If you don;t think of German as the language of romance, Riesling might just change your mind.
The Mosel Valley where some of my favorite Rieslings originate, has gorgeous scenery, a lambent river flowing through vine laden cliffs, impossibly steep. The slate based soil looks more like alien AstroTurf than something that would foster such delicious flavors. Blue slate and red slate produce different flavor profiles, with blue slate contributing stone fruit, citrus and more delicate flavors. Red slate is colored by volcanic deposits. Expect drama, lychee fruit, honey and magic. When I visited over the summer I got to try many wines and I have to say I liked all of them. High sugar balanced against high acid creates an interplay as tight as a trip wire in a Tom Cruise summer blockbuster. Even if you don't like sweet wine, try it and be dazzled.
|photo by brenna phillips|
And it is super easy!
Swing by your local Whole Foods
Find the Dr. Loosen. Choose between Erderner Treppchen, named for a steep staircase carved into the reddish soil of the vineyard to make it easier for the harvesters to scale the vineyard. Or pick Wehlener Sonnenuhr from the blue slate vineyard of the same name. A more delicate peachy delight, it's like summer in a bottle. Combine with the prettiest strawberries you can find mid winter and you have an easy Valentine's Day treat.
Bonus, Riesling will keep for a long time if you get distracted and don't finish the bottle. Stash it in your fridge and pair with whatever you want.