Better Valentines Day Ideas
Looking for Valentines Day ideas? Nothing says romance like a nice (sustainably produced) bottle of wine and box of chocolates.
If you’re looking for Valentines Day ideas, consider treating yourself or someone special to carefully curated wine and chocolate gift sets from some of today’s best — and most sustainable — wineries and chocolatiers.
Francis Ford Coppola Winery
One of my favorite sustainable wineries, Francis Ford Coppola, has a number of Valentines Day wine and chocolate sets to enjoy. Their Diamond Red Blend is a blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. And, for a limited time only, the winery is offering two special Valentine’s Day Packages featuring the 2011 Diamond Red Blend. You can either choose from the Deluxe Amore Set ($70.50 directly from the winery) that includes one bottle 2011 Diamond Red Blend, two Cabernet glasses with Winery Logo, one Vietre small white “Amore” plate handmade of terra marrone from Veneto, Italy and one box of 3 locally-made chocolate truffles tied with a red ribbon. The truffles include a Tart Cherry Truffle: 62% dark chocolate, Cabernet Sauvignon and pieces of dried cherries); a Hazelnut Square: 38% pure milk chocolate and coarsely chopped hazelnuts; and a “Brandy Gold Rush”: milk chocolate blended with California brandy with a creamy truffle center surrounded by 62% dark chocolate and topped off with a flake of edible gold leaf). A smaller Amore Set ($40.50 directly from the winery) is also available: one bottle 2011 Diamond Red Blend, one Vietre small white “Amore” plate and one box of 3 chocolate truffles tied with a red ribbon.
If you don’t have space for any more glassware or plates, fear not. Coppola has three wine and chocolate gift sets featuring Brix chocolate blends that will fit the bill. Brix are blends of chocolate that are made especially to enhance wine. Coppola has eliminated the guess work and paired the chocolate with the right wine, making this a perfect for any chocolate lover. You can choose from:
Director’s Cabernet and Extra Dark Chocolate ($36.00) Classically structured with ripe, supple tannins and an elegant balance of fruit, the Director’s Cut Cabernet Sauvignon delivers a bouquet of blackberries and sweet cigar box along with rich flavors of cherries, currants, and cassis embellished with a hint of anise and vanilla. The boldest of the Brix blends, the Extra Dark Chocolate has a cacao content of 70% and offsets the massive tannins in full-bodied red wines.
Director’s Cut Zinfandel and Medium Dark Chocolate ($42.00) Made with fruit grown entirely in the Dry Creek Valley where the combination of climate and location produces excellent Zinfandel fruit with intensely concentrated flavor. The 2011 Zinfandel offers texture and body plus an exotic perfume of marion berries, cherry liqueur and anise. Sweet, juicy impressions of plums and mixed berries mingle with notes of chocolate and nutmeg. The most versatile of the Brix blends, the Medium Dark Chocolate has a cacao content of 60% and enhances fruit forward wines.
Sofia Rose and Milk Chocolate ($34.00) Sofia rosé explodes with ripe, juicy flavors of cherry, raspberry and citrus zest. This refreshing wine is reminiscent of the popular dry rosés served in seaside café along the French Riviera. It’s crisp, delicate, and elegantly fruity with just a kiss of spice on the finish. With a soft and creamy composition, Brix Milk Chocolate has 46% cacao content and complements the texture of dessert wines and lighter red wines.
Orders are processed and shipped within two to three business days. Please contact the winery directly at (877) 329-3266 to ensure it gets there by the 14th.
One of my favorite sustainable chocolate companies, Vosges Haut-Chocolat, has a number of excellent wine and chocolate packages. Vosges makes their chocolate in their certified organic manufacturing facility that operates on 100% renewable energy. Under its Green Purchasing Oath, the chocolatier selects ingredients with sustainable merit and uses packaging made of 100% post-consumer recycled material for its chocolate bars and purple boxes. Vosges also sources its chocolate from carefully selected suppliers, many of whom are organic and Rainforest Alliance Certified. (They recently planted their first crop of cacao in Belize, which will allow them to oversee the entire value chain, from root to bar).
Swanson Vineyards Oakville Merlot, Napa Valley + Dark Chocolate Truffle Collection ($87.00) Swanson’s 2009 Oakville Merlot opens with a bouquet of black cherry and plum, leading to powerful notes of espresso and smoked berries. Its fine-grained tannins linger on the palate and transform as they combine with dark chocolate.
Kingston Family Vineyards Lucero Syrah + 12 Piece Aztec Truffles ($65.00) This bold gem, with its glass-staining ruby hue boasts flavors of dark berries and cherry compote accented by stylish notes of cracked white pepper, cinnamon and smoky spices. The complex flavors are soft yet sexy on the palate and pair beautifully with the bold exotic flavors of the South American inspired Aztec Truffle collection. Notice how the wine intensifies the chili pepper spice in our signature Red Fire truffle (ancho chillies, Ceylon cinnamon and dark chocolate) and how the soft tannins accentuate the rustic cacao notes in the milk chocolate while the dark chocolate melds with the wine.
Musella Amarone 2008 + 12 Piece Collezione Italiana ($95.00) This unique Italian red wine is made from the partially dried grapes of the Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara varieties. The drying process of the Amarone intensifies the taste of this Italian red, in which the grapes lose 30% of their weight in the duration of their fermentation. The result is an impression of sweetness unparalleled with other full bodied reds which provides a backdrop to the savory notes of the Collezione Italiana truffles. As for the truffles, you can taste Italy’s finest artisanal ingredients through the medium of chocolate—Taleggio cheese, Tuscan fennel pollen, organic walnuts and Tahitian vanilla beans draped in bittersweet dark chocolate. A bit salty, slightly tannic and rich in mouth-feel with an undercurrent of sweetness.
Louis Barthélémy Brut Amethyste Champagne + 9pc White Truffle Collectionte ($87.00) A brilliantly clear champagne with hints of gold—refreshing yet rich on the palate, while bestowing a fine and persistent mousse. The flavors are voluptuous with red fruit, a touch of brioche and finishing on a note of citrus peel. For your tasting, Vosges suggests three white chocolate truffles: Ambrosia (macadamia nuts and Cointtreau), Rural Blues (Anson Mills grits, burnt brown sugar and dried corn kernel), and Hip Hop (Krug Champagne and gold leaf).
Piper Heidsieck Brut Rose Champagne & Exotic Truffles ($105.00) Pour a little pink bubbly to start any celebration! Piper Heidsieck brut rosè Champagne pours a rich, deep crimson. Lively effervescence is punctuated by notes of plum, cherry and blood orange and finishes with a touch of cinnamon.
In addition to the wine and chocolates, each Vosges wine gift set box contains tasting notes with a guide to hosting your own wine and chocolate event. But, hurry because the last day for standard shipping for Valentine’s Day is Feb 11th.