Before shelling out the big bucks for a dozen roses and dinner, consider this wallet-friendly alternative: A DVD and a bottle of wine. Below are some options for the perfect Valentine’s Day pairing.
Wine Pairing: Landmark 2006 Pinot Noir, Grand Detour, Sonoma Coast, $32
Hip music, romance and a dramatic finish, Once is a fantastic film to pair with an elegant Pinot Noir. An example of this sophisticated style is the Landmark 2006 “Grand Detour” Pinot Noir, an ultra premium blend made with prized fruit from five Sonoma Coast vineyards: Kanzler, Keller Estate, Flocchini, Gap’s Crown and Armagh. Aged in 33% new oak for ten months, this wine features ripe flavors of fresh raspberries, wild strawberries, forest floor, and sensual spices that flirt with the senses.
Beyond the Sea
Wine Pairing: Valley of the Moon 2005 Sangiovese, Sonoma County, $16
Romantic crooner, music star, actor, and entertainer Bobby Darin (Kevin Spacey) meets his soon-to-be wife, actress Sandra Dee (Kate Bosworth), while filming a movie in Italy. To emulate the mood surrounding this romantic courtship, try the Valley of the Moon 2005 Sangiovese, a sexy Tuscan-style red wine featuring flavors of bright cherry, cranberry, fresh sage, and a hint of toasted oak. To add even more flair to the experience, try singing a few lines to “Dream Lover,” the classic hit by Bobby Darin, while serving this delicious wine.
When Harry Met Sally
Wine Pairing: Spann 2006 Chardonnay-Viognier, Sonoma County, $20
In the same way the two main characters played by Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan tickle your funny bones, the exciting flavors of this unique Chardonnay and Viognier blend can immediately capture the attention and stimulate the palates of lovebirds watching this romantic comedy. In essence, the Chardonnay adds layers of crispness and fresh citrus to the blend; while the Viognier adds voluptuous aromas and flavors of dried apricots, peaches, pears, and an ample dose of richness to the mouthfeel. To make this experience even more stimulating, try this pairing with fresh seafood and tangy spices commonly associated with Californian, Asian or Indian cuisine.
An Affair to Remember
Wine Pairing: Gloria Ferrer 2000 Royal Cuvée Brut, Carneros, $32
There is no doubt that An Affair to Remember is a classic film with a lingering finish. A fine sparkling wine that can live up to this level of romance is the Gloria Ferrer 2000 Royal Cuvée Brut, Carneros. Made with 65 percent Pinot Noir and 35 percent Chardonnay grapes grown in the cool-climate region of Carneros, this charming bubbly exudes flavors of Asian pear, Bing cherry, red berries, roasted nuts and a long, enchanting finish. To further enliven the senses, serve this sparkling gem with aphrodisiac delights such as oysters on the half shell, fresh berries or toasted nuts. Go lovebirds, go!
Wine Pairing: Matanzas Creek 2004 Merlot, Bennett Valley, Sonoma County ($28)
In the quirky romantic comedy Knocked Up, Seth Rogen plays Ben Stone, a Canadian-born slacker loafing in L.A. One fateful night, Ben meets Alison Scott (Katherine Heigl), a pretty and intelligent woman out celebrating her promotion to anchorwoman on E! News Live. After a night spent dancing and drinking, Alison invites Ben home for a nightcap where a condom-free, one-night stand ensues. After finding out she is pregnant Alison and Ben attempt to find a common ground despite the hilariously funny but questionable advice from their friends and family.
To add more spice to this sweet and sassy comedy, try the Matanzas Creek 2004 Merlot, Sonoma County. Made with 93 percent Merlot and smaller portions of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Cabernet Franc, this well-crafted wine features elegant aromas of wild sage, clove and quince, abundant flavors of ripe blackberries and red currants, a rich mouthfeel, silky smooth tannins and a sophisticated finish. In short, this delicious new release matures in the glass in much the same way the relationship between Alison and Ben does in the film!
Music & Lyrics
Wine Pairing: Buena Vista Carneros 2005 Syrah, Carneros ($21)
Hugh Grant plays Alex Fletcher, a singer/songwriter/keyboard player, whose claim to fame was being a member of the ’80s New Wave band called pop. But after his solo album is a complete failure, Alex is given a second chance to redeem himself by writing a new hit song for popular teenage music sensation Cora Corman (Haley Bennett). With less than two weeks to complete the song and a severe case of writers block, he enlists the help of his new romantic interest Sophie (Drew Barrymore), who luckily happens to have an uncanny knack for creating rhymes.
In terms of wine pairings, this fun film offers a couple intriguing options. The first would be to stick with the nostalgic theme and simply serve a chilled bottle of Cold Duck or a four-pack of wine coolers. The second option would be to focus on Alex’s second chance at success, which requires a more sophisticated style of wine. A great example of this is the Buena Vista Carneros 2005 Syrah, a delicious red wine featuring aromas of fresh blueberries, lavender and violet; flavors of ripe cherries, fresh plums, smoked meats, black pepper and other spices; and a nice touch of toasted oak on the finish.
Wine Pairing: Kenwood 2006 White Table Wine, California, $9
After a playful sexual encounter with friend Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera), spirited Mid-Western teenager, Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page) finds herself pregnant and unsure about giving birth. Her decision is helped along by an affluent couple (Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman) who agree to adopt the child once it is born. Funny, intriguing, youthful and eminently adorable, this fine independent film captures your attention and leaves you hanging until the final credits role. It’s that good!
Young, perky and filled with bright fruity flavors, a fantastic wine to pair with Juno is the 2006 Kenwood White Table Wine. Made with a blend Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscat Canelli grapes, this vibrant wine features a beautiful golden hue, fragrant aromas of tropical fruits, lemon zest and vanilla, magnificent flavors of ripe pineapple, white peach and fresh citrus, a burst of zesty acidity at the end of each sip.
Christopher Sawyer, “Sommelier to the Stars,” is the official sommelier of the Sonoma Valley Film Festival. The 11th annual Sonoma Valley Film Festival will take place April 9 – 13, 2008.