wrong, it’s Cremant de Bourgogne! Made in the painstaking traditional method, this romantic French sparkler blends Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to a lush, creamy and tantalizing balance. Made by the Boisset family of Burgundy fame, Number 21 honors the French government’s “Department” number for the Côte d’Or, where the grapes originate and the wine is made.   ~Sandy Block, Legal Sea Foods

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