Romance Is in the Air With These Wine and Soundtrack Suggestions for Valentine's Day
For a night of sweet romance…
Finish the night with an aphrodisiac elixir. Try a golden Condrieu from the northern Rhône—one of the world’s sexiest wines—fragrant with white flowers, peaches, Seville oranges and honeysuckle. (Great producers: Cave Yves Cuilleron, E. Guigal, Domaine Georges Vernay.) Or uncork its better-known cousin Sauternes, made from grapes infected with “noble rot,” with concentrated, sweet, luscious flavors of apricot, honey and nuts. (Great producers: Château Rieussec, Château Suduiraut, Château d’Yquem.)
Soundtrack: Gelb suggests Alexander Scriabin’s Poem of Ecstasy, the turn-of-last-century composer’s “very perfumed, musical celebration of the sweet ecstasy of love.”
For seducing a Benjamin…(if you’re a Mrs. Robinson)
Southern hemisphere reds are the ultimate cougar wine. Dazzle your young man with your esoteric wine knowledge, popping open a cool-climate Pinot Noir from Tasmania, Australia’s far southern isle. Tassie’s climate brings out delicate expression in the Pinot with sometimes exotic and floral aromas. (Great producers: Josef Chromy, Pipers Brook, Providence.) Or steam things up with a juicy Malbec from the base of the Argentinean Andes. With its intense dark fruit flavors and strong tannins, this purple wine has a flirtatious personality. (Best producers: Nieto Senetiner, Ruca Malen, Terrazas de los Andes.)
Soundtrack: Gelb suggests Richard Strauss’ operatic masterpiece, overture to Der Rosenkavalier (The Knight of the Rose), which recounts a “night of bliss” between the aristocrat cougar Marschallin and her young lover Count Octavian.
For rekindling with an old flame…
Fan the flames of desire by getting in a vacation frame of mind and uncorking a lusty island wine. Conjure up Greece with an Assyrtiko from Santorini, a beautiful bright white from volcanic grapes with erotic hints of sea breeze and citrus. (Great producers: Argyros, Gai’a, Sigalas.) Or opt for a smoldering Nerello Mascalese from the volcanic slopes of Mt. Etna in Sicily, a spicy, floral red, with intense minerality. (Great producers: Benanti, Biondi, Tenuta delle Terre Nere.)
Soundtrack: Gelb suggests nostalgic Marvin Gaye tracks like Sexual Healing and Let’s Get It On: “These songs will get your juices flowing.”
For a night of wild adventure…
Fire up the passion with a potent, high-alcohol red, like a scorching Amarone from Italy’s Valpolicella region, ripe with dried plum, cherry and balsamic flavors. Even its production method, appassimento (from grapes dried on racks in airy lofts) is sexy. (Great producers: Cesari, Masi, Tommasi.) Or try a meaty, masculine Napa Cabernet Sauvignon with strong tannins and naughty dark fruit flavors. (Great producers: Lokoya, Pine Ridge, PlumpJack.)
Soundtrack: Gelb suggests Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68, among the German maestro’s most “powerful, bold, seductive music!”
A version of this article appeared in the February 2017 issue of CTC&G (Connecticut Cottages & Gardens) with the headline: Seductive Notes.