Romance and Roux – Red Wines for Valentine’s Day

couple drinking red wine

Dear reader, 

It is with the most amicable of intentions that I shall bring this matter to your attention. Perhaps for the keenest observant amongst you, I’m doing nothing more than to state the obvious, but, haven’t you noticed how the ton has chosen to indulge in a kaleidoscope of period dramas, romances and musicals lately? 

Bridgerton is only the tip of the iceberg. From the Champagne-fueled intrigues and lusty encounters in this Regency-era take on Gossip Girl, to the life of chess player and dark academia fashion icon Beth Harmon (Anya Taylor-Joy) in The Queen’s Gambit. From an off-beat take on the reign of Catherine The Great crafted by the creator of The Favourite (another sharp and award-winning story about a queen) to even the good ol’ mid-century American charm played with a good dose of post-modern sarcasm in Wandavision. 

My hypothesis now, after sharing all that, is that what we want in our screens reflects what we crave in our glasses, and perhaps, what we wish to experience with all our other senses. We want beauty, we want elegance, indulgence and maybe even a little bit of decadence.

Cue big, smooth, red wines. 

With their intensity, complexity and warmth, these rubies can be the crown’s jewel in the game of creating a seductive atmosphere. Let them woo your palate the way this new wave of glamourised vintage stories can entice one’s imagination. 

It doesn’t have to be Valentine’s day, but any excuse is good if it offers a reason for celebrating love. And just like with the shows, attention to detail and little extra touches matter. Bring out the decanter and savour the anticipation, repurpose the fairy lights for some magical lightning, play music that means something to you. 

Think of the red wine you choose for this Valentine’s Day (or your next date night) as a mini honeymoon. Let it transport you to the South of Italy, the Spanish coast or, why not, to an empty drawing room at a ball, no chaperone in sight.

Looking for some inspiration? Here are a few reds in a variety of styles and regions, but all lush and elegant. 

Marchese di Borgosole

13% ABV

€14.95 – Available at Boutique Wines

This vibrant red hails from the sun-kissed region of Puglia, Italy. 

It is a blend of Negroamaro and Malvasia, velvety and balanced, with generous notes of ripe red fruit and a hint of cocoa, vanilla and toast.

La Rioja Alta Vina Alberdi Reserva

14% ABV

€24 – Available at Celtic Whiskey Shop

A classic within classics, this rich and intense Tempranillo wine is aged for two years in American oak barrels made in-house by the winery (a testament of their attention to detail and perfectionism).

Expect cherries, vanilla, licorice and spice, all united in a full-bodied, elegant red.

Cortes de Cima Tinto

14% ABV

€22 – Available at Whelehan’s Wines, Green Man Wines, The Corkscrew

This Vhino Regional Alentejano blends Aragonez, Syrah and other local varieties, which come together in a combination of French and American barrels where they age for a year.

Its silky texture and bright berry acidity keep it fresh and provide a lovely contrast to its tannins.

Catena Malbec

13.5% ABV

€20 – Available at SuperValu, O’Briens Wine

One of the pioneers and most prestigious producers of the very popular Mendoza Malbec brings this varietal to our shelves from the foothills of the Argentinian Andes.

Smooth and velvety, it is plentiful in flavours of ripe dark fruits starring blackberries and plums, with a delicate undertone of sweet spices.

Suertes del Marques 7 Fuentes

13% ABV

€23.50 – Available at Nattywine, Siyps, Green Man Wines, Sweeney’s D3

This Tenerife-based producer has earned a bit of a cult following for its low intervention wines from organically farmed grapes grown in volcanic soils in this sunny Spanish island.

Fermented with wild yeast, and made from local variety Listan Negro, it’s a rare beauty. Sharp and deep, smokey and flinty, black pepper meets blackberries.

Stonier Pinot Noir

14% ABV

€27.50 – Available at O’Briens Wine

Australia’s Mornington Peninsula is one of a handful of New World wine regions that has been acknowledged as a worthy alternative to Burgundy. 

This gently oaked, vegan-friendly, Pinot Noir shines with glimpses of the earthy, savoury character the variety is capable of, while conceding the spotlight to the vibrancy of ripe red cherries and cranberries that give away its Aussie approach.

Château Lagrange Lussac-Saint-Emilion

13% ABV

€20 – Available at Martin’s Off Licence, Mitchell & Son

If Bordeaux’s Right Bank is Merlot capital and Saint Emilion is city centre, then the region of Lussac-Saint-Emilion would then be a lovely suburb not too far from town in both distance and character. 

This Merlot-dominated blend (Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon completing the cast), is rich in juicy plum and toasty wooden notes, enhanced by chocolate and black cherries.


You may also like...