The first Valentine’s piece I penned for Delectable surely had the single lady touch. I was recommending wines for all sorts of Valentine situations, romantic and not. From then, I’ve done a love-themed wines piece , and I’ve done a skin contact edition because, of course. And then there was one about sparkling rosé , which I always dream of drinking with all sorts of loves.
And now? For my fifth Valentine’s installment, as a single, perpetually broken-hearted and/or jaded singleton (although I prefer to call it being a free agent), I’m recommending sweets for your sweet in a variety of situations.
Some of these are just a little sweet. Some are a lot. Take your pick. Here are the situationship sweet pairings!
YOU’RE FRIEND-ZONING THEM + ICEWINE
There is no crystal clear chill as pure as an Icewine—so if you want to make it clear that hey, this romance is in the deep freeze, what better way than a wine made with grapes picked at -8 degrees Celsius? That’s 18 in Fahrenheit, and a wickedly sweet way to say “I don’t”.
2019 Jackson-Triggs Reserve Niagara Peninsula Vidal Icewine
Tropical fruit, Asian pear, and Saturn peaches glide through your mouth. There’s something about the purity of fruit in an Icewine, and this one delivers.
Pair with: Icewine is a dessert in and of itself, so it would be absolutely fabulous with a stinky blue cheese which, come to think of it, also might make the point that you aren’t into hooking up.
YOU FINALLY CAME OUT + LATE HARVEST
Better late than never—whether or not you have a partner you’re culminating being out with, can I recommend a Late Harvest option?
2015 Far Niente Dolce
Sauternes via California! 90% Semillon, 10% Sauvignon Blanc, 28 months in New French Oak and botrytis all team up for this exceptional bottle. Gimme your saffron, your lime marmalade your first born—no wait keep the first born, give me this friggin’ wine and let your queer (or ally!) self fly. A hint of quince and gingerbread and a whole swatch of honeysuckle kick in on the palate. Just a touch of acid burn makes the medicine not stick like a spoonful of sugar would. Now take all of that, and it is being served on a refreshing bed of vanilla bean gelato. Rich but somehow lean.
Pair with: Something wise as you are to your orientation—mushroom tart? I think so. Sounds offbeat, but I would eat this with a mushroom tart. Or have it as dessert to said tart. Or both.
WHOEVER YOU’RE WITH “DOESN’T LIKE SWEET WINE” + VOUVRAY
If you need to ease your lover into Candyland, start with a Demi-Sec Vouvray—all that acidity cuts right through the sweet. Next thing you know, they will want dessert before dinner. Take that to mean what you will.
2020 Domaine Huet Le Mont Vouvray Demi-Sec
Sapid, crunchy, smooth-riding jollies in this one. Just ever so slightly sweet. It takes you for a spin from the lanolin and yellow apple nose to the honeysuckle-slicked mandarin orange, and, yes, there are more lanolin and apples on the palate. It manages to coat the mouth and feel light as air all at once, like a comforter that is featherweight but somehow keeps you quite warm. It finishes with the juxtaposition of brambles and browned butter caramel.
Pair with: Something to further assure your companion that this semi-sweet wine works…call it classic, but a plate of apple slices and goat cheese drizzled with ample honey, sprinkled with walnuts, and garnished with a sprig of baby arugula will throw your sour-mouth friend into a state of happy confusion where they realize they don’t EVEN KNOW the meaning of sweet. Or savory. Where is the line? Sometimes they come together. Like lovers do.
YOU’VE BEEN TOGETHER FOREVER + VINTAGE PORT
Get a wine as old if not older than the relationship, and explore how sometimes love does not fade. Do decant an hour or so. If you’ve been together for a while, you can wait for a good wine too.
2010 Grahams Quinta dos Malvedos Vintage Port
Beautiful black and blue fruited nose. Velvety texture and candied but not too sweet. Tastes of blackberry cordial and Godiva chocolate liqueur, spiced up with licorice. Warming and expansive, soothing—but with a bit of lively zest and spice to keep things interesting. Sorta like you want in a lasting relationship, too, right?
Pair with: Peanut butter and jelly is one of the finest Port pairings on earth and suitably casual enough for when you don’t need to impress each other, but cut the sandwiches out with heart cutters if you must.
YOU’RE WORKING TOO MUCH TO BE SOCIAL, YOU DESERVE A TREAT
Something sweet and offbeat is just the ticket to treat yourself and wake up a tired palate.
2019 Joseph Phelps Napa Valley Delice
Good golly, it’s luscious. Satiny sweet. Supple and energetic. And made of Scheurebe, whaddaya know. A veritable parfait of nearly overripe pineapple, candied pink grapefruit and mango drizzled in cinnamon-demerara simple syrup.
Pair with: Whatever mindless yet perfect snacks you have around. I recommend salted pretzels, dried mango, fresh pineapple and white chocolate chips. Trail mix of your dreams?
Want to read more from Ellen? Check out her recent articles:
Big Barolo EnergyWhat to Drink When You’re Not DrinkingRAW and Natural Wine: Chilled, Unfined, UnfilteredSugar and Wine and Everything Fine
You can also listen to Ellen's podcast , The Wine Situation here . Check out her recent transcripts of the Final Five questions:
Wine Situation Final Five! Megan BellWine Situation Final Five! Andrea Jaramillo
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