Wednesday Wine

As we approach Valentine’s Day, we recognize that everyone celebrates in their own way. Terry, our Wednesday Wines collaborator, has some rather romantic ideas for an evening filled with food, wine and more.

So – what to do first in preparation for your special evening. Is it perhaps to shop for that special piece of sexy lingerie? You know you always feel a little extra special and feminine when you make your partner’s day with a new outfit. One of the best lingerie stores in our neck of the woods, where they always give you the attention you need and deserve is Patricia Gourlay in Greenwich, CT. They have a fabulous selection of soft, silky, feminine pieces. It’s a great place to start!

photo courtesy of cotton club

Perhaps you are a marvelous cook and your partner is looking forward to having that romantic dinner you never seem to have time to make. The meal should include some ingredients that are reputed to be aphrodisiacs. Vanilla is known to bring on lust. For this you can have on hand a candle such as this lovely Carrière Frères Vanilla Planifolia.

Mustard is known to help stimulate desire and increase the glands in question. Fennel, a libido enhancement was found in the 1930’s to have natural plant estrogens. Pine nuts have been used since medieval times as a libido stimulant as well. They are rich in zinc which retain potency. Bananas, shape aside, are filled with potassium and vitamin B, needed for sexual hormone production. And chocolate, besides being a Valentine’s Day classic, is full of caffeine, well known to be a stimulant. Now that we have the food ingredients, let’s come up with a meal.

A nice starter, where you could use the pine nuts, would be a light linguine dish. Roast or pan sauté the pine nuts. You can sauté some chard to add a little color as well as 1/2 C. of your favorite mushrooms. Add the vegetables with a little chili olive oil for some extra flavor to the pan (if you can’t find the chili olive oil, just use some red chili flakes mixed into your favorite Italian olive oil). Cook and drain the linguine and combine with the other ingredients in the pan so the linguine soaks up the flavors. A quick, easy and delicious way to begin.

For the entree, let’s prepare a grilled veal chop with mustard and fennel. Crush some fennel seeds and mix with salt and ground pepper. Mix the spices with some dijon mustard and coat the chops. (note from q. – I prefer the rib chops but if you can’t find them, the loin will do). Grill until tender. If broiling, that will be about 6 – 8 minutes per side depending on thickness. You may serve with your favorite starch. (another note from q. – we serve our veal chops with a side of capellini). Follow up with a mixed green vinaigrette salad . You may add some fresh fennel here as well for an extra boost!

A simple but delicious fruit dessert rounds out the meal. Chocolate covered strawberries are a perennial favorite. And to mix it up, as well as add that potassium and vitamin B, slice some bananas lengthwise and warm them in the oven. Drizzle the chocolate over the bananas and add some vanilla ice cream if you like. It doesn’t hurt to have a small bowl of extra melted chocolate to dip the strawberries in to feed to your partner.

Now for the wine! You certainly can’t have a romantic evening without champagne. For Valentine’s Day, you must serve rosé champagne for that nice pink touch. Take some petals from those roses that your partner sent you earlier and let a few float in your glasses. Here are three ideas for rosé champagne depending on your price point.

The Domaine Carneros Rose, a vineyard founded by Claude Taittinger in the late 1970’s, is a beautiful blend of 58 percent Pinot Noir and 42 percent Chardonnay and is a great choice at $30.

The Charbaut Rosé is consistent, light, refreshing and works so well with foods. At $40 it is one of the rose champagnes that I have been drinking for 30 years.

The Ruinart rosé, as with all the Ruinart champagnes, is made with a slightly higher proportion of Chardonnay giving it plenty of body and a smooth elegance. You should start with champagne and can also have it with dessert if you like.

As for dinner, I am a huge fan of drinking reds with pasta. So grab a nice Rosso di Montalcino (I call these the baby Brunellos). They are full of bright delicious sangiovese grape varietals and perfect with the flavor of the pine nuts and the earthiness of the mushrooms. Mocali Rosso di Montalcino 2007 at $25 or Poggio Antico 2006 Rosso di Montalcino at $30 would be excellent choices (photo pictures the 2007). Just serve a single glass since you have another course coming.

