Do you want to seduce someone this Valentine’s Day? Forget the lingerie, lipstick and silk-tie handcuffs – just share a glass or two of wine with your amour.
Just in time for V Day, I’m going to share with you my favourite wines for seduction, including some melt-in-your-mouth pairings with chocolate.
- Why do almost 60% of women prefer wine over candy for V Day?
- Why has Champagne, in particular, has long been the drink of romance
- Why is Pinot Noir called the “heartbreak grape”?
- How can you avoid ruining your wine with chocolate?
- Is chocolate an aphrodisiac as Casanova believed?
- Tune in to The Social on CTV on Monday, February 11 at 1:00 PM ET as we pair wine and chocolate for Valentine’s Day
- If you want 9 bonus wine suggestions and pairings that I didn’t include in this podcast or the show notes, then get them for free at nataliemaclean.com/joinus.
- Taittinger Brut Champagne
- Henry of Pelham Winery Cuvee Catharine Brut Sparkling Wine Rosé
- Chandon Rosé Sparkling Wine
- Villa Maria Estate Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc 2018
- Domaine Queylus Grande Reserve Pinot Noir 2015
- Gloria Ferrer Pinot Noir 2014
- Louis Jadot Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2014
- Cave Spring Indian Summer Riesling 2016
- Reif Estate Winery Vidal Icewine 2017
- Southbrook Vineyards Framboise
- Fonseca Port
- Graham’s Port
- Dow’s Port
- Taylor Fladgate Port
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Welcome to episode 10! Just in time for Valentine’s Day, I’m going to share with you my favourite wines for seduction, including some melt in your mouth pairings with chocolate.
But before we get started, I’d like to give a shout out to Lakeshore Way, who left this review on Apple podcasts, quote “She’s honest and funny. Going behind-the-scenes of the wine world … Kitchen Confidential style.”
Thank-you Lakeshore Way, I’m going to take you behind the scenes of the wine world even more in upcoming episodes … stay with me.
If you review this podcast and want me to mention your website or social media handle, please include that in your review, along with your name. I want to celebrate you and let others know how to connect with you online!
Do you want to seduce someone this Valentine’s Day? Forget the lingerie, lipstick and silk-tie handcuffs—just share a glass or two of wine with your amour.
Researchers at Glasgow University have discovered that if you consume just two glasses of wine, members of the opposite sex appear more attractive by about 25%. By the way, that’s not a sliding scale.
And besides, you don’t want to overdo it. As Shakespeare said of wine, “It provokes the desire, but takes away the performance.”
Apparently, over a few glasses of wine, love is blind, or at least it’s wearing rosé-coloured glasses. Perhaps that’s why it’s one of the greatest social lubricants—wine has certainly done more to keep relationships together than vodka.
Wine embodies slow, physical pleasure: its aromas are a heady blend and its velvet caress on the tongue both soothes and excites. What other drink is described as “voluptuous” and “curvaceous”?
(Naughty Frenchmen say the sturdy shape of a tall-shouldered Bordeaux bottle reminds them of their wives, but the curvilinear Burgundy bottles conjure up images of their mistresses.)
Forget the line about candy is dandy, and even liquor is quicker. Try wine is divine. Women find gifts of wine romantic.
The research firm Cyberpulse found that 59% of women ages 21-39 wish their sweethearts would give them wine, not candy, on Valentine’s Day. And London’s Sunday Times reported that wine tastings rank above all other venues for finding a date. The reason? Wine means spending time together.
Wine has long been the drink of romance, from Omar Khayyam’s poem “A loaf of bread, a jug of wine and thou” to Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman toasting each with champagne in Casablanca.
In fact, I can’t think of an unromantic wine, except maybe some of those critter-label bottles. But even a fluffy squirrel or wide-eyed lizard can be endearing.
However, when it comes to choosing the wines to celebrate Valentine’s Day, there are certain wines that hold a special place in my heart.
These are delicious wines that I can depend on year after year—dependability and loyalty count for a lot when it comes to both wine and love.
The first wine that comes to mind is champagne. Perhaps it’s the way that the intoxicating scent of strawberries tickle your nose before you drink sparkling wine, or maybe it’s the luxurious taste (and price), but champagne is one of the most romantic wines on the planet, especially when someone else is buying it for you.
That’s why we drink it with wedding toasts rather than say merlot. One of my favourites is Taittinger Brut Champagne with its toasty aromas of baked bread and ripe pears.
I’ll link to this wine, and all of the others in my show notes at nataliemaclean.com/10. This link will give you my full tasting notes, score, food pairings and which liquor stores closest to you have the wine in stock now.
If you really want to make your honey weak in the knees, nothing comes closer to the hearts-and-roses theme than the pink pearls of sparkling rosé.
