FOOD AND DRINK
Bottle Shop: Dinner for Two
Whether you subscribe to February’s Hallmark holiday or not, nothing says romance like a quiet dinner for two at home. Obviously you’re going to want to pour something special. So drop off the kids at Grandma’s, light up some candles, and pull the cork on one of these beauties.
Lallier Grand Cru Rosé Champagne
Champagne is more than just a grape-based aphrodisiac: it’s an oenological panacea. It’s certainly not the cheapest libation, but when you can find a bottle of this exceptional quality under $60, you better stock up. Made from an 80/20 blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, this pale sparkler glows like a shiny new penny. (Remember those?) Smelling of apples, oranges and flowers, it delivers an unbelievably creamy mousse and a crisp, spicy finish. There is a lot of complexity here for the price. Try with baked salmon, lobster pasta or medium-rare duck breast.
Gérard Bertrand Côte des Roses Rosé 2014
While rosé is traditionally consumed during warmer months, it does a remarkable job of chasing away the winter blahs. Hailing from the Languedoc region in southern France, this uniquely designed bottle (complete with glass stopper) holds a blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah. The palest of pinks, it seduces with aromas of strawberries, raspberries and a hint of orange peel. It’s a dry, fruity wine with a fetching delicacy and a lip-smacking finish. M. Bertrand may be a former rugby star, but his rosé has the grace and poise of a prima ballerina. Open with seared tuna, steamed crab or roast pork.
Quadrus Red 2010
When it comes to wine, Portugal is best known for its legendary ports and the pink plonk your parents drank in the ’70s. There is a lot of good stuff in between that deserves your attention. This blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinto Roriz and Souzão is an excellent example of the delicious, big-value reds produced in the Douro region. A quick swirl reveals a fetching bouquet of flowers and cedar; a long sip unleashes baskets of juicy fruit with vibrant, food-friendly acidity. Let it breath for an hour then serve with rack of lamb or a thick ribeye for two.