A French Wine Valentine’s

Special sips for a special meal

This year for the annual Valentine’s wine column, I decided to narrow the focus to wines from France and organize them around a hypothetical dinner of some classic aphrodisiacs. No matter how full-bodied or intense, French wines have a delicacy, a tenderness that augments the depth and mystery of their marriage of fruit and earth.   


Val de Mer Cremant de Bourgogne Rosé, $22

Oh so dry, with pinpoint bubbles that turn frothy on the finish. A hint of wild strawberry rises in the coda. As fine as many Champagnes, but at half the price.          

King Crab

Vincent Girardin Chassagne Montrachet 2009, $50

Round and pillowy, this is a tender Chardonnay with coconut notes interspersed with dill and tarragon.   


Pierre Henri Morel, Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2009, $48

The wine’s leathery aromas and gorgeous, liquorious fruit are a wonderful match for musky truffles. Truffle oil or shiitake mushrooms are fine substitutes.    

Banana Pudding

Durban Muscat de Beaumes de Venise 2009, $16

The peachy succulence of this sticky dessert wine is a marvelous complement to the pudding’s creamy, tropical ripeness. 

Available at Madison’s finer wine stores. If unavailable, most purveyors will special order from their wholesalers if requested.

Michael Kwas is wine director at L’Etoile restaurant. He writes this column monthly.

Read more Off the Vine columns here

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