Many people believe Valentine’s Day is no more than a Hallmark card holiday, invented by the greeting card and confections industries. There is some real history to the sentiments of the day. The infographic below (attribute: History Channel) lays it out.
The celebration of love each February 14th we call Valentine’s Day is rooted in both Christian and ancient Roman beliefs. At least three Catholic saints are named Valentine, or Valentinus. The most popular story is about a priest in the third century CE who defied the Roman decree against soldiers marrying. Of course in order to become a saint in the Catholic religion a miracle must be attributed to the person and such was the case with Valentinus. He is purported to have healed his jailer’s sick daughter.
The saint’s day is still on the calendar of many Christian denominations. The day as an expression of love goes back to the 16th century CE and the act of exchanging gifts was popularized during the 18th century. Heart-shaped chocolates and hand-written notes were the gifts most often given. With the rise of the mass-produced greeting card industry in the latter 19th century our modern tradition has prevailed.
Wine is a perfect accompaniment to flowers, chocolates, greeting cards, or all of the above. Sparkling wine is most recommended.
This year I have a lovely suggestion to top my list. Full disclosure: this wine was sent to me as a sample. If you know my policy you know that I accept samples but do not promise to post reviews or write negative reviews. If I do not a like a sample I prefer to communicate directly with the sender before panning their product publicly.
Anna de Codorníu Brut Rosé NV.
Cordorníu is a Spanish producer with a pedigree going back to the 17th century, and a top producer of Spain’s sparkling wine, known as Cava, for the region in the northeast corner of the country. The wine is named for the wife of the viticulturist Miquel Raventós, whose family has grown this wine since the mid 1600’s. It is a romantic homage all by itself. Josep Raventós, a descendant of Anna’s was the first winemaker to use Chardonnay grown in the Penedès region of Cava and master the “Méthode Traditionelle” which put Cava on the world’s wine map.
Let’s start with the unique packaging. The bottle is swathed in pink with a pink and silver foil capsule so it makes a beautiful presentation. The wine is a brut rosé made from 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay. The abv is 11.5%. At a $15 price point this is right in the sweet spot and a great value for the money. It has it all, inside and out. The wine is a beautiful strawberry color with substantial mousse (bubbles, or head in beer parlance) on the first pour. Strawberry and red bramble fruits on the nose with some cherry on the palate. You might think to see it in the glass that it will be sweet but it is rather well-balanced. Since the pleasure of wine for me is always in the experience, I enjoyed it during the Blizzard of 2015. As almost three feet of snow fell in the northeastern United States on January 27th Suzanne and I celebrated finally learning how to use our new snow blower, in our new house, and toasted the nice neighbor who cleared our long driveway with his pick-up truck and snow plow. We earned it. Delightful with fresh strawberries, light appetizers, your imagination, and of course, your Valentine.