Red wine and romance are already common bedfellows but what kind of red will really warm the heart? This gorgeous single vineyard Brunello di Montalcino from La Lecciaia should be just the thing. This Riserva comes from a gorgeous hillside that receives the best sun exposure on the entire estate making it even more special for your someone special.
Its flavors are deeply layered and complex with dark cherries, tobacco and leather nuances. The gold, painterly label makes it best served by candlelight which is really everyone’s best angle.
Perhaps you’ve spotted this ornately decorated rouge orb. It’s one of the most iconic liqueurs inspired by a rich history of being passed around 17th century castles in the Loire Valley. Its ingredients sounds like something that should be cloaked in chocolate and boxed up rather than poured into a cocktail. It’s produced from red and black raspberries, madagascar vanilla, moroccan citrus, honey and cognac.
The bottle itself screams date-night but what’s wonderful is how versatile it is as a cocktail ingredient. We prefer ours poured in a bit of cava to make something fizzy and fittingly pink. You can also whip up a Chambord Manhattan with bourbon, bitters and a maraschino cherry for a more dark and daring concoction.
Port and fortified wines in general are a category that deserve a second glance. Due to their historical intrigue and fascinating production methods, they garner major street cred with booze snobs.
Port’s origin is really a story of right place, right time. When Portugal was becoming a huge trading hub with the Brits in the late 17th century Port started making a name for itself. It wasn’t just the bold robust sweetness that appealed to the English but rather it’s stability. Fortifying wine - i.e. adding alcohol to stop the fermentation - is really a preservation method. This allowed for the bottles to travel great distances by ship without disturbing the quality of the juice.
Today what continues to make it such a lovely pour is it’s full bodied flavor and balanced sweetness. This Sandeman 20-Year Reserve Tawny Port doesn’t have the cloying sugar of some dessert wines you may have tried but rather a savory almost salted caramel like quality. It’s a great bottle to have around as it can be left open on your bar for when the mood strikes. That lovely richness and stability still comes in handy even three centuries later.