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Wines for Valentine's

So....a "Wine for Valentine's Day" blog being posted on the night of Valentine's is a little late, but check out the card aisle of your local grocery store or the lines at a florist at 5PM tonight. Yeah, guess I'm on time for this. If you're cooking at home (ultra romantic) or silently calling Uber Eats and passing it off as your own then you'll probably want something to compliment the culinary masterpiece that you're creating. During last week's class with Geoff Troup we visited a few options that would best pair with your stay at home Valentine's dinner.

Lobster with sparkling wine, Filet Mignon with Cab, Scallops with a nice buttery chard, the pairings are as endless as your imagination. Also worth mentioning for the aesthetics alone Rose for Valentine's works as well especially if it's in bubble form. I was just speaking with a customer on how he could jazz up glass of bubbles. Drop a few fresh red berries into the flutes and viola! you're an instant Romeo.

Onto the dessert course....not as easy as it seems since now we're dealing with sugar and if you're pouring a red wine then you have tannin, two flavor components that don't always mingle. Maybe instead of wine you might choose to head over to the cream liqueur section which are pretty much desserts themselves. Don't worry, bathing suit season is still weeks away, put that gym membership to use starting on the 15th.

So what do you pair when you have a plate of chocolaty goodness like these staring at you? During a recent in-home wine dinner with the Farm Belly food truck I ran into this issue. Scratch Bakery in Milford provided the dessert course for the event. While the desserts were absolutely delicious, the wine pairing I suggested worked well with the brownie but clashed with the 2 others. Even though a Tawny Port isn't the same kind of sweetness as a Ruby Port, the sweetness of the Tawny clashed with the sweetness of the tart and heart shaped whoopie pie. What to do what to do?? When in doubt, Lambrusco to the rescue! Not just for charcuterie plates and pizza nights, the sparkling red bubbles blended perfectly with the trio. Just enough fruit that complimented the chocolate in it's many forms. While everyone loves a good dessert as a finish to an equally good meal, I still suggest closing the meal out with a good cheese plate adorned with fresh fruit, nuts and condiments especially when doing a wine pairing dinner.

Which brings me to this "ace in the hole" sparkling wine. We know of the sparkling red wine from Emiglia Romana Italy called Lambrusco. Have you heard of Bugey? Located in France between the Savoie, the Jura, Burgundy, and the Rhône (what better geography can you get honestly?) wines have been cultivated here since medieval times by monks. The region didn't receive AOC status until 2009. Bugey is the name of the appellation, Cerdon is considered one of three crus within the appellation of Bugey and the only one whose entire production consists of sparkling wine. Another point of interest on the label is "Methode Ancestrale" which is different than the Champagne Method in which the primary fermentation is stopped before completing. Secondary fermentation occurs in the bottle, ending when the yeast cells deplete the supply of residual sugar. There is no dosage, or sugar addition, to kick-start the secondary fermentation, and the wine is not disgorged to remove any sediment or lees remaining afterward. Today we're featuring another stellar selection from importer Kermit Lynch, the Patrick Bottex Bugey-Cerdon "La Cueille" (one of seven high-altitude regions surrounding the historic medieval town of Ponsin. The Bottex’s blend consists of ninety percent Gamay and ten percent of the native varietal called Poulsard. It finishes off under 10% ABV making it super chocolate friendly. Good red berry fruit with hints of citrus zest and fine bubbles, beautiful rose coloring. The density of chocolate nicely offset the lightness of the wine, and balanced the fruit of the Bugey. Wine and dessert pairings are a joy to research. Now off to the florist to see what's left. Enjoy your Valentine's Day! Try something new in that empty glass.

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