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Wines for your Valentine

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Close your eyes and imagine your ideal Valentine’s Day dinner. I’m guessing there is a bottle of wine - sparkling or otherwise - somewhere in the picture.

Of course there is. Wine and romance walk hand-in-hand, or nose-to-nose like Lady and the Tramp.

All the local retailers and grocers pull out all the stops for Valentine’s Day, and you, being a good spouse or significant other, need to capitalize on some of the great deals.

Pick up a couple lobsters, beef tenderloin steaks, first-of-the-season asparagus and something chocolately for dessert. She will appreciate the effort. All these ingredients are discounted this week and next at local grocers like Fry’s Food Stores, Safeway, Sprouts and Bashas’ and Albertsons.

Tickle her nose with some bubbly and satisfy your appetite for a meaty red wine. A glass of each and the fire is ignited.

Note that you can save a few dollars by skipping expensive French Champagne and go for domestic equivalents, Italian Prosecco or Spanish Cava. On the red side, two words: Pinot Noir. Women love it. Enough said.

Here are a few suggestions to fuel any Valentine’s Day festivities. Cheers!

• Bolla Prosecco, Northern Italy. This is exactly what I’m referring to when looking for a delicious, affordable sparkler. There’s fresh, appealing fruit on the nose and palate with a great vein of acidity and lively finish. She’ll be weak in the knees for this wine. And it’s a value play at just $10.

• Masut 2012 Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir, Mendocino County, Calif. Burgundy influences are apparent in this lovely, earthy Pinot Noir made from three different Dijon clones (rootstock taken from France) and partial French oak barreling. Rich raspberry and dark fruit fills your nostrils and palate, along with some nice forest spice. Silky, sexy, perfect for romance. $40.

• J Vineyards & Winery 2012 Misterra Pinot Noir, Sonoma, Calif. How much do you love the name Misterra, a product of a “name that wine” contest. It’s full of mystery, yet rooted in the earth. The unique three-grape blend of Pinot Noir, Pinotage and Pinot Meunier adds to the intrigue, and makes for a rustic and flavorful wine. How about some sautéed mushrooms over your filet with this one? $50.

• Martin & Weyrich 2012 Riesling Allegro, California. OK, there are some folks out there who say they “don’t like” wine. I know, I don’t get it, either. This seems true among some women, who, like my wife, now drink white wines. This refreshingly crisp and slightly sweet Riesling will convert even the fussiest of sippers. Girly labeling with a photo of blue high heels helps. Perfect as a starter wine to loosen things up. $12.

• Villa Maria Cellar Selection 2010 Pinot Noir, New Zealand. We worship this producer for its delicious and affordable Sauvignon Blanc, and are now smiling brightly for this Pinot Noir. It’s nearly bursts from the glass in a bouquet for floral notes and juicy long layers of cherry red flavors. Don’t be alarmed by the screw cap; it’s gets you to the juice quicker. Great, versatile food wine. $30.

Contact Drinks Editor Mark Nothaft via e-mail and click here and follow him on Twitter. Subscribe to his frequent columns on Examiner and click here.

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