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food / travel

Roses In A Bottle: Wine (And Champagne) Picked For Valentine's Day

On Feb. 14, France matches up two of its specialties: romance and wine.

On the vine at Chateau Calon Segur (filtran)
On the vine at Chateau Calon Segur (filtran)
Bernard Burtschy

"I make wine in Latour and Lafite, but my heart is in Calon," said the Marquis de Segur, a well-known 17th century property owner nicknamed the Prince of Vineyards. Since then, the label of the prestigious vintage of Saint-Estephe has a heart on it, making it the wine of choice for Valentine's Day. To paraphrase famed French writer Edmond Rostand: There is no love but in the shade of a great wine.

The Chateau Calon Segur used Valentine's Day to secure a deal with 20 major French restaurants: They will create their Feb. 14 menu around the famous wine. It would be fascinating to compare Eric Frechon's (Le Bristol), Eric Briffard's (Le George V) and George Klein's (L'Arnrbourg) interpretations of love.

Beautifully located in the South Western region of Gironde, the Calon Segur is managed by Denise Capbern-Gasqueton. In 10 years, she has brought the wine back to the levels it had achieved in its glory years of the 1950s and 1960s.

Meanwhile, the Billecart-Salmon champagne has established a successful "Say it with bubbles" operation. In 300 restaurants, couples will get half a bottle of their famous brut-rose and will also get a chance to enter a competition and win gifts.

Rose champagne is always a hit for Valentine's Day. Duval-Leroy dressed its Lady Rose vintage "with an elegant and impertinent shocking pink dress and a delicate flower stitching." With a 25g/l dosage, this vintage, already popular in restaurants, will be sold as a special collector's edition for about 60 euros.

The ultimate gift

Still in the rose champagnes, Pol Roger made his own collector's box in association with restaurants, adding a pocket mirror as a gift. Other gift boxes include Henri Abele and champagnes from local producers. Rose champagne is the ultimate gift for this special day.

All vintages whose names have any sort of Valentine's Day twist are having specials. Some good deals include the roses L'Allegresse du chateau Bellevue La Foret (Fronton, 7.40 euros) and Le Plaisir de Mas Miel (Cotes-du-roussillon, 8.50 euros), the wines L'amant du chateau Saint-Amand (Sauternes, 19 euros), Caprice de Bastor Lamontagne (Sauternes 12 euros) and Gentil de la cave de Pfaffenheim (Alsace, 6 euros).

As for restaurants, other than the 20 locations for the Calon Segur and the 300 for Billecart-Salmon, independent wine producers from the Eastern Alsace region are also giving out half bottles of their gewürztraminer in their partner restaurants for couples to enjoy at home. The reason: the gewürztraminer, one of Alsace's seven grape varieties, is known for its rose aroma, the symbol of love. Their slogan: "Alsace's independent wine producers give you roses in a bottle."

Photo credit - (filtran)

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