Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and instead of going out to a crowded restaurant with tacky heart shaped balloons and a bottle of cheap sparkling wine on every table, why not stay at home and prepare a romantic gourmet meal for your loved one. Of course, you will also need at least one bottle of wine and following are several wine suggestions for this romantic evening.
Or Haganuz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Marom Vineyard (Shamai plot), 2011 – situated in the Upper Galilee, Or Haganuz Winery, a Kabbalic name meaning the ‘hidden light’ is managed and operated by the residents of an Ultra Orthodox cooperative village (similar to a kibbutz) bearing the same name. Over the years, the wines from Or HaGanuz have improved dramatically and in the recent Terra Vino 2013, Or Haganuz received recognition as the best boutique winery in its category. 100% Cab from a single vineyard, 14 months in French oak, the result is a very enjoyable and well balanced wine suggesting dark berry fruits, plums, raisins and dry herbs leading to a long and pleasant finish.
Galilee Mountain, Meron, 2010 – I am a big fan of the Galilee Mountain winery. A winery that isn’t known for producing ‘big wines’ and unlike others doesn’t boast a diverse and often pricey wine portfolio; however looking at quality, consistency and value for money the Galilee Mountain winery is definitely up there. The Meron 2010 is a blend comprising Syrah (73%), Petit Verdot (18%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (9%) from vineyards in the Upper Galilee; 16 months in French oak result in a fruit forward and rich wine suggesting ripe dark berry fruits, fresh herbs, caramel and toasted oak leading to a long and silky finish.
Yarden, Rose, Brut, 2008 – if sparkling wines are considered celebration wines, Rose sparkling wines are considered the ultimate romantic vino. Produced in the traditional méthode champenoise, this is a very enjoyable wine produced from 70% Chardonnay and the balance Pinot Noir. Clean and focused bubbles, refreshing notes of red apples, strawberries, flowers and a touch of yeast. Serve chilled, the wines will pair well with sushi or ceviche but in my opinion for Valentine’s Say, a big bowl of fresh strawberries and a bottle of Yarden’s Brut Rose is all you need.
Binyamina, Gewürztraminer, late harvest, 2010 –a very enjoyable dessert wine from Binyamina, 100% Gewurtz grapes from vineyards in the Upper Galilee , straw towards gold in color suggesting generous aromas of tropical fruits, lychee, rose petals, honey suckle and a hint of spice leading to a long finish. As a rule of thumb, dessert wines should be sweeter than the food it is served with. This one would pair well with fruit pies or white chocolate mousse with passion fruit. Another option which is common in many restaurants is to serve alongside seared foie gras, toasted baguette and homemade jam.