The Art of Wine Seduction – By Sara d’Amato
Valentine’s Day is only a week away. If that is news to you then you’d better start thinking of ways to woo and beguile your loved one. Lucky for you, this column is intended to help boost your sex appeal, not that you need it, of course, as you’ve probably been working that treadmill since New Year’s and you’re even starting to see some muscle definition. All that notwithstanding, unless you’re Antonio Banderas or Scarlett Johansen, we could all use some help in this department. From experience, the art of seduction with wine has been quite successful. Regardless of how I look and feel, I can always count on just the right bottle to impress, lure, tempt and entice.
Although wine is a pretty powerful tool on its own, its persuasiveness is all the more extraordinary when paired with just the right flavor, texture or pungency of food. The result of such a match is a powerful aphrodisiac that is able to attract the most rigid of partners. So, before you reach blindly for the oysters and chocolate, think instead of creating an electric match that will prove a hauntingly exquisite memory for years to come.
So, let’s get to work, time to top yourself, the clock is ticking . . .
Henry Of Pelham Reserve Off Dry Riesling 2009, VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada, 557165, $15.95
Electric is Riesling’s middle name; truly, this wine can produce a frenzy in the right circumstances. Pairing a vibrant wine such as this with a slightly acidic dish can tame the acid in both the food and wine and produce a dynamic and nervy yet harmonious pairing. Try asparagus with a squeeze of lemon, or one of my personal favourites, a grapefruit and avocado salad.
Gran Lurton Corte Friulano 2010, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina, 66829, $19.95
Forget the flowers, this exotic bouquet is enough to make a girl’s heart flutter. There is great contrast and interplay in this wine with sweet and sour, tropical and citrus notes that playfully intermingle and tug and pull on the palate. Such a flirtatious wine deserves an equally mischievous pairing such as fish ceviche, a whipped foie gras mousse or a dish with bit of heat such as a Thai inspired curry.
André Clouet Brut Grand Réserve Champagne, Ac, France, 228718, $42.95
All you have to say is “Champagne” with the right, inquisitive intonation and you are half way there. This bubbly is not only well-priced but it is a Grower Champagne which means it comes from a typically small house who grows the grapes used to produce the wine. These Champagnes account for a very small percentage of sales and are therefore rare and also more esteemed. Serving such a Champagne will give you instant class and calls for a delicate but extravagant pairing. Traditional and upscale choices such as oysters or caviar work beautifully. However if you would like to tone down the extravagance of this wine, try popcorn with just a hint of truffle oil and you will have yourself a sensual and surprisingly superb match.
Don Nieto Senetiner Don Nicanor Malbec 2008, Mendoza, Argentina, 178657, $17.95
Brooding, intense, sultry and smoky describes this bombshell of a Malbec that will do the seducing for you. Get yourself a pair of castanets for added drama when you serve this voluptuous red. A wine such as this with firm tannins requires some protein: rare, red meat pairs exquisitely. On the safe side, a great cut of beef would undoubtedly be a hit, but venison raises the bar. Don’t be afraid of seasoning here as finishing salt and a good dose of cracked pepper will only enhance and smooth the texture of this full-bodied wine.
Remo Farina Monte Fante Riserva Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico 2004, Doc, Veneto, Italy, 63636, $62.95
Instead of chocolate, try this Amarone paired with an array of richly flavoured cheeses. The dried fruit flavours lend almost a sweetness to this wine that makes a delectable, contrasting pairing to salty, fatty foods. Or, if you are feeling particularly proficient in the kitchen, try your hand at a blue cheese cheesecake, which tends to be most successful with creamier blues such as St. Agur from France or full-flavoured versions such as Spanish Cabrales.
A thoughtful wine pairing is sure to impress the one that you covet. It is easy to turn up the heat with a small amount of preparation and good deal of passionate motivation. So now that you have the tools, go, be fruitful, bewitch and mesmerize the heck out of your sweetheart. It’s okay; you can take all the credit.