Whether you consider it a celebration of love and romance, or just another overhyped Hallmark Holiday, Valentines Day is just around the corner. And with it come all of the signifiers and customs we’ve come to associate with the holiday: roses, chocolates, the color red, those chalky candy hearts. While any number of wines can be appropriate to help celebrate the mood of the day (if you choose to celebrate), your Private Wineaux believes that there’s one that wraps it all up into one glass.
Ladies and gentlemen: Brachetto d’Acqui
Brachetto d’Acqui is a light-bodied red wine made from the Brachetto grape in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy. A bright ruby red in color and with fine frizzante bubbles, it gives some of the headiest aromas and flavors in the wine world. Red roses and brambly herbs marry with strawberries and overripe plum and just a hint of something dark and brooding on the finish: perhaps to remind us that it’s from the Piedmont — home of Barolo and Barbaresco — baby, and we’d best not forget it!
What wine could be better for Valentine’s Day? It’s a perfect match for all of the day’s signifiers. The bright red color will fit right in with the abundance of red . The nose will complement your bouquet of roses while the taste will pair harmoniously with that box of fine chocolates, the red velvet cake, strawberries and whipped cream, and dried fruits. It comes very low in alcohol, usually around 5.5%, so you can be ready for whatever else you have planned for the evening. Better still, it comes steeped in legends of love. The Consorzio Tutela Vini D’Acqui suggesets that the Vinum Acquense, an ancient wine believed to have had aphrodisiac powers and sent by Julius Caesar and Mark Antony to Egypt in courtship of Cleopatra (who used it to kindle the passions of her lovers), is the direct precursor to modern day Brachetto d’Acqui. What wine can claim a more romantic history than that?
Perhaps the most popular and easiest brand to find in the States is Banfi Vintners’ Rosa Regale in its signature decanter-style bottle available in a range of sizes from 187ml split to 1.5L magnum: enough for all the loves of your life. Intense red in color with red fruit flavors trending toward raspberry, it feels a bit thick in the mouth (an associate used the term “cloying”) even for a sweet wine. A bit harder to find, but well worth the search, is the offering from Alasia. The herby strawberry-esque flavors are delivered with a good balance of sweetness and bubble-enhanced acidity: a solid representative of the appellation.
And go ahead, try some with those candy hearts! Nobody else has to know!