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Love – and wine – on my mind

Michael Robinson suggests Pasqua Romeo & Juliet Rosé Prosecco as a wine worth considering for Valentine’s Day

If you are thinking of an appropriate wine to have with your valentine, here are a few to consider.

What could be better to share than a wine called Moongate? Local lore has it that this is Bermuda’s best symbol of love. Couples that walk through one can look forward to a life of love and happiness and that is why many wedding photographs are taken of newlyweds standing in one.

Huw Morris and his wife Dale lived here for many years and so, when they moved to California and pursued their dream of having a boutique winery, it was only common sense that they called their wines Wild Hogge. Their label features a famous and historic Winslow Homer painting of five of these animals roaming in a cedar forest on our South Shore.

Our 2012 Wild Hogge Moongate is a blend of 75 per cent zinfandel, 12.5 pre cent cabernet franc and 12.5 per cent syrah. They chose to refer to the majority grape by its Italian name of primitivo – well they could have used the Croatian crijenak kastelanski or even tribidrag! Primitivo is rich and ripe, cabernet franc adds black pepper and syrah is known for its intensity.

Two years of ageing in American oak adds a sense of warmth that I truly appreciate. I maintain that ten years is an ideal time for most reds to age, and the dark berry fruit in this one has calmed down and other tertiary characteristics are now more evolved. This is what ageing of a good red wine is all about. $38.50 (Stock #5967).

The 2019 Domaine Billards Saint-Amour is the most northerly, and one of the smallest, of the ten beaujolais cru areas that represent the finest versions of this lovely wine made from the gamay grape. It is located just below the appellation of Pouilly-Fuisse on the banks of the Saone River.

In the glass, an intense and dense garnet red colour characterises this solar vintage. The aroma of small red fruits, combined with a spicy note of chocolate is unveiled quickly. In the mouth it is round and supple, then a generous structure with beautiful, melted tannins persists for a long time. The pleasant finish offers notes of strawberries and raspberries.

Critic James Suckling scores it 91/100 and writes: “Behind the tsunami of ripe raspberries are some nice tannins and healthy acidity that keep this generous Saint-Amour right on track. Long and generous finish.” I suspect that producers of this wine feel rather like turkey farmers on Thanksgiving and Christmas, as they a sell a full third of their production for Valentine’s Day! $28 (Stock #7892).

Although “mollydooker” is Australian slang for “left-hander” you certainly do not have to be one (even though the owner is) to share a bottle of 2017 Mollydooker Carnival of Love Shiraz. Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate describes, for me, the perfect wine for lovers to share. It rates a fine 94 points and shares the following opinion: “Say what you will about the Mollydooker wine style or marketing, there's no denying that Sarah Marquis is able to build wonderful texture into her wines. The 2017 Carnival of Love Shiraz frames powerful dark fruit aromas with strong cedar overtones, but the highlight is the high-end Mollydooker texture – somewhere between heavy cream, plush velvet and Asia's finest silk. Red raspberry notes emerge on the finish, bringing a sense of freshness and balance to this rich, flavoursome wine.” I guarantee that you will love the label. $85 (Stock #6097).

What could be better on our “rock” than a bottle of 2020 Chateau D’Esclans Rock AngelProvence Rosé, the big sister of Whispering Angel. Respected critic, Matthew Jukes writes, “A magnificent creation, soaring above the others in terms of structure; balanced with innate elegance. Luxurious, aerial, composed and effortlessly grand … a serious accompaniment to fine food.” James Suckling comes in with 92/100 and describes it as “medium-bodied with crisp acidity and a juicy, creamy palate. Deliciously fruity with good concentration”. $39 (Stock #8102).

I have recently written about a few of our Romeo & Juliet series of wines from the Pasqua family. Since 1925 they have been producing wines in Verona, the city they share with the best known couple from there. Pasqua Romeo & Juliet Rosé Prosecco is made in a dry style, resulting in elegant, velvet-smooth bubbles. This is a delicious rosé and to make it, they've included a portion of pinot noir grapes. It’s fresh and lively with lush raspberry notes. $21 (Stock #8855).

As I propose that you indulge with a bottle of Piper Heidsieck Rosé Sauvage Champagne – the name means wild rose in French – I think back to when my new bride and I were hosted by this historic champagne house. That was over forty years ago so maybe I can be excused for offering a little advice to those considering a long-term relationship: think it over very carefully, as we did.

After our chance meeting, she waited almost a full 24 hours before telling me that she was falling in love. Older and more cautious, I waited until the next day to declare the same. Indeed, before asking her to come to my island to live with me almost four days had elapsed.

But back to the wine. This is not your typical rosé champagne. A high proportion of pinot noir results in a bold, deep-hued rosé and a palate that is structured, full-bodied, and yet distinctly elegant. This unique, fruity champagne is carefully crafted from over 100 crus and is guaranteed to delight all the senses.

Wine Spectator describes it as such: “A deeply-hued, vinous rosé, almost garnet in colour, this distinctive version offers dried cherry and currant flavours, accented by delicate dried thyme, graphite and singed orange peel notes. Well-recommended for food, this is firm and lightly chalky in texture, with a lingering, mineral-laced finish. Drink now through 2023. 92/100.” $79.85 (Stock #7061).

This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. Contact Michael Robinson at mrobinson@bll.bm. Burrows Lightbourn have stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554) and Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355). Visit www.wineonline.bm

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Published February 11, 2022 at 7:58 am (Updated February 11, 2022 at 7:53 am)

Love – and wine – on my mind

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