Real men and women do drink pink. I love both Henry of Pelham’s Catharine Cuvee Rosé Sparkling Wine from Niagara and Chandon Sparkling Rosé from California, with their notes of fresh raspberries. Add an extra dash of colour by dropping a raspberry into the glass.
When it comes to white wines, I love zippy, refreshing wines that pair well with a romantic dinner of dover sole or another light fish. Try Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand, with its sexy silver thread of acidity that makes it swim with a fish dish.
Is there any other red than pinot noir for Valentine’s Day? Yes, I know it’s called the “heartbreak grape” but that’s not because of its effect on relationships.
Rather, pinot is a difficult grape to grow and therefore expensive (and heart-breaking) for the self-described pathological optimist vintners who make it.
The wine is silky and seductive. Try Domaine Queylus Pinot Noir Reserve, Niagara, Gloria Ferrer Carneros Pinot Noir, Napa Valley or Louis Jadot, Burgundy France.
So if you do want to give both bonbons and bottles, keep in mind that “death by chocolate” isn’t just a dessert—it’s a way of killing your wine too. Chocolate can dull the taste of wine, or even make it bitter—unless you select wines that are sweeter than chocolate.
We love chocolate not just for its taste, but also for its sensual texture. Cocoa butter, one of its main ingredients, melts close to body temperature, so sliding a piece into your mouth and feeling it seep out to coat your tongue can almost be orgasmic.
Maybe that why’s the eighteenth-century Venetian womanizer Giacomo Casanova drank chocolate daily as an aphrodisiac.
Sadly, scientists have since proven no link between chocolate and sexual prowess, but they have discovered that it contains a compound that produces a high in the brain that’s similar to the feeling of falling in love.
Is it any wonder that women crave chocolate more than any other food? (Men, those hopeless romantics, crave pizza.)
Many wine lovers don’t even try to combine wine and chocolate, feeling that the rich sweetness of chocolate is too much for any wine.
But I usually buck conventional wisdom (and I like to layer my vices), so I’m determined to find some good pairings.
In matching wine with any dessert, the overarching principle is that the wine must be the sweeter of the two. That’s why chocolate, with its concentrated and creamy flavors, usually goes best with sweet, full-bodied, high-alcohol wines.
Alcohol itself gives the impression of richness and sweetness. But there are many shades and intensities of chocolate, so I’m going to share a few ideas for sweetening its marriage with wine.
Side note, if you’re listening to this podcast in real-time, when it’s published, you can also watch Canada’s most popular daytime television show, The Social, on CTV this Monday, February 11th at 1 pm eastern as we’ll be pairing wine and chocolate for V Day … we always have so much fun on that show.
If you can’t tune in live, you’ll be able to find a link on my site to the video clip, and I’ll include that in the show notes once it’s broadcast.
Late harvest wines, such as Cave Spring Indian Summer Riesling from Niagara, as well as icewines, like Reif’s Vidal Icewine, and make excellent matches for fruit or biscotti dipped in chocolate.
They have enough sweetness to pair well with both the fruit and just a touch of chocolate. Also, try the raspberry-based Framboise from Southbrook Winery … decadent!
The bonus? If things don’t work out with your amour, or you just don’t like the all the mushy sentiment around Valentine’s day, these wines are also excellent with those cute little heart-shaped sugar cookies, especially if you take a large mallet and pound the cookies to bits.
Very satisfying. Then take another sip. Breathe.
The best partner for dark chocolate is vintage port, with its plumy, dark berry flavours. For milk chocolate, I prefer tawny port, since its aromas have a natural affinity with it: caramel, coffee, nuts, dried figs, cinnamon, vanilla, and spice.
These ports are also divine with pralines, a decadent mixture of sugar and ground hazelnuts.
My favorite ports are from Fonseca, Graham’s, Dow’s, and Taylor Fladgate. In a future episode, I’ll focus exclusively on pairing wine and chocolate as there are so many other choices beyond what I’ve mentioned.
How about you? Do you have favourite wine with chocolate you’d like to share with me?
You’ll find the wines I mentioned in this podcast in the show notes, at nataliemaclean.com/10.
If you want 9 bonus wine suggestions and pairings that I didn’t include in this podcast or the show notes, then get them for free at nataliemaclean.com/joinus.
These are new each week and exclusive only to those who tell me, yes Nat, I want those extras at nataliemaclean.com/join-us.
Next week, we’ll chat with Forbes Wine Columnist Katie Bell about her adventures finding and tasting the world’s best wines, think Domaine Romanee-Conti and others.
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I can’t wait to share more personal wine stories with you. Thank you for taking the time to listen to this. I hope something great is in your glass this week!