By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Valentine's vino
Villa Donna Moscato di Asti

For a guy not partial to sparkling or sweet wines – I want Villa Donna Moscato di Asti to be my Valentine.

Generations of wine makers have developed the grape and the process – to create low alcohol, slightly sweet to very sweet wines that are favorites of both inexperienced wine consumers – and those who celebrate the romance of the Moscato di Asti legacy.

It is notable that this wine carries a DOCG label. Italian labeling requires very stringent qualifications and DOCG is the height of the three labels.

A notable difference for DOCG labeled wines is that government–licensed personnel taste and analyze the wine before bottling. To prevent later manipulation, DOCG wine bottles then are sealed with a numbered governmental seal across the cap or cork.

Villa Donna Moscato di Asti presents beautiful floral aromatics on the nose – then a finishing palate of very ripe green apple or juicy pear. A hint of minerality adds complexity and a quick acidic punch sends a clean, final note. Hmm, I’m thinking chocolate truffle with a dusting of chile powder – or a cherry cordial.

Need more ideas to put a little romance into your wine life and some zing into your chocolate choices?

Elio Perrone Bigaro Rose (50% Muscato, 50% Brachetto): These two grapes are indigenous to Piedmont, Italy – and come together with singular characteristics that make the marriage one that elevates both grapes. Ripe red cherries are abundant – and the smell of roses is prevalent. Pair with dense fruit or mildly spiced chocolates – think cassis and coriander.

Ca De Medici Lambrusco Rosso: Lambrusco may be more famous as a wine style – slightly fizzy and slightly sweet – but it is also a grape, or more correctly, a family of grapes. The wines produced from Lambrusco tend to be quite fruity with dark strawberry and cherry tones and a slight bitterness. They tend to have just a touch of tannin and bright acidity with a round, fleshy mouthfeel. This wine lives the creaminess of a butter ganache truffle with raspberry.

Swanson 2007 Merlot: Need an all-purpose wine for your day of amour? This dark purple juice with rich with mocha, spiciness and beautifully balanced tannins. It will pair as elegantly with a beef or seasoned pork dish as it will a simple and decadent high cacao dark chocolate bar or truffle. For my money, it’s the flagship of Swanson Vineyards, a beautiful property with an elegant private tasting salon in Napa Valley.