IT'S NOT THE WINE VALENTINE'S DAY!
Nevertheless, what wine to drink?
I have been researching the archives of my past columns for wine suggestions. I have also been asking friends about wine suggestions for Valentines Day too. The consensus has been for a sweet wine or a sparkling wine, both good suggestions, by the way.
I have always liked Santa Barbara Winery's late harvest wines and have written about them several times in this column. One friend who lives in the San Fernando Valley reminded me that Claiborne & Churchill makes unusual and very good dessert wines.
Another friend who lives in Pasadena told me the wine for Valentines Day is the wine that goes with chocolate!
Ports and chocolate are always a great marriage-like milk and chocolate chip cookies. Claiborne & Churchill has a California port they call PortObispo. The wine is very reasonably priced at $12.50 for a 375 ml bottle. My other recommendation for the chocolate match would be Santa Barbara Winery's Zin Essence, a late harvest zinfandel, priced at $30.
There might be something more important than the wine. Jim Fiolek, long time friend and former VP at Zaca Mesa, used to host our old radio wine show when I was in broadcasting. He did a program once about drinking the best wine money could buy and what an awful experience it could be if you were drinking it with a bore or a snob or some pretentious geek. On the other hand, a bottle of something basic, with no pedigree, like Two Buck Chuck nowadays could be a perfectly glorious and sublime experience in the right situation with the right person.
What a revelation Fiolek's axiom was for me.
The object of your affection should be the person, never the wine, the food, setting or ambiance. Sometimes people forget that wisdom. The single red rose in the bud vase can add more to the moment, and the backdrop of Glenn Gould playing Bach's Goldberg Variations or Nathan Milstein playing Bach's Partitas for unaccompanied violin might well add more magic to the moment than any bottle of wine.
Be it Valentines Day-or just any day-as long as the fine Santa Maria Valley pinot noir (or Two Buck Chuck), imported Havarte cheese (or Velveeta), Godiva chocolates (or Hershey Kisses), Bach's riffs (or Bob Wills and the Texas Playboy's riffs) never steal the focus for the one you care about or love, go for it. Who's important way exceeds what's important!
Claiborne & Churchill's tasting room, by the way, is located at 2649 Carpenter Canyon Road in San Luis Obispo. Open daily 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (805) 544-4066. Santa Barbara Winery's tasting room is located at 202 Anacapa Street in Santa Barbara. Open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (805) 963-3646.
Wine lover and Santa Maria Times Wine columnist, Bob Senn, lives in the bucolic Los Alamos Valley and owns the Los Olivos Wine & Spirits Emporium.
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