Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.
Ah, Valentine’s Day. If everything goes right, then you have a happy romantic night out with your loved one, and wake the following morning to songbirds chirping, the sun caressing you with buttery light, a suffusion of love in your heart, and no hangover at all. If things go wrong, then you get a night full of misery, anger, disappointment, shame, betrayal, and tears, but what did you expect? That's what dating is all about.
Here’s the deal, though: It didn’t have to be this way. I blame Pope Gelasius I. Back in 496, in a frenzy of popely goody-two-shoes-ness, Gelasius banned the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, when noble youths would run through the city naked, striking people they met with shaggy thongs made of goat-hide, and substituted Valentine’s Day in its place.
Go figure, right? I mean, come on. Which would you rather have, a city full of crazy naked youths running around smacking people with thongs, or a dopey card with a heart on it? Uh-huh. You got that right.
Be that as it may, Lupercalia is gone, Valentine’s Day is here, and no matter what your romantic situation is, you’re undoubtedly going to need a drink. Here are five suggestions to match some possible Valentine’s Day activities.
Hanging Out with Unattached Friends Discussing How Much Valentine’s Day Sucks
Popping the Question
Having Perfectly Happy Date Involving One Fish Entrée and One Meat Entrée
Cru Beaujolais is a fine choice, such as Chateau Thivin’s 2010 Côte de Brouilly, which somehow recalls ripe blueberries, or the 2010 Georges Duboeuf Fleurie, which is more along strawberry/raspberry lines. Frappato, a floral, light-bodied grape variety from Sicily, is also a good choice - try the 2010 Valle dell’Acate Il Frappato, the 2010 COS Frappato, or the 2010 Tami Frappato from the talented young winemaker Arianna Occhipinti.
Doing Laundry By Yourself
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