Valentine Wine: In Vino Viagra on love’s holiday | AspenTimes.com

Valentine Wine: In Vino Viagra on love’s holiday

Kelly J. Hayes
WineInk

Under The Influence: Krug Clos D’Ambonnay 2002

I’ve never even seen this legendary and quite expensive bottle of this 100% pinot noir. It is the most recent release of the Champagne grown behind the walls in the single-acre vineyard Clos D’Ambonnay. But I have been told it is the bomb. There have been just six vintages of the wine produced since its introduction in 1995. According to Krug, the golden straw color has an intensity and fullness that is a result of the pinot noir. It is a wine that would perhaps serve as an unofficial “official” wine of Valentine’s Day.

It ought to be a national holiday. No, make that a global one. A worldwide holiday with all the trimmings, where everyone takes 24 hours to simply love.

Puppy love. Married love. Tinder love. Brotherly love. Carnal love. Love of life. Yes, Valentine’s should be the day where people everywhere stop and celebrate their love for each other. Because, as we all know, what the world needs now is love, sweet love.

While many parts of the world mark Valentine’s Day as a romantic notion, not one country on Earth designates it as an “official” national holiday. We tend to save the official days to remember battles or births. Valentine’s Day is, for many, more of a marketing opportunity. The sale of love, as it were. But if there were one righteous movement that could be launched that is appropriate for our times, it would be one that codifies one day a year for coming together for the purpose of contemplating love. Why not make it Valentine’s Day?

And, of course, wine would be the universal drink for such a day. Why? Because in countries that consume alcohol, wine has been prized for millennia as the social lubricant that breaks down barriers and brings people together and promotes well-being. It is the ultimate uniter. And it is the elixir of celebration.

The only real question is what kind of wines would be best for this worldwide day of love? I opt for pinot noir and Champagne. Both from France. A nation that knows romance.

The official elixer of Valentine’s Day is born in many of the most beautiful vineyards on Earth.
Getty Images/iStockphoto | iStockphoto

Why? Well, the heart is where love begins and science has shown that moderate consumption of red wine can have positive impacts on heart health. There are two reasons for this. One is that polyphenols, or antioxidants, that are found in red wine may have a role in protecting the lining of blood vessels in the heart, while resveratrol, a compound found in the skins of grapes, have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease. There are those who have questioned whether the consumption of wine offers enough polyphenols and resveratrol to make dramatic impacts on the health of the heart. But I say, if you believe it, it will make it so.

Then there is this: A study of 25,000 men conducted by the University of East Anglia and Harvard University from 1986 to 2010 found that flavonoids, another polyphenol, organic compound found in the skins of grapes, could reduce incidence of erectile dysfunction. Now, we live in the age of purple pills, but it is good to know that a couple of glasses of wine a day can produce some good, solid results.

And a study of Florentine females in 2009 focused on how drinking a little wine before love positively affected their satisfaction. Seven hundred, ninety-eight women living in Chianti agreed to participate in a study that divided them into three groups: teetotalers, those drinking two or more glasses of red wine a day and those who drank other alcoholic beverages. The evidence was anecdotal, but the study stated: “The finding that regular moderate intake of red wine is associated with higher scores for both sexual desire, lubrication and overall sexual function as compared to the teetotaler status is intriguing.” Again, I say, if you believe it, it will make it so.

But damn the science. We all know that a little red wine will make the heart grow fonder. It doesn’t take a lab tech in a white coat to tell us that.

And that is where Champagne comes in. There is nothing else quite like the joy that comes with the opening of the bottle of Champagne. The explosion when the cork is popped, the sensual sensation of the bubbles in the glass as they make their way up the flute, the creamy taste in the mouth when first sipped coupled with that feeling of fizz on the tongue. You don’t need science to tell you that Champagne enhances love.

Pinot noir is one of the three grapes that are used in the production of Champagne, and in the vast majority of bottlings it is blended with chardonnay and pinot meunier to produce white or rosé sparkling wines. But there are a few producers who make Champagne using 100% pinot noir. These white wines made from dark-skinned grapes are known as Blanc de Noirs, or literally, “white of black.” The pinot noir is pressed very gently and the clean, clear juice is extracted to make the wines. These Champagnes are rich and full-bodied and the style is popular in other sparkling wine regions.

Blanc de Noirs. It may be the perfect wine for a day of love.


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