It’s finally upon us: Valentine’s Day (I know, I’m cringing a little, too). Cupid’s Day is kind of a stressful holiday, for most of us, whether single or paired. But Valentine’s Day has two things going for it—one, the pink theme color, and two, the emphasis on drinking.
Put those two together, and boom! You’ve got seduction.
But wouldn’t a luscious red wine be the bottle of choice on this romantic, wintery occasion? Not necessarily, Romeo. In fact, rosé is by no means a summer-only beverage. Most rosé wines are great year-round—typically the fuller-bodied, darker-hued ones, but also bubbly rosé. At once light and refreshing, and also packed with savory notes, darker rosé is hard to beat, whatever the situation: alone and watching Netflix in bed, cooking dinner with friends, or a fancy date night at a restaurant.
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Here are some fantastic winter-friendly pink wines to get your hands on right now, so you can text your boo with a tempting offer he or she won’t be able to refuse.
Tavel is a small appellation in France known for its darker-hued, Grenache-based rosé from top quality vineyards. A fun fact to impress your bookish date with: Tavel was the preferred wine of writers like Hemingway and Balzac. Way before the whole brosé thing, these men of letters knew how good pink wines could be. Unlike some wine regions, where rosé is a byproduct of red winemaking, rosé is actually prioritized in Tavel and winemakers there take it quite seriously. This particular bottle is a classic (and very affordable) Tavel: it has a very aromatic nose, and is full-bodied on the palate with rich and savory notes as well as fruity ones like strawberry, melon, and white gardenias.
If your date works in finance, likes wearing a lot of bling, or is a MILF, you have no other recourse than true Champagne. Dry, crisp, elegant, light hued, this is a great example of rosé Champagne, which is made by adding still Pinot Noir juice to a blend of white grapes. This brand is supposedly the most popular in France, perhaps because of its pleasant salmon hue, or maybe because there are a lot of bling-wearing MILFs who work in finance? Although the company is old, they’re making strides toward environmental sustainability like cleaner energy and recycling—just something to mention to show you’re interested in something other than that cougar’s dollars.
Hey, broke artists, unemployed writers, and homeless winos: you, too, can celebrate Cupid’s day with elegant pink wine! If you want a satisfying, light and dry sparkling rosé that’s budget-friendly, you can’t beat this Portuguese wine, from a female winemaker (bonus points for feminism!). It’s made in the Champagne Method (also called Traditional Method) so there’s a nice, creamy mouthfeel balanced out by electric acidity. This pale pink wine will go with any sort of light food, and the bubbles will calm your stomach if you’re nervous about that Tinder date you had the gumption to ask to be your Valentine (maybe she’ll pick up the bill?).
Everybody knows that Italians are the sexiest people in the world (sorry, France and Buenos Aires), so to up your ante (and mojo), try Italy’s version of a pink wine: an almost-red, fizzy Lambrusco. Silky, fresh, light, and just a bit earthy, this style of Lambrusco is close to a rosé even though it’s technically a red wine. Serve it with heart-shaped cookies while offering your honey a gift of red lace lingerie. Nine months later, you just may be welcoming a little Giacomo or Francesca into your lives, and you’ll have the winemakers of Emilia-Romagna to thank.
Grenache, Cinsault, and Syrah make up the blend for this smooth, strawberry-inflected wine. The bottle is a great value, and also, there’s the added benefit that everyone has heard of Côtes du Rhone, so your date won’t be intimidated by your wine knowledge. Unless he’s a complete ditz, or a teetotaler, in which case, well, we’re not sure how to help you, and maybe you should just order some tater tots and down this bottle yourself while binge-watching Chelsea Does. Which actually sounds like a great date . . . are you by any chance free tonight?