Chocolate & Wine 4

PERFECT MATCH Want to seduce someone this Valentine’s Day? Just share a glass of wine (or three) with your sweetheart. Wine is liquid sensuality: its heady bouquet stimulates the appetite and its velvet caress soothes that desire. What other drink is described as both voluptuous and muscular? And when you pair wine with the mouth-coating luxury of chocolate, the combination is impossible to resist. We asked Natalie Maclean, author of Red, White and Drunk All Over and the woman behind the food-wine matcher at www.nataliemaclean.com, to give us her romantic suggestions of chocolate pairings with California wines. Here’s her top […]

read more …

Read More

Chocolate & Wine 3

Oops, it’s Valentine’s Day and you’ve forgotten to get a booking at your partner’s favourite restaurant, which now has more reservations than a nervous bungee jumper. You are, in common parlance, dead, or you will be if you don’t act fast. You could just take him or her somewhere that doesn’t take bookings, such as Longrain in the city or Cicciolina in St Kilda, or go for oysters and champagne at the bar at Oyster Little Bourke or the Melbourne Wine Room. The danger with this is that your valentine might want to know why you didn’t book somewhere proper […]

read more …

Read More

Chocolate & Wine 2

Think of Valentine’s Day, and what color comes to mind? Not white. Maybe pink. Certainly red. Many will pop the cork on a bottle of bubbly in a romantic gesture. Champagne and other sparklers do, indeed, pair nicely with almost anything. Romance is almost inherent in serving sparkling wine. But, being a contrarian and lover of all wines red, I’m opting for a red Valentine’s Day. Just to bolster my case, I turned to a renowned expert, columnist, accredited sommelier, writer, wine judge, author, raconteur and lovely person, Natalie MacLean (her free Internet newsletter is at www.nataliemaclean.com). We’re both fans […]

read more …

Read More

Chocolate & Wine 5

Nearly half of Americans are expected to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a special night out. If money is no object and the finest wines are available which vintage should you select? Wine experts reveal what they will be sipping on Feb 14. Richard Brierley, the head of wine sales in the Americas for Christie’s auction house, said he could opt for Champagne. “I don’t want to be predictable and go down that Champagne route, but if I did, it would be Salon 1996. It is just exceptional, alluring, full of verve and there’s so much energy about it,” he said […]

read more …

Read More

Chocolate & Wine 6

Being a person of the male persuasion, I am sometimes told I don’t “get” chocolate. I’ll admit that I like a rich, complex truffle now and then, but I’m at a loss to understand the near-orgasmic moans some women produce when swallowing such sweet sustenance. I understand that I am not hormonally equipped to enjoy chocolate at all levels, a limitation I accept along with not being able to play the violin, dance the tango or give birth. Given such limitations, I thought this year, in producing my pre-St. Valentine’s Day wine-and-chocolates column, I’d call on several experts who could […]

read more …

Read More

Chocolate & Wine

With Valentine’s Day coming, are you wondering which red wine to have with your chocolate? Did you ever wonder which red grape is responsible for the most red wine? Perhaps it’s Cabernet Sauvignon, the major component of most Bordeaux red wines and a mainstay in California vineyards. Wrong. It isn’t Merlot, the major component in the rest of the Bordeaux reds and a darling of California wines. Nor is it Zinfandel. So much for most California reds. How about Pinot Noir, the great red grape of Burgundy and Oregon? Nope. Well then, it must be Shiraz, also called Syrah, grown […]

read more …

Read More

Food & Wine 3

Wine always makes a tasteful gift, and you never have to wrap it. But how do you know whether your cubicle mate or running partner prefers a dry white or a luscious red? Add a tag to the bottle that lists his favorite complementary dishes, and you’ll be a hero. Unless your giftee is a habitual dieter or true ascetic, chances are you’ve dished about food. And your friend’s favorite cuisine may be all the insight you need to buy a great wine for him or her, says Natalie MacLean, sommelier and author of Red, White and Drunk All Over: […]

read more …

Read More