#25 VALENTINE’S DAY, UNCORKED

Time for wines that sparkle, wines that sweeten, wines that are all heart.

SWEET

The 2019 Chateau La Hargue Moelleux (★★ $12-$15) brings you a sweet taste of Bordeaux, light and lithe, fresh and fruity and at a very modest price, the pale gold wine is fine on its own and with chocolates.

From the North Fork of Long Island comes the elegant 2019 Paumanok Vineyards Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc (★★★★ $50, 375ml) a beautifully balanced, botrytised dessert wine. It’s full-bodied, lush, and heady with tropical fruit. The Aquebogue, N.Y. winery’s sweet star is outstanding on its own and excellent with blue cheeses and countless desserts.

And, in the spirit of romance, invest in the intense, vibrant 2017 Inniskillin Cabernet Franc Icewine VQA Niagara Peninsula (★★★★ $99.95). The seductive production delivers red berries, a hint of rhubarb, and vanilla. Consider it an ideal match with chocolate-covered strawberries.

BUBBLES

Goldeneye, part of the dependably excellent Duckhorn portfolio, stands out with pinot noir.

The repertoire now includes the exceptional 2017 Goldeneye Anderson Valley Brut Rose (★★★★ $65), a captivating sparkler that’s 60 percent pinot noir and 40 percent chardonnay.

A tangy, lively, crisp, and celebratory bubby, this rose has notes of blood orange and lemon, plus hints of strawberry. Toast away, keep pouring.

Billionaires Row Champagne Brut Rose (★★★ $110) enriches the festivities with almost two-thirds chardonnay, and, completing the Gallic formula, pinot noir and pinot meunier. A refined, harmonious, and fruity blend. The right company, from appetizers to desserts, to be enjoyed all night long.

WINTER WHITES

These white wines would be a treat year-round. You could sample the variety of sauvignon blanc during a snowfall as comfortably as you might at poolside. And a few sips might make the evening warmer.

The 2019 Duckhorn Vineyards Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc (★★★ $32) is an aromatic, luxe wine at a very good price. Plenty of tropical fruit here, especially mango and pineapple. You’ll also discover suggestions of peach and a bit of honeydew. The versatile wine is finished with 19 percent semillon. Start shucking those oysters.

The 2019 Stags’ Leap Winery Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc (★★★ $32) has suggestions of pear, and a detour to Key lime and a citrus harvest. A first-rate choice with shellfish, herbaceous chicken and pork dishes, and goat cheese.

And the creamy, slightly minerally 2019 Trinchero Mary’s Single Vineyard Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc (★★ $32) has very appealing notes of lemon, lime, and pear. Try it with oysters, littlenecks, or shrimp.

The refreshing 2019 Dry Creek Fume Blanc (★★ $16) is a bargain, very satisfying with traces of lemon and lime, and a trace of guava. It makes springtime seem closer, even when a blizzard is forecast. Fine with salads, seafood variety and more.

COCKTAIL HOUR

Runamok Maple produces organic maple syrup, cocktail mixers, and bitters in Vermont.

The company’s barrel-aged, infused, and smoked maple syrups are high-quality additions, starring ginger root, chili pepper, cinnamon-vanilla, and infusions with hibiscus flowers, elderberry, cardamom, and coffee.

Especially good: orange maple bitters and maple ginger mule cocktail syrup.

Look for them at runamokmaple.com

TEA TIME

Tea Runners offers subscriptions to purchase their assorted teas. They range from $21.25 to $25 per box. The teas also may be bought individually.

Recently sampled and recommended: soothing and fragrant Nile River Valley Chamomile; Sacred Tulsi Spiced Rose; Heavenly Golden Elixir with turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, anise, and more; and Red Apple Caramel.

Visit tearunners.com

BRAVEHEART BOTTLINGS

Touring Scotland is done best dram by dram, bottle by bottle.

Diageo is introducing a very luxurious way to visit via its distinctive and exemplary Distillers Edition collection, which takes in a selection of single malts from six landmark distilleries: Lagavulin, Oban, Talisker, Dalwhinnie, Craggamore, and Glenkinchie.

The Lagavulin and Oban whiskies are remarkable.