A nice rich Syrah based wine from California will melt the veal chop in your mouth. The Hyde de Villane Syrah is full of rich berry flavors and spice at $50. Midslop, from the area of the Rhone for $22 is a steal. If you prefer to stay with the Italian theme, then you should move into a Brunello de Montalcino from Friggiali 2004 at $58 or La Fuga Brunello de Montalcino 2004 at $60.

Now comes dessert. If you are interested, you can include more of the champagne. But wherever you decide to indulge in your chocolate fantasy is up to you!!

Thanks Terry! Wishing you a delicious and romantic Valentine’s Day dinner!!

49 thoughts on “Wednesday Wine

  1. I so wish I could drink wine, but alas it never makes me feel good and makes me blush way more than I already naturally do…yikes! I also am not a fan of strawberries dipped in chocolate, but I would love to swim in pool of chocolate…Charlie and the Chocolate Factory style. That has always been a dream of mine, but when I really sit back and think about it…nasty! Fabulous post that I’ll have to share with my man for sure!!!

    • Connie – I drink red with almost everything as well – when I’m not having champagne that is!

  2. Mmm it all looks fantastic, Ruinart is my favourite Champagne so I will definitely be cracking open a bottle.

    Loved the previous bunny post! I have never seen that picture of Deborah Harry before, wonderful.

    • Dash – Love the Ruinart – and not everyone knows about it. Isn’t that Deborah Harry shot fun? I had one of Lauren Hutton as well!

  3. What a romantic way to begin my day, here with all these clever tips. Buying good quality lingerie is worth the investment. I have some delightful trappings from my wedding trousseau. I take great pleasure in preserving them. Perhaps one day, I shall artfully frame them.
    The way to a heart is via the stomach and I fully intend to create this menu and pairing of tantalizing wines. Rose petals strewn in a heart shape….and soft music.

    • pve – What a wonderful idea – to frame the lingerie – could be fabulous in your new master bath!!

  4. Such fabulous ideas! I need to start planning my Valentine’s dinner – as it’s a Monday, having dinner at home in front of the fire (after the children are in bed) sounds perfect.

    Love Patricia Gourlay….always a favorite stop in Greenwich for lingerie!

    Love is in the air!
    xo elizabeth

    • Elizabeth – I’m sure your Valentine’s Day dinner will look beautiful as well as taste good!

  5. I KNOW the work that went into this post!!! It’s fantastic. I love “The Year Of The Rabbit” as well…going to hijack that gingerbread recipe. Thank you for sharing your Joe Namath story….you wouldn’t believe how many emails I received with funny and inspirational memories….I thought it would be all about the beefcake! Keep up the good work…adding you to my blogroll today…and have a terrific weekend…v-day….k

    • Thank you Kathy!! Loved the Namath post as well and not surprised you received all those emails – he definitely represents an era!

  6. My favorite is Sofia Coppola’s Sparking Rose’–it is a great thing to serve with chocolate. We love it. I just bought 2 bottles today for the weekend. Wonderful blogs entry.

    • Hi Beth – I’ve actually never had this one. Will have to try it!! And if it goes well with chocolate then we could bring this one in for dessert! Do drop by again!

  7. Stacey: My, you do have a lucky beloved. When you mentioned the “L” word I had to run to the Women’s Voices For Change Place and get more information to explain, why that concept completely eludes me. The bechamel eggplant lasagna, from last night’s book club, has expanded my holiday fun figure to alarming proportions. Oh well, for now, I cannot think of romance, only of love.

    • Liz – That bechamel eggplant lasagna sounds decadently delicious!! As for the other issues, WVfC is a great source!!

  8. I am blown away by this editorial….fantastic. I did not know about the mustard, fennel and pinenut “effects.” Your menu is delicious and I look forward to trying your Rosé Champagne recommendations. I am going to print this post. You are amazing.
    Mary Ann

  9. Wow, q! What a Valentine’s Day!
    Little late for the veal, but I will have to get some tomorrow if the weather behaves. I am now starving, and in need of a little nightcap.
    Thank you for sharing.

    • Hi Teresa – Grilling or broiling veal is so easy – and delicious!! I do it every week. And when you’re not trying to include these libidinous ingredients, they are also good with sage.

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