This is one of a series of chats we had yesterday on the CBC drive-home shows across the country. I liked this one in particular with host Sue Smith of Homerun in Quebec because she has a great sense of humour.
Sue also wanted recommendations for those who hate Valentine’s Day … I was happy to oblige along with the food pairing suggestion of heart-shaped cookies that you break into small bits first with a hammer.
Now that we’ve launched the inventory of SAQ wines on the site, along with the LCBO, BC Liquor Stores and the first national database of wines and wine reviews, you can find the wine below, Kim Crawford Pinot Noir, no matter where you live and check how many bottles of this lovely red are in stock right now at the liquor stores closest to you.
Enjoy your version of Valentine’s Day — wine is so versatile.
Hate Valentine’s Day? There’s a Wine for That Too
Sue: It is 19 minutes to 6 o’clock. It is Valentine’s Day and sometimes it can be hard to make it special. I mean sometimes let’s face it we try too hard, right? Reservations at big fancy restaurant, booking some romantic getaway, maybe it should really be as simple as the right bottle of wine. Natalie Maclean is a sommelier, also writes about wine and she joins me on the line, good afternoon Natalie.
Natalie: Hi Sue.
Sue: So, can I just ask you, on Valentine’s Day I just don’t think I’m going to have a romantic bottle of beer. what is it that links wine with romance?
Natalie: Well, you know you’re right about that Sue. What other drink, certainly not beer, is describes as voluptuous and curvaceous. I think wine is considered romantic because it is the drink of conversation usually shared over dinner with other people or with your partner. It’s a slow drink; you don’t down wine like a shooter. So I think there are variety of reasons and just the pure sensuality of it, its aromas and flavors and its ability to go with food. It’s risen written to the top of the alcohol pyramid in terms of the romance factor.
Sue: I was reading an article that you’ve written about this and I’ve found some of the research on this very interesting, that women actually prefer wine to chocolates?
Natalie: Yes, surprisingly 60% according to cyber pulse study. 60% of women wish their sweetheart would give them wine not candy on Valentine’s Day. . I think it’s something they can share. They can share candy but I think it’s something more you would have over dinner and maybe it’snot as fattening. It can lead to other things, too, of course.
Sue: Okay, so presumably, we’re not talking about just a bottle of wine, right? We’re talking it about having it with dinner?
Natalie: Sure, although my favorite pairing for wine is more wine. It’s very romantic.
Yes, candle light dinner or dinner out of a small restaurant and a great bottle. There are just so many possibilities, like planked salmon or tuna and a beautiful bottle of Pinot Noir. You go to the other end of the spectrum and you have a juicy rare steak with the big honking Cabernet. There is something for everyone no matter what your taste.
Sue: You do have some specifics? Or you just go for the general varietals?
Natalie: I can get as specific as you want. Kim Crawford Pinot Noir is in SAQ. It’s a lovely Pinot Noir because they tend to balance new world and old world. There’s a bridge between a benchmark Burgundy and quite a bit cheaper than Burgundy …
Natalie: … and the new world sweeter version is made in California. So you have that acidity that balances the fruit freshness. Kim Crawford Pinot Noir, the one I’m thinking of is $22. It’s a bit more pricey perhaps but of course you want to splurge on Valentine’s Day. Pinot Noir is known as the heart break grape and I’m not being perverse in recommending it. It’s called The Heartbreak grape because it’s so difficult to grow. Pinot Noir has a thin skin like some people I know, so it’s very susceptible to disease, rot and mildew. When they get it right its sublime.
Sue: Wow, okay now you’ve made me want to try that. I’ve only had the white; which I can’t remember ….
Natalie: It’s the Sauvignon Blanc.
Sue: Yes, the Sauvignon Blanc.
Sue: Yes, that is delicious. I have to confess, I have a bottle of champagne that I’ve been hoarding in my fridge I was going to drink it tonight.
Natalie: Oh yes!
Natalie: You know champagne or Sparkling wine from other region.
Sue: Yes, usually, I have Prosecco but this was a gift.
Natalie: Nice, you know they can just make any evening celebrations. What better night than tonight and the bonuses that Sparkling wine and champagne, they’re the most food friendly wines on the planets. So you can pair that up with anything, from fried chicken to you know your seafood, your shellfish or just potato chips. ‘Cuz you know it’s a sort of Bridget Jones night and king of thing with a movie so.
Sue: And what about do you have any specific recommendation because I mean I really don’t normally drink champagne ‘cuz I do find it pricey but Proseccos are pretty affordable.
Natalie: Prosecco, yes from Italy. You know you’re going to pay maybe fifteen–twenty dollars versus entry-level champagne, non-vintage starting at sixty–seventy. So Prosecco I mean there’s lot of great ones out there, Santa Margarita, Santa Ana, I’m thinking all the saints now I guess.
Sue: What about the American ones, I know?
Natalie: Yes well there is known Sparkling wine but Proseccos only Italy but you’re right it’s still a bubbly from California, you ‘ve got the Moet Chandon which is owned by the Champagne House – Moet Chandon but your Moet Chandon is only going to be about 25–30 dollars. We have also sparkling wine from Niagara like Henry of Pelham, Catherine Brut which is available in SAQ, again around 30 bucks so You have some good choices there. And you can zip over to Spain as well for Cava which means kafe. And they’re also in the price range, Prosecco 15-20, $25 max.
Sue: I don’t want to show off but I have Clicquot in the fridge, I’m actually like I even say this over Christmas I was like “No! I can waste it on New Year’s eve.”
Natalie: This Clicquot she’s the Grand Dame, clicquot means widow, have you know?
Natalie: And so she was the young woman running that house at the turn of the century but Veuve is robust champagne because champagne is always a blend of three grapes – Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir and that lead to Pinot Noir C, You have that really robust texture for champagne that’s the great one for resulting vinegar chips.
Sue: Yes, you know I’m laughing at your references ‘cuz I did want to ask you before I let you go. People always talk about Valentine’s Day but you know there are a lot of people who really hate Valentine’s Day so what if you are just curling up with a movie and a bag of chips, what you would recommend for that Valentine’s Day wine?
Natalie: We do like sparkling wines but also I like to, on certain Valentine’s Days that haven’t gone too well in the past, I like to break those heart cookies like really break them with a hammer and then pair them up with maybe an Ice Wine, for February a hard ice cider and great special like domaine pinnacle or naish, the apple ciders; go really well with broken bits of heart cookies.
Sue: You’re funny, Natalie it’s always a pleasure speaking to you, thank you.
Natalie: Have a good one too.
Sue: Thank you, that is Natalie Maclean a sommelier and wine writer and we’ll put a link to her website up on our Facebook page, but it is nataliemaclean.com, find that hilarious smashing the heart cookies and drinking them with the domaine pinnacle ice cider. Yummy! Actually I just found in the supermarket a delicious sparkling cider by Domaine Pinnacle and you can buy that at the supermarkets it could be up line. It’s delicious and it’s like $12, so lots of choices out there. I’d love to know what you’re drinking but my text-line is down but I wish you all, whether you’re bah humbug to Valentine’s Day or whether you’re celebrating romantically with a cat or a dog or a partner or kid, enjoy the day!