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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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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Searching For Marianna, A Pregnant Doctor From Mariupol Held Captive By The Russians

We’ve heard about the plight of the soldiers-turned-prisoners from Mariupol. Here are some traces of the disturbing fate of a young female doctor who’s been taken away.

A paper dove reads "Mariupol" at a shelter for displaced children in Uzhhorod, western Ukraine.

Paweł Smoleński

"Wait for me, because I will return…"

Marianna Mamonova wrote these words to her family, among the text messages and short phone calls that are the only remaining fragments used to piece together her recent past. We also have a photo of her, posted on Russian websites, where she looks into the lens, gaunt and exhausted, signed with a number like a concentration camp prisoner.

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Until the Russian-Ukrainian war, Mamonova’s biography was available to anyone who wanted to know. She was born in 1991, studied at the Ternopil Medical University, and later at the Kyiv Military Academy. After completing her studies, she was sent to work in the coastal city of Berdiansk. Her mother says that this is where her daughter's dream came true: She’d always wanted to be a military doctor, and worked in Berdiansk for three years, receiving the rank of officer in the Ukrainian army.

Beginning in 2014, she’d worked stints as a front-line doctor in the Donbas region, and when Russia invaded Ukraine in February she went to war again. This time in Mariupol.

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