A night to remember
A remarkable Riesling could win the heart of your Valentine
There are those who take St Valentine's Day lightly, as a day of flirtation and easy deals. But there are others who see it as the occasion to single out the one who singles you out, thereafter to be doubled up for ever.
If you belong to this second class, you will want to entertain your victim with wine symbolic of commitment. The episode should begin with real champagne by way of proof that you are prepared to make the investment. And as the victim is led to the table, with that gentle flexion of the head whereby, according to the Greeks, the sacrificial ox consents to the blow at the altar, a robust but fragrant white wine should propel the proceedings. Finally, as the futility of the whole event is about to become apparent, refuge must be sought in a refined but solid red. After that, with a litre of wine in the guts of both contenders, surely some kind of arrangement will follow.
Corney & Barrow's offer for St Valentine's Day contains just the wines you need. They are not cheap, but far from expensive, given their superlative quality. Moreover, they are entirely suited to the work in hand. Delamotte's rosé champagne is as delicate, seductive and welcoming as a temple dancer. The Pinot Noir gives it a flavour of wild berries and woodsmoke, and if the victim is unable to burst into joyous conversation after a glass or two of this, you had better cancel the deal.
The Trapets, who use in their Alsatian vineyards the same biodynamic methods that they employ back home in Gevrey-Chambertin, have produced a truly remarkable Riesling - full, rich, clean and dry, though with a hint of sweetness. The citrous spice and long finish are characteristically Alsatian, true to the uniquely complex soil of the region, producing minerals that glitter in the mouth like the life in a rock pool. The price reflects the great care that has gone into producing this wine, and it is a care not only of the vines but of the soil beneath them: your serious companion will be moved by the Trapet family's commitment to the planet and its future, and may even, as a result, think of a commitment to you and yours.
Finally, what is surely one of the greatest of Spanish wines, and one that knocks most Rioja into a three-cornered hat - a Bierzo, grown by Álvaro Palacios using the same soil-friendly methods as the Trapets, and culled from the vertiginous slopes at Corullón.
Bierzo has a spiritual aroma that hovers above its earthy foundations like a choir of angels above a mountain village. Countless mules and donkeys have paid with their lives to retrieve the grapes of Corullón, and a toast to their memory will bring the proceedings to a happy conclusion. Alternatively, keep this wine to toast some future Valentine. However serious the commitment, Bierzo will usually outlast it.