Intensely peaty, smoky, concentrated Lagavulin, from Islay lets the beloved 16 Year Old be double-matured in ex-bodega Pedro Ximinez cask wood. The result is masterful and sweetly potent. A must for devotees of Lagavulin. The Distillers Edition is about $110

From the West Highlands, full-bodied and peaty, is the Distillers Edition of Oban 14 Year Old, with its maritime accent. The Oban is double-matured in ex-bodega Montilla Fina cask wood. Deep flavors, sweet aroma, fruit and finesse. If you’ve never sampled Oban 14, this will make you a regular. The Distillers Edition is about $95.

“YOU MUST REMEMBER THIS …”

Bergman and Bogart at the airport…

Kerr and Lancaster awash on the beach…

Hepburn and Peppard in the rain…

Oberon and Olivier amid the moors…

Ryan and Crystal on New Year’s Eve…

Lady and the Tramp at Tony’s…

Yes, movie romances unspool in infinite ways. You must have your favorites.

 A little list of some follows. Left out so the selections aren’t all predictable are the films cited above: “Casablanca,” “From Here to Eternity,” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “Wuthering Heights,” “When Harry Met Sally…” and “Lady and the Tramp.”

And, for fairness and not to seem repetitive, excluded is every movie with Julie Christie, from “Billy Liar” and “Doctor Zhivago” to “Afterglow and “Away From Her.”

Here are a dozen roses, some fresh, some slightly faded, all ardent in their own way. Keep Champagne and/or Kleenex handy.

“Brief Encounter” (1945) – Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard co-star with Rachmaninoff in this polished, poignant classic, directed by David Lean before he blew up the Kwai bridge and made magic in the desert.

“The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” (1964) – Ageless Catherine Deneuve appears early on in a dreamlike musical from Jacques Demy and composer Michel Legrand. Restored and basically reborn 30 years after it opened. Voila.

“Romeo and Juliet” (1968) – There are versions before and after this one, but Franco Zeffirelli’s tale of passionate teens is all you need. Reigning are the music, camerawork, Leonard Whiting, and above all, Olivia Hussey.

“Splash” (1984) – Before “The Little Mermaid” came the life-sized one. Ron Howard’s easygoing movie dips and dives but does make you smile. With Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah. Far removed from “The Shape of Water.”

“Moonstruck” (1987) – Very sentimental, predictable, operatic. Like Dean Martin sings, “That’s amore.” Cher, Nicolas Cage, Olympia Dukakis, Vincent Gardenia. “A la famiglia!” Clink glasses. Directed by Norman Jewison.

“Roxanne” (1987) – A witty, wise, contemporary spin on a timeless play. Directed by Fred Schepisi, from a screenplay by Steve Martin, who also stars with Daryl Hannah as an astronomer Rostand would have approved.

“The Age of Innocence” (1993) – Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Winona Ryder in Martin Scorsese’s moving, gilded-cage look at love, marriage, society’s mores, from Edith Wharton’s novel. What a finale.

“Groundhog Day” (1993) – Bill Murray’s transformation defines this irresistible Harold Ramis rom-com, which also stars Andie MacDowell. There are some days you’d like to repeat, some not. Wake up to “I Got You Babe.”

“Up” (2009) – Directors Pete Doctor and Bob Peterson and Pixar create a lovely animated movie. It soars, to Paradise Falls and beyond. Voices include Ed Asner and Christopher Plummer; music by Michael Giacchino.

“Amour” (2012) – Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva, and the bonds of love are tested in an elegiac, haunting film. The acting, extraordinary; the writing and direction of Michael Haneke, subtle and powerful.

“Brooklyn” (2015) – Emigrated from Ireland to America, Saoirse Ronan finds more than a new home. She co-stars with Emory Cohen and Domhnall Gleeson in John Crowley’s film. See it to the last scene.

“Carol” (2015) – Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, and love between women in 1950s New York. Meticulous acting. And memorable, evocative filmmaking from Todd Haynes, based on Patricia Highsmith’s “The Price of Salt.”


ABOUT THE BLOGGER

For 34 years, Peter Gianotti reviewed wines, spirits, restaurants, and books at Newsday. He twice won Press Club of New York awards for food writing. Before he became a food critic, Gianotti was a Washington correspondent, a financial writer, and New York City reporter for the newspaper. His books include “Food Lovers’ Guide to Long Island” and “A Guide to Long Island Wine Country.” Gianotti received his B.A. from Fordham University, where he taught journalism; and his M.S. from Columbia University, where he also was a Bagehot Fellow. Harry, his Creamsicle-hued assistant, prefers the bouquets of riesling and pinot noir.

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