Remote romance: Four crossover wines for a lockdown feast

Multi-tasking wines to accompany whatever you're having to celebrate Valentine's Day

How can you woo the object of your desire under lockdown? It could be complicated if you live apart, but you might be able to conduct a Zoom romance, enjoying a glass or two of wine with food. This could be from a takeaway or you could risk a Zoom cook-along (much more fun than it sounds, provided you have some basic cooking skills) followed by a very socially distanced dinner.

Alternatively, depending on where you live, you could take the easy route and have the same wine and food delivered to each doorstep. There are some very smart options available; just make sure the finishing-off bit is not too laborious.

If you happen to live with your partner, things should be easier tomorrow, although after almost a year of staring at the same face every night, a special effort might be called for. I would suggest going for quality rather than quantity, pushing the boat out a little on both food and wine.

While I am neither qualified nor licensed to give romantic advice, experience tells me that large amounts of alcohol and food are more likely to induce torpor than romance. A kitchen full of washing-up doesn’t go down well either, so very simple, delicious food accompanied by equally nice wine sounds right.

Before Christmas I mentioned half bottles. I find a whole bottle of sparkling wine between two people excessive, and it doesn’t keep its fizz for long, even with one of those fancy stoppers. Instead go for a half-bottle of Prosecco, Champagne or Cava or, controversially, no sparkling wine at all.

You could go for half bottles of white and red wine, but the choice is limited and you will pay a premium. Instead, why not go for one of the four crossover wines featured here, which should please all tastes? The white wines are rich enough to appeal to red wine drinkers, while white wine drinkers should enjoy the lighter, less tannic style of red wines.

In general Pinot Noir, such as the Mercurey below, Chardonnay and Godello work well with a wide variety of dishes, so you could serve them with seafood starters and main courses featuring chicken or pork. If your tastes run to more substantial wines, O’Briens has the Guerrieri Rizzardi Pojega Valpolicella Ripasso Classico for €16.95.

Mâcon-Milly-Lamartine 2018, Domaine Carrette
13.5%, €15 (down from €18)
Medium-bodied with ripe orchard fruits, subtle notes of orange peel and hazelnuts with an attractive freshness throughout. This would be great with prawns, salmon or chicken dishes.
From Whelehan's Wines, Loughlinstown,

Insight Pinot Noir 2018, Marlborough
12.5%, €18.95 (down from €20.61)
Light refreshing Pinot with raspberry, red cherry and redcurrant fruits, and the merest touch of oak. Perfect with salmon, tuna, duck or lamb cutlets. 
From O'Briens,

Greywacke Wild Sauvignon 2017, Marlborough
13.5%, €29.50-€32
A wonderful Sauvignon with complex layered creamy peach and pear fruits that are countered perfectly by lime zest and a fine crisp acidity. Drink this with prawns, crab, lobster, salmon or a herby green salad with mild creamy goat's cheese. 
From Widely available

Mercurey Rouge Vieilles Vignes 2017 Domaine François Raquillet
13%, €39-€43
"Tender as only a French lover can be," according to the (French) importer. Very seductive soft, smooth dark cherry fruits with a touch of spice. Perfect with breast of duck, seared salmon fillets, or possibly a fillet steak. 
From; Mitchell & Son, Dublin 1, Sandycove, and Avoca, Kilmacanogue & Dunboyne,; 64wine, Glasthule,; Woodruff, Stepaside,